Statue of hero bear Wojtek unveiled in Duns

Wojtek the solider bear, a gift from twin town of Zagan in Poland.
Wojtek the solider bear, a gift from twin town of Zagan in Poland.
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A STATUE of a hero bear, who fought in World War Two, has been unveiled in the Scottish town of Duns.

Wojtek, a Syrian brown bear, was rescued as a cub by soldiers from the Free Polish Army as they made their way through the Middle East.

Crowds gathered in Duns Market Square for the unveiling of a statue of Wojtek the solider bear, a gift from twin town of Zagan in Poland.

Crowds gathered in Duns Market Square for the unveiling of a statue of Wojtek the solider bear, a gift from twin town of Zagan in Poland.

The 6ft animal quickly became the platoon’s unlikely mascot, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer with the troops – and even helping the men carry live rounds during battle.

He was adopted by Polish troops and taken with Polish forces in a British troop ship to fight in Italy in 1944, including at the battle of Monte Cassino.

He returned to Scotland with the men who were based in army camps in the Borders.

READ MORE - The incredible story of Polish army hero Wojtek the Bear

Unknown soldiers with Wojtek The Bear .

Unknown soldiers with Wojtek The Bear .

After the war, he travelled to Scotland with the demobbed Polish solders and spent his final years in Edinburgh Zoo.

He died in 1963.

The statue of the unlikely war hero was donated by Zagan in Poland, Duns’ twin town.

The unveiling of the statue coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino in southern Italy which saw 55,000 allied soldiers, including Poles, killed or injured.