Bamse, a Saint Bernard, was inducted as an official crew member of a Norwegian fighting ship during World War 2. The canine was known for breaking up fights amongst his crew-mates by putting his paws on their shoulders and calming them down.
He saved one of the men from a dockside stabbing by pushing the would-be assailant into the water. The other was saved from the water when, in 1942, Bamse was the only crew member to see a sailor go overboard. He barked to alert the other crew members, then jumped into the water and swam to the sailor, who survived despite being unable to swim by clinging to Bamse’s fur.
He travelled on buses unaccompanied in order to fetch the crew from their favourite pub and escorted them back to the ship in time for curfew. The dog had a bus pass attached to his collar, and if he couldn’t find the men, would return back to the ship on the bus by himself.
The much-loved dog was buried with full military honors and had a funeral that was attended by hundreds of Norwegian sailors, allied servicemen and school children. A life-size statue was erected in his honor in 2006
(photo: Karen Vernon)