Greyfriars Bobby - and six other heroic Scottish animals

Greyfriars Bobby led the way in loyalty - but here are six Scots dogs and other animals who will wow you with their superhuman acts.

Wojtek the bear carried ammunition for his Polish battle group at some of WWII fiercest battles

Greyfriars Bobby Day was marked in Edinburgh this week in tribute to the Skye Terrier who lay on his Edinburgh master’s grave for 14 years after his death.

Here we look at other animals who have impressed with acts of loyalty, bravery and deep companionship.

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Bamse the St Bernard would round up sailors from the pubs in Montrose to get them back to ship before curfew

Bamse was a registered crew member of the Norwegian minesweeper Thorodd, which was stationed at Montrose and Dundee during WWII.

He quickly became one of the lads and won a place in the heart of the North East town for his affectionate and humorous ways.

The St Bernard, who belonged to Captain Hafto, wore a personalised steel helmet during action and had his own bus pass, paid for by the crew.

It is said he wore the pass around his neck with bus drivers in Montrose stopping when they saw him waiting at the roadside.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker and his Springer spaniel Theo, who died just hours after his handler

Spectacularly, he would visit the pubs in Montrose rounding up the sailors before curfew. He would often be the secret weapon during bar brawls, when witnesses recalled how he would stand on his hind legs and clamp his paws on the shoulders of his crewmate’s opponent.

He is also said to have enjoyed a bowl of beer at the town’s many hostelries and playing football on deck, where he would often take up the position of goalie.

The Bamse story has long been known in Norway with Montrose Heritage Trust illuminating his life in the North East.

A statue of the dog - complete with sailor’s hat - now stands proudly at Montrose Harbour.

Winkie the carrier pigeon received the Dickin Medal for animal bravery after flying 120 miles across the North Sea to warn of a shot down WWII bomber


Theo the spaniel was said to have died from a broken heart after his handler Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was killed in a firefight in Helmand in March 2011.

The spaniel died a few hours after his master from a seizure.

Together, the pair uncovered 14 bombs and hoards of weapons in five months in Helmand Province – more than any other dog and handler in the conflict.

Bamse the St Bernard would round up sailors from the pubs in Montrose to get them back to ship before curfew

They were some team, with the soldier, of Kirkcaldy, Fife, putting his companion forward for an award before the pair died.

Both ended up being posthumously decorated for bravery.

The soldier’s mother Jane Duffy, 53, said her family were ‘ecstatic’ that the efforts of the pair had been recognised.

L/Cpl Liam Tasker, from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, received a Mention In Despatches, the oldest recognition of gallantry in the Armed Forces.

Those received the PDSA Dickin Medal, known as the animals’ Victoria Cross, the highest accolade of its kind.

On one occasion, he is said to have discovered an underground tunnel leading to a room in which insurgents were suspected of making bombs and hiding from coalition forces.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker and his Springer spaniel Theo, who died just hours after his handler

Theo’s ashes were transported back to the UK with the soldier.


Winkie was honoured for its act of heroism during WWII, when it flew 120 miles across the North Sea to raise the alarm that a RAF bomber crew had been shot down in the North Sea.

Seventy years ago a carrier pigeon performed the act of “heroism” that saw it awarded the animal’s equivalent of the Victoria Cross - the Dickin Medal. It was the first of of dozens of animals honoured by veterinary charity PDSA during World War II.

The crew had been returning from a mission in Norway on February 23 1942 when their Beaufort Bomber was hit by enemy fire.

Unable to radio an accurate position, the four men faced a tortuous death in freezing waters - until the managed to salvage their carrier pigeon Winkie from the wreck,

Winkie, a blue chequered hen bird, was set free in the hope it could fly home to its loft in Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, and alert colleagues at the air base.

She flew 120 miles and was discovered exhausted and covered in oil by owner George Ross who immediately informed RAF Leuchars in Fife.

Winkie had no message attached, the RAF was able to calculate the position of the downed aircraft using the time difference between the plane’s ditching and the arrival of the bird.

A rescue mission was launched and the men were found within 15 minutes.

Winkie became the toast of the air base, with a dinner held in her honour. A year later, she became the first animal to receive the Dickin Medal - named after PDSA’s founder Maria Dickin - for “delivering a message under exceptional difficulties”.

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Axel took home a top humanitarian award after leading his handlers to a missing woman who had fallen 60ft down a ravine in Fife.

He led his handler PC Craig Menzies after the 58--year-old from the St Andrews area slipped when out walking her labrador near Kingbarns, in July 2012.

She fell landing 60 feet down on to a ledge - where she remained for the next seven hours.

Her pet, a former guide dog, remained close by but he was trained not to bark in stressful situations.

PC Menzies and Axel spent hours searching for the woman and - as darkness drew in - Axel became particularly interested in one area.

A search of bushes then began, with the pair then hearing a faint voice from below.

She was able to then hold onto a rope and be lifted out of the ravine - as Axel watched on.

The dog and PC Menzies received the 2012 Police Dog Humanitarian Action Award at Crufts the following year.


Hugo - and 11 stone Newfoundland - was on holiday with his owners at a Devon beach when the waterdog sprung into action when a little girl became distressed in the sea.

Normally used to a quieter life with the Brown family in Burnside, Glasgow, Hugo’s natural instincts kicked in when he saw the girl drifting in the sea in August 2014.

Hugo, a member of the Scottish Newfoundland Club and trained in water rescue, quickly put his life-saving skills to the test after the girl’s distressed grandmother sought help on the beach.

Owner Neil Brown waded into the sea with Hugo before sending the dog on to reach the little girl.

The girl then held on to his neck- with Huge safely delivering her back to shore.


He was perhaps the most intimidating fighting force of the Polish Army - standing eight feet tall and fearless on the front line

Wojtek retired to Edinburgh Zoo after serving in WWII. He was adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps after they found him in Iran

His working life was spent transporting artillery to his men, most famously at the Battle of Monte Cassino.

The bear was later officially enlisted as a soldier of the company with the rank of Private, and subsequently became a Corporal.

His is said to have enjoyed a beer and smoking and eating cigarettes with his comrades, Wojtek spent his early post-war years at Winfield Airfield on Sunwick Farm, near the village of Hutton in the Borders.

In 1947, Wojtek was given to Edinburgh Zoo and a memorial statue to the bear has now been unveiled in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.

The statue represents Wojtek and a Polish Army Soldier “walking in peace and unity” and represents his journey from Egypt to Scotland alongside the Polish Army.

Winkie the carrier pigeon received the Dickin Medal for animal bravery after flying 120 miles across the North Sea to warn of a shot down WWII bomber