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Unusual soldier (The bear - named Voytek)


OP isthatu 3 | 1,164
30 Jan 2008 #31
I prefer the idea of a big bear at the border rather than a piper :)

With a bottle of Lech in one paw and a ciggie in the corner of his mouth,would fit in anywhere,and sure put the Angel of the North to shame :)
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,104
30 Jan 2008 #32
isthatu wrote:

With a bottle of Lech in one paw and a ciggie in the corner of his mouth,would fit in anywhere,and sure put the Angel of the North to shame :)

lol - yes that would be quite fitting. Although there would be those that would complain...

I'm not sure about the Angel of the North. Every time I pass it I wonder what it's all about. It's just a distraction.

A pal of my father served with Wojtek all the way from Iran to demob in Scotland. he has very vivid memories of Wojtek and his daily bath in the river while in Iran. As a child I always thought that it was just a barrack room story........

wozzy (and everyone else :), I wonder if you know anything of the soldiers who served with Wojtek or can link me to a site where I can find out more about the regiment or perhaps give me some contacts of people who served with Wojtek. My friend is trying to write an obituary of someone who served with the bear and who just died recently. Thanks :)
sjam 2 | 541
29 Jan 2009 #33
perhaps give me some contacts of people who served with Wojtek

Your friend should contact either The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum which produced a small booklet about "Woytek" and cost £1.50, they also house the life-size bronze statue of "Woytek" sat amongst ammunition boxes.

They don't have email so address is:

The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum
20 Princes Gate
London SW7 1PT
Great Britain.
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7589 9249

For information about the regiment your friend should contact:

The Polish Ex-Combatants Association (SPK)
(Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantow)
240 King Street
London W6 0RF
United Kingdom

To allow "Wojtek" into Great Britain the British Army gave the bear his own Polish soldier's number so he officially became a serving soldier just as the other Poles. So he was entitled to soldiers pay and pension.


  • Wojtek
PolskaDoll 28 | 2,104
30 Jan 2009 #34
Thanks for those addresses sjam. There was a hope that she would be able to write something significant to speak about at his funeral but time has almost ran out for that. I think now we're both going to do some research anyway.

:)
Eagle20 16 | 119
15 Feb 2009 #35
Web site dedicated to Wojtek -

wojtekthebear.com/html/photos.html
Trevek 26 | 1,702
18 Feb 2009 #36
There's an old book about Wojtek called "Soldier Bear". It still pops up on places like Abebooks or e-bay occasionally. I've got a copy upstairs with the puppets I made for a show about him.
hazel - | 4
23 Mar 2009 #37
Thread attached on merging:
world war 2 slang - doing degree in literature - film script re Voytek.

Please can someone help me. I am doing an English Lit degree and need some ww2 slang for a film script I am doing on Voytek the brown bear who fought at Monte cassino and lived out his days in Edinburgh zoo. It is for my exam. Any useful (friendly slang ) most welcome - better would be to hear from veterans from 22nd Company Polish Army service Corps (Artillery) early 1940's in Syria, italy and Scotland. The film script is only for a half hour for an exam at present - but hope to do whole film script. Want to add some Polish words, greetings, exclamations, etc so the English speakers get a flavour of Polish Language.

Thank-you for your help,
Best wishes to you all,
Hazel
szkotja2007 27 | 1,498
23 Mar 2009 #38
Hello Hazel and welcome to the forums.
Sounds like an interesting project - would like to see the outcome.
There is plenty of Polish slang on these forums but I dont know how this would transfer to the forties.

I suppose one example in English would be "woodbine". A common word for a cigarette in the forties but unheard of now. I wonder what the Polish equivalent would be ?
hazel - | 4
24 Mar 2009 #39
thanks for your reply - Just something like 'hi' 'good night' 'old friend' etc will do, just to emphasise the fact that the characters are Polish soldiers. hazel
1jola 14 | 1,879
24 Mar 2009 #40
You could pepper the dialog with the ever popular word among soldiers kurwa, pronunced "coorva". It is used for all situations like the English word "damn". :)
hazel - | 4
24 Mar 2009 #41
Yes, that's a good one. Old friend would be nice and good night, good morning.
Thanks, Hazel

The book about Voytek is Soldier Bear by Geoffrey Morgan and L.A. Lasocki last printed 1996. Magna Large Print. ISBN 0-7505-0961-9 some copies on Amazon. Heartwarming story, big hearted, compassionate Poles and a big hearted bear.
1jola 14 | 1,879
24 Mar 2009 #42
Old friend - Stary. The A is like in car.

Cześć and Czołem for both Hi and Bye.

Good morning - Dzień Dobry

Good Night - Dobranoc.

You might want to post this in the language section of this Forum, and people will help you with pronunciation.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
24 Mar 2009 #43
world war 2 slang - doing degree in literature - film script re Voytek.

Try the Polish Servicesmens associations, but maybe also somewhere like the Sikorski club in Glasgow.
hazel - | 4
17 May 2009 #44
I'd be so interested to talk with him. I'd like to do a book with any photos available and peoples memories of Voytek before it's too late. Would he be interested in talking/tape or something. I've just done a 30 minute short film script for my Open University project, and would love to do a proper historically accurate book, lots of photos and lots of input from Polish servicemen.

Incidentaly, having waded through loads of parliamentary records from the time, I think the Polish servicemen, who fought magnificantly, were treated really badly by our British govt. I'd like to say, thanks, and sorry for the shabby treatment you got.

Hazel
AdamKadmon 2 | 508
30 Apr 2010 #45
The Voytek's story:

During the most crucial phase of the battle, when pockets of men were cut off on the mountainside desperately in need of supplies, Voytek, who all this time had been watching his comrades frantically loading heavy boxes of ammunition, came over to the trucks, stood on his hind legs in front of the supervising officer and stretched out his paws toward him. It was as if he was saying: I can do this. Let me help you . The officer handed the animal the heavy box and watched in wonder as Voytek loaded it effortlessly onto the truck.

iranian.com/History/2005/August/Bear/index.html
LouiseClarkson - | 1
21 Sep 2010 #46
Merged thread:
Voytek the Soldier Bear

Hello everyone

I'm working for a film company who are making a documentary about Voytek, and about the Polish people during WW2 in general. We have secured funding and will be coming over to Poland later in 2010 or early 2011, I've seen many people post with direct or indirect links to the soldiers of the 22nd company or their family.

We started on this documentary 2 years ago and since then 4 of our subjects have sadly passed.

If you have any information that you'd like to share, or photos even just stories you've heard,

please do get in touch,

Many thanks

Louise Clarkson
jonni 16 | 2,485
13 Oct 2010 #47
Polish bear 'that fought Nazis' to be commemorated

This is from today's Daily Telegraph. A nice story:

The £200,000 monument is to commemorate the extraordinary life of "Private Wojtek", a 6ft tall, 500lb brown bear who served alongside Polish soldiers -- and lived out his years after the war in Edinburgh Zoo.

A maquette of the planned work, by Scottish sculptor Alan Herriot, shows Wojtek's 'keeper', soldier Peter Prendys, placing a hand on the shoulder of the gentle giant, a stance he always adopted when the pair walked around camp together.

Wojtek -- a Polish boys name which means the "happy warrior" -- was acquired by the Polish Army as a cub, and quickly took on the role of mascot to the 22nd Company of Polish Army Corps.

Apparently the bear did quite a few brave things and reacted when he heard the Polish language.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
13 Oct 2010 #48
The officers who were murdered at Katyń probably reacted to Russian language before they were shot, but they don't get a monument and a bear does?? Only in the UK!
jonni 16 | 2,485
13 Oct 2010 #49
but they don't get a monument

Many monuments, a memorial museum and a major film by Andrzej Wajda.

Only in the UK!

Where the bear lived.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
13 Oct 2010 #50
Many monuments, a memorial museum and a major film by Andrzej Wajda.

I'm talking about a BRITISH momument, i.e., one which was denied by the UK Government because they didn't want to "offend" the Commies. Political Correctness gone mad, 50 years ahead of its time!

Where the bear lived.

In a bankrupt country which can ill afford to waste £200K on a bear's monument!
jonni 16 | 2,485
13 Oct 2010 #51
I'm talking about a BRITISH momument

For something that happened in one country to people of another country. Neither of those countries being Britain, the country the bear lived in. If we had a memorial for every tragedy in the world, the country would sink into the sea under the weight of them. Nevertheless, the Imperial War Museum does acknowledge the murders at Katyń, and there is this: Katyń Memorial, Cannock

alkingbritain.co.uk/walks/walks/walk_photo/180103

In a bankrupt country which can ill afford to waste £200K on a bear's monument!

Nothing quicker than a kneejerk reaction. In penance, you should maybe send some money to the people who are paying for it privately:

Voytek Memorial Trust: donations to,
c/o Stuart Allister,
Greaves West & Ayre Chartered Accountants,
1/3 Sandgate,
Berwick upon Tweed.
TD15 1EW
pgtx 30 | 3,156
13 Oct 2010 #52
This is from today's Daily Telegraph. A nice story:

READ HERE
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
jonni 16 | 2,485
13 Oct 2010 #53
I remember that thread. I posted today's because the design has just been unveiled, the site has been chosen, permission has just been granted and the campaigners are trying in earnest to find the cash to build it.

There's now a facebook campaign which I'm part of - why not sign up?
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Oct 2010 #54
READ HERE!!!

I think it looks better when I posted it, you know like...:p

 Poland Bear
jonni 16 | 2,485
13 Oct 2010 #55
I for one will donate to something that highlights the roles that animals have in relation to the human race and its evils.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
13 Oct 2010 #56
No, the 'Polish' bear was not invited. And that is clearly because all British people are utter bastards.

Maybe they should change the memorial to an empty plinth, to highlight the absence of the bear in the London Victory parade of 1946 and just spray paint, ''Brits are bastards'' on it? in bear handwriting obviously, anything else would look stupid.

xcvvcxvxcv

There are some nice photos of the bear on the web, if you google image "Private Wojtek" but I can't post them, they are another forum or something.

Edit* Wojtek already has a sculpting of him in London!

Wojtek helps transport box of ammunition - sculpture in Sikorski Institute, London (wiki)
wildrover 98 | 4,451
14 Oct 2010 #57
Well , what do you expect from Brits when they meet a bear with a name they cannot pronounce...?

If the Poles had called him Paddington , or Pooh , there would have been no problem...
Harry
14 Oct 2010 #58
If the Poles had called him Paddington , or Pooh , there would have been no problem...

Or Pedo bear.
Ozi Dan 26 | 569
14 Oct 2010 #59
but they don't get a monument and a bear does??

I'm sorry, but I don't think the Poms have any cause to erect a monument to Katyn on their own soil. Katyn had nothing to do with them.

There's now a facebook campaign which I'm part of - why not sign up?

Thanks mate - will do. Just need to sign up to facebook first.
Trevek 26 | 1,702
12 May 2011 #60
Merged thread:
Wojtek the Soldier Bear

Here's an interesting article about Wojtek on the BBC:
bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/wojtek_the_polish_soldier_bear_who_lived_at_edinburgh_zoo.shtml

I recently found a children's book about him in Polish too.


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