World War Two veterans from Norway were in Montrose today to pay tributes to their comrades and canine hero Bamse.
The Norwegian Department of Veterans’ Affairs has brought seven surviving World War Two veterans to the east of Scotland this week to commemorate wartime service and sacrifice by Norwegians based in Scotland between 1940 and 1945.
And today (Wednesday, September 9), the delegation spent all day in Montrose.
Each veteran was attended by a young National Serviceman, and the party was accompanied by a number of high ranking VIPs, including the Chief of the Defence Staff, Ministerial staff, and senior military officers.
They assembled at the statue on Wharf Street of Norwegian wartime canine hero Bamse, who died in Montrose, for a short commemoration service and wreath laying.
St Bernard Bamse followed his master at the outbreak of the war to become a registered crew member of the mine-sweeper Thorodd.
The Thorodd operated from Dundee and Montrose, where Bamse became a well-known and much-loved figure, shepherding the Thorodd’s crew-members back to the boat at pub closing time, travelling on the local buses, breaking up fights and even taking part in football matches.
Mourned both by locals and Norwegians when he died in 1944, Bamse’s memory has been kept alive both in Norway, where he is still regarded as a national hero, and in Montrose, where the larger-than-life statue of him was unveiled in 2006.
The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant for Angus, Georgiana Osborne, and the Provost of Angus, Helen Oswald, welcomed the visitors.
A piper played lament for those who served and those who have died.
Afterwards was a visit to the Bamse grave site at Cobden Street.
The arrangements were made by Montrose Heritage Trust, which started and funded the Montrose Bamse Project.
The Montrose branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, and several local World War Two veterans were present, as well as some St Bernard dogs.
The Norwegian party then spent the afternoon as guests of Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre.
The party visited Dundee yesterday (Tuesday) and will visit Woodhaven tomorrow and Edinburgh on Friday.
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