Airborne Animals & Cockpit Companions

Air Force Mascots of World War II

In this enjoyable and informative book, Colin Pateman tells the story of the animal mascots and companions adopted by air force personnel and squadrons of various nationalities during World War II – dogs, cats, goats and sundry other creatures whose presence provided a welcome distraction from the stresses of warfare and an important boost to morale.

Many animals took to the air as passengers in various types of aircraft and there are some remarkable tales of their antics. One dog, for instance, was washed up alive on the Yorkshire coast four weeks after the aircraft in which he was flying was lost over the North Sea. Another dog, after surviving a crash landing, went to seek help and led rescuers back to the crashed aircraft and its injured crew. Then there is the Cocker Spaniel believed to have clocked up more flying hours than any human in World War II…

There are many images and humorous tales too, such as the goat who ate a Lancaster pilot’s handling notes in mid-flight, the bull terrier with a taste for motorcycle tyres or the monkey who disgraced his Squadron by exposing himself to the King during a royal visit…