History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

02 May, 2011

Pets of the Seven Seas

I find it so wonderful how people the world over, at all different times and in all different circumstances, have wanted to have animals with them as pets (see Wartime Pets Part One and Two!). I'm typing with a cat sitting on my feet-- and I love being able to think that people in the past have felt the very same delight for and love of their pets that we still do. 

Today's example of this touching endurance are ship's pets. Both in peace and wartime pets have taken to the seas and been well beloved. Ship's cats certainly have a use in going after the rats and mice, but you soon see in photographs of cats and sailors that this was hardly their only purpose. There are loads of dogs, birds, monkeys... and even more exotic pets, as shall be seen! The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK, has a magnificent collection of these photographs, and this shall assuredly be the first in a series. 

Able Seaman 'Just Nuisance', ship's dog in the Second World War. Source

The ship's cat and ship's dog sharing a gun barrel on the HMS Barham, c. 1916. Source

Kitten on a snowy day aboard Steam Yacht 'Morning', 1902. Source

Cat up in the shrouds with seaman aboard the Pommern, date unknown. Source

'Teaching a parrot swear words', as the caption has it, on the Raglan Castle, 1900. Source

Collies aboard the tea clipper Cutty Sark, c. 1885. Source

Even a wallaby aboard the HMS Renown, c.1920! Source

The ship's cat Salvo and dog Shrapnel on the HMAS Sydney, 1940. Source

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