I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in 1905.

I noted a rather special statue on the north Montrose harbour-side. It was of a large dog and it had been decorated on this special day with flowers.

An information panel nearby explained the dog’s story. The life-size statue was described as a St Bernard dog and its Norwegian name had been ‘Bamse’ the British equivalent being ’Teddy bear’. Bamse had been the skipper’s dog of the Royal Norwegian navy Minesweeper, an ex whaler Thorodd based in Montrose during WW2. Bamse became a well known local character visiting the pubs to collect the crew. He was also said to prevent or calm fights between the crew and anyone else and he would get around by jumping on the local buses.

He was fitted with a custom made steel helmet for battle and helped save two crew members being awarded with a special medal for animal bravery.

He died apparently of natural causes and is buried on the north shore near the channel into Montrose.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - July 2019 Issue
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