Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Able Seaman Just Nuisance

Just Nuisance

From Wiki: Just Nuisance was the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He was a Great Dane who from 1939-44 served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon's Town, South Africa. He died in 1944 and was buried with full military honours.

Nuisance was allowed to roam freely and, following the sailors, he began to take day trips by train as far afield as Cape Town, 22 miles (35 km) away. Despite the seamens' attempts to conceal him, the conductors would put him off the trains as soon as he was discovered. This did not cause him any problems though, as he would wait for the next train or walk to another station where he would board the next train that came along.

Although somebody offered to buy him a season ticket, the Navy instead decided to officially enlist him. It was thought he would be a morale booster for the troops serving in World War II and as a member of the armed forces he received free rail travel, so the fare-dodging would no longer be a problem.

Nuisance's service record was not exemplary. Aside from the offenses of traveling on the trains without his free pass, being absent without leave, losing his collar and refusing to leave the pub at closing time, his record shows that he was sentenced to have all bones removed for seven days for sleeping in an improper place: one of the Petty Officer's beds. He also fought with the mascots of ships that put in at Simon's Town, resulting in the deaths of at least two of them.

Hehehe ... I remember visiting the statue a few years ago with my brother and his young son ... at the top of his voice, in front of a crowd of tourists, my nephew exclaimed: "Gee Dad, look at his big winkie!" ... :)

Just Nuisance was entitled to the same benefits as any other Able Seaman, which included a cap. Here he sports a cap from the HMAS Canberra in one of the many promotional photos taken during World War II.



  1. Wow, what an amazing story.

    Is there record of him having any family?

  2. I remember seeing this statue many years ago - as always you are bringing back so many memories for me. Diane

  3. What a great story about an anmazing dog ! (Gotta love kids and the things they come out with, too !)

  4. Thanks for the comments Fazlisa, Diane and Lynda ... yes, it is an amazing story hey ... I don't know if he had and other family besides the naval guys Fazlisa ...

  5. Hi there! Thanks for your comment over at my blog, sorry for the delayed response... I haven't spent any time at either of those facilities. Would have LOVED to - they were keen to take me on but it fell through due to lack of cash on my end! One day though - I am dying to visit Namibia, and hope to soon.

    Saw this statue in Simonstown last year - it's amazing isn't it? And such a lovely little town. Are you a South African, or a Namibian native?

  6. Hey Kirsty - thanks for the visit and note ...

    Friends of mine worked at the Cheetah Conservation Fund but I've never been there myself - cheetahs are my favorite big cats though ...

    ... I was born in SA but have lived in Nam since the early 70s ... I'm a Namibian citizen now ... I can't imagine living anywhere else ...

    Hope you make it to Namibia sometime, it's an awesome country ... if you do, drop me a line and I'll assist you in any way I can - my mail addy is on my profile page ...

    take care

  7. One night as a very bored resident medical officer at RAF Hospital Halton in 1980, the equally bored reception staff admitted a pigeon who had been clipped by a car. We gave it a service number, rank, bed (OK box) and indented for special rations for it.

    Night sister heard of the jape and wanted to call out the surgical team to operate on the thing but we decided not to push our luck.

    It was till alive when I went off shift next morning, but I was told that pigeon pie was served later in the mess!

  8. hehe ... thanks for sharing that story Dave ... poor bird ... well, at least you didn't have the blood of a pigeon on your hands - or should I say, feathers ...