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Animals on board

Catalogue number 119059

Comforting cat

Cats were an obvious choice of animal to have on board. Apart from their affectionate nature as we can see here, they were also useful in keeping down the rodent population as well as cockroaches.

6.4cm x 8.5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 119041

Mascot on U.S.S. New Hampshire

This small cat seems out of place as the mascot of a huge battleship. U.S.S. New Hampshire took the body of the Swedish Envoy Wilhelm Ekengren from Washington back to Stockholm where she arrived on 14th February, 1921 hence the Swedish address on this postcard. The ship was decommissioned in May 1921.

Recto: “Mascot: U.S.S. New Hampshire”

Verso: “Postcard franked aboard U.S.S. New Hampshire on 17th February 1921 and sent to an address in Stockholm, Sweden.

13.1cm x 8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 72053

An exotic managerie

The French ship Quercy was a French banana cargo ship that was converted to an armed cruiser in 1939. With the onset of war, Quercy accompanied the 2nd division of four submarines across the Atlantic to escort convoys. Quercy then went on to patrol the Caribbean islands and this is probably where it acquired this collection of animals.

Verso: “A bord Quercy 1939-40 Les fetiches (sic) du bord singes - oiseaux - chien” in blue ink

15.9cm x 11.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 72054

Birds, dogs and a monkey

In these two photographs we can see numerous small birds in cages - note the cuttlefish shells - and doves with two parrots on a sailor’s arm. There are also three dogs and a monkey.

Verso: “A bord Quercy 1939-40 Les fetiches (sic) du bord singes - oiseaux - chien” in blue ink

15.8cm x 11.8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 117019


Monkeys were favourite mascots and could be sociable with the ship’s crew. This photograph is of Babs, the mascot of heavy cruiser H.M.S. Effingham.

8.3cm x 13.1cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 114133

H.M.S. Elizabeth's chicken, 1923

The women gathered round the sailor may be part of a “Sailor’s Family Day” as they laugh about the antics of the mascot chicken.

Verso: “The Fleet at Torbay, Devon. Our photograph shows one of the crew of the flagship “Queen Elizabeth” with one of the ship’s mascots perched on his head. Taken by The Times staff photographer on July.22.1923.

15.3cm x 20.3cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 108114

Bears, real and stuffed

German torpedo boat. In the middle of the center group is a stuffed polar bear, the visitors would not be so friendly with a real bear. In the 1920s, H.M.S. Ajax had a real bear called Trotsky as a mascot.

Verso: text in German, we can make out “torpedo ship”, “11/7.36” and “Tallin”.

13.8cm x 8.7cm Matt silver print


Catalogue number 119024

Goat mascots

Goats often appear as mascots on warships maybe because they will eat almost anything and so are easy to look after. This goat was called Nutmeg and accompanied the ship during the 1907 Pacific cruise.

Recto: “The mascot of the Flagship Connecticut”

15.2cm x 7.6cm Printed colour image


Catalogue number 105036

Phoenicia's donkey

H.M.S. Phoenicia was a stone frigate naval base in Fort Manoel on Manoel Island, Malta. The island is in the middle of Marsamxett harbour and served as a submarine base during the Second World War. Permission had to be obtained from the Captain to have animals larger than birds on board but as a stone frigate, this would not be a problem for H.M.S.Phoenicia. Note the buffed-up hooves of the donkey.

12.6cm x 7.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 45114

Man's best friend

This group of Royal Navy Military Branch Warrant officers have a bull terrier mascot. Dogs in particular would provide companionship for officers and men during the long tours of duty.

13.2cm x 8.7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 120016

Officers and dogs, 1919

These two Royal Navy lieutenants were photographed in 1919 whilst stationed at Blyth with their terrier dogs, the one on the right is called Robin. A good rat-catching terrier would be an asset on board.

7cm x 9.3cm Matt gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 118093

A sea lion on board, 1907

A group of Argentinian sailors have brought a sea lion on board but, as sea lions have sharp teeth and bite, the men are keeping at a respectable distance.

8.1cm x 11.1cm Gelatin silver print