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Wojtek was a Syrian brown bear adopted and officially drafted into the Polish Army as a private and was listed among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps.

As one of the officially enlisted “soldiers” of the company, he lived with the other men in their tents or in a special wooden crate, which was transported by truck. According to numerous accounts, during the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped his friends by transporting ammunition – never dropping a single crate.
Following the end of World War II in 1945, the bear was transported to Berwickshire in Scotland, along with parts of the II Corps. Stationed in the village of Hutton, near Duns, Wojtek soon became popular among local civilians and the press. The Polish-Scottish Association made Wojtek one of its honorary members. Following demobilization on November 15, 1947, Wojtek was given to the Edinburgh Zoo. There Wojtek spent the rest of his days, often visited by journalists and former Polish soldiers, some of whom would toss him cigarettes, which he then proceeded to smoke.
Wojtek died in December 1963, at the age of 22.
This painting is an alternative retirement for Wojtek.

Tags

wojtek, private, war, bear polish, army, vicky mount, snowscene, oil, tunnel, tracks, train, edinburgh, monte cassino, narrative

Vicky live and works in Edinburgh as a full-time artist. She lives with her husband, two daughters, two cats and a big old hound

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Comments

  • Marriet
    Marrietover 2 years ago

    Shelter and friendship, a good match. Always appreciate your sense of humor and irony.
    Very nicely done.

  • Thank you Marriet. Your words are much appreciated. :~)

    – vickymount

  • Gisele Bedard
    Gisele Bedardover 2 years ago

    What a beautiful story and such a touching image…thank you …outstanding work!!

  • Thankyou Gisele for your lovely comment. :~)

    – vickymount

  • carol brandt
    carol brandtover 2 years ago

    I just wanna give wojtek a big cuddle … beautiful story and image vicky … i love it :))

  • Thanks Carol, very glad you like him so much. :~)

    – vickymount

  • Ercan BAYSAL
    Ercan BAYSALover 2 years ago

    What a beautiful work. I love it…

  • Thankyou Ercan, I’m glad you like it. :~)

    – vickymount

  • linaji
    linajiover 2 years ago

    Oh dear me.. this just makes me feel so much, what a story and of course the image you have created is priceless…can you add this to Vavoom?

  • Drew28
    Drew28over 2 years ago

    Outstanding work Vicky well done !!!

  • Many thanks for your comment Andrew.

    – vickymount

  • AJM Photography
    AJM Photographyover 2 years ago

    A lovely tribute to an intriguing story.

  • Thank you!

    – vickymount

  • annacuypers
    annacuypersover 2 years ago

    Great work ! xo

  • Many thanks Anna.

    – vickymount

  • mmargot
    mmargotover 2 years ago

    Makes me proud to be Polish…wanna give him a big hug!
    A kind (apparently), well-traveled, good comrade in arms. Yes, this is nicer than a zoo.

  • Glad you like him Margo. and yes, I think it’s nicer than a zoo too. :~)

    – vickymount

  • Bunny Clarke
    Bunny Clarkeover 2 years ago

    I have always loved this story. Gorgeous work.

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