HRH Prince Andrew unveils bronze statue of Bamse

 Location:Scotland, Montrose, Angus

Allan Heriot's masterpiece sculpture of the legendary WW II Sea Dog Bamse will be unveiled in Montrose by HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, on Tuesday 17th October at 11.30am.

02/11/2006 :: The legendary Norwegian St Bernard Dog Bamse came to Scotland in 1940 with his owner Capt Erling Hafto, as a crew member of the Norwegian minesweeper Thorodd, stationed at Montrose and Dundee.  Fearless in action, he became essential to the ship’s morale, graduating from ship’s mascot to Norwegian Navy Mascot to Mascot of all the Free Norwegian Forces, widely known to all Allied Forces.

During his long service he looked after the ship’s crew, guiding drunken souls back on board, breaking up fights, helping with sentry duty and saving at least two lives. An extraordinarily intelligent and resourceful dog, he was adored by the sailors and by the children of the ports he visited.

He died on 22 July 1944 and was buried at Montrose, with a funeral attended by the crews of six ships and hundreds of schoolchildren. Bamse has never been forgotten, his grave lovingly tended by the people of Montrose ever since. The Royal Norwegian Navy has sent a ship to Montrose every ten years to honour his memory.

In July 2006 the PDSA awarded him posthumously their Gold Medal for Gallantry and Devotion to Duty (the animal equivalent of the George Cross).

On Tuesday 17th October, HRH  Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, will unveil a statue of Bamse in Montrose, Angus. His Royal Highness The Duke of York, will be welcomed to the historic waterfront of Montrose by hundreds of local school children, including Scotland’s youngest pipe band (Lathallan School). Also present will be representatives of the Royal Norwegian and British navies, dignitaries, war veterans, many visitors from Norway, other supporters and Brit the St Bernard dog.

Amongst the Norwegian visitors will be Vigdis Hafto, daughter of Bamse’s owner, Dr Willie Nilsen, whose father’s life was saved by the dog, and Reidar Pedersen, a veteran who witnessed a life saving. A special message from King Harald V of Norway will be delivered by Mr Bjørn Eilertsen,  Norwegian Consul in Edinburgh.

Project Chairman Dr Andrew Orr said “We are delighted that His Royal Highness has come to the Royal Burgh of Montrose to unveil this stunning new sculpture.  This memorial will ensure that the legend of Bamse lives on and will cement the special relationship between Scotland and Norway”

Project Director Henny King said “I am amazed at Bamse’s international pulling power that has seen donations arrive from Canada, France and all over the UK. This is a never-to-be forgotten day for Montrose and Angus for all those who sail with us!”

Date: 17th Ovtocer 2006
Time: 11.30am
Place: Wharf Street, Montrose, Angus

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