NT2573 : Memorial to Wojtek the Soldier Bear

taken 3 months ago, near to Edinburgh, Great Britain

Memorial to Wojtek the Soldier Bear
Memorial to Wojtek the Soldier Bear
In 1942, Polish soldiers who had escaped the Nazi occupation of their country and the labour camps of Siberia adopted an orphaned bear they had found as the Anders Army passed through Iran under British Command. It is said that by the time they had reached Egypt and prepared to transfer to the Italian war zone, the now-fully-grown bear had learned to salute and carry supplies and enjoyed drinking beer, eating cigarettes, wrestling with the soldiers, and swimming whenever he had the chance. The soldiers were forbidden from bringing pets into theatres of operation and so the bear was enlisted and given an official number, the rank of private, and the name Wojtek—a common Polish name meaning “joyful warrior.” Private Wojtek served for the remainder of the war and was so popular among his fellow soldiers that a graphic of a bear carrying an artillery shell became the official emblem of the 22nd Company (LinkExternal link Atlas Obscura). After the war, Wojtek settled in Scotland like many of his heroic countrymen. He lived out his days at Edinburgh Zoo (adapted from an information board at the memorial).

The Wojtek memorial was unveiled in November 2015 to honour Wojtek, and remember the courage of all Polish soldiers (NT2573 : Wojtek Memorial (dedication)). The memorial takes the form of a slightly larger-than-life-size bronze statue of a Polish soldier with Wojtek (NT2573 : Polish Soldier, Wojtek Memorial), and a 4m low relief pictorial panel (NT2573 : Wojtek Memorial - Pictorial Panel) set on a granite platform. The pictorial panel, which is also cast in bronze, tells Wojtek’s story. The sculptor is Alan Beattie Herriot. The statue is located on the terrace walk at the west end of Princes Street Gardens.
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NT2573, 5564 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 3 August, 2019   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 9 August, 2019
Geographical Context
Defence, Military  Historic sites and artefacts  City, Town centre  People, Events 
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DC-G9 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 250 737 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:57.0436N 3:12.1458W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 250 737
View Direction
Southwest (about 225 degrees)
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Other Tags
Memorial  Bronze  Monument  Edinburgh  Second World War  World War II  Wojtek  Bear  Soldier 

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