You would expect to find a captain and sailors on board a warship at sea, but what about a cat or a dog, or even a pig!
This February half term (Saturday 19 to Sunday 27 February) at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester find out how some furry friends joined the sailors aboard ships and submarines.
Learn how some of these maritime mascots saved lives during battle. Join in with free, hands on activities for all the family inspired by the animals in the All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea exhibition.
Kids can make their own animal puppets and masks to take home during the interactive and creative workshops in the Learning Studio. Younger children under five-years-old can also join in the fun with music and storytelling sessions. Call 0161 836 4064 to book onto these free sing-a-long sessions.
All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea is the Imperial War Museum’s first ever large-scale exhibition to look at life at sea in wartime. This free exhibition reveals stories of bravery and adventure at sea, from 1914 to the present day. It contains many objects on public display for the first time, as well as a variety of interactive activities for families.
Among the four-legged friends you will encounter are:
Tirpitz the Pig
Tirpitz was rescued from the German warship Dresden which was sunk in May 1915. A sailor from HMS Glasgow noticed the pig in the water and after nearly being drowned by the frightened animal, succeeded in rescuing him. Tirpitz was the HMS Glasgow’s on board mascot for the next year.
Simon the Cat
Simon is the only cat to be awarded the Dickin Medal and even features in a film called The Yangtse Incident. Simon was the mascot of HMS Amethyst when it was attacked by Communist forces in 1949. 25 crew members were killed and Simon the cat was badly injured in the incident but he recovered and kept the crew entertained while they were under siege for 101 days. He also kept with the ship’s rat and mice population under control. He was later awarded the Dickin Medal for ‘behaviour of the highest order’.
FREE ENTRY – DONATIONS WELCOME www.iwm.org.uk/north
Recommended for ages 4 and upwards