Exhibition - Animals Beyond the Call of Duty

Edinburgh Zoo Education Centre
Friday 17 - Friday 31 August

Scandinavian Studies at the University of Edinburgh is pleased to announce a new initiative: our first public exhibition Animals Beyond the Call of Duty, which will open at Edinburgh Zoo Education Centre on Friday 17 August and run until Friday 31 August.

This exhibition, kindly sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, will explore Scottish-Norwegian wartime links through the inspiring stories of animal heroes Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav (a king penguin), Sea Dog Bamse and Winkie the Pigeon. Wojtek the famous Polish soldier bear will also be featured!

The opening event

The exhibition will open on Friday 17 August at 11:00-12:15, in the presence of veterans from Norges Gardistforbund, with four short talks about the animals featured in the exhibition:
  • Major Nils Egelien, adopter and namesake of the world's most decorated penguin, will give a presentation about H.M. the King of Norway's Guard's first visits to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and their adoption of Nils Olav at Edinburgh Zoo as their mascot 40 years ago. We will learn how that penguin rose up through the ranks to become Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav.
  • Dr Andrew Orr and Mr Angus Whitson, authors of Sea Dog Bamse: World War II Canine Hero, will speak about Bamse, the St. Bernard mascot of Free Norwegian Forces. Stationed in Montrose and Dundee aboard the minesweeper Thorodd, Bamse's companionship and bravery boosted the morale of his crewmates and of an entire nation.
  • Dr Guy Puzey (University of Edinburgh) will give a presentation about the exploits of Winkie, a hen pigeon from Broughty Ferry whose epic flight saved the crew of a Beaufort aircraft of 42 (Torpedo Bomber) Squadron, based at RAF Leuchars in Fife, that crashed in the North Sea following an anti-shipping mission off the Norwegian coast in February 1942.
  • Mrs Aileen Orr, author of Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero, will tell the remarkable story of the Polish troops who adopted an orphaned bear that would go on to serve alongside them in the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944. When the troops found themselves in Scotland at the end of the war, Wojtek went into the care of Edinburgh Zoo, where he lived the rest of his life.

Our aims

As well as exploring this innovative way of sharing our research with new audiences, the development of this exhibition has allowed us to scope the enormous potential of oral history research into Scottish-Scandinavian relations in the twentieth century. There is a particularly pressing need to carry out deeper research into the effects of the bonds established between Norway and Scotland during the Second World War while the events remain in living memory.
The exhibition is curated by Dr Guy Puzey (University of Edinburgh) and Ms Kirke Kook (University of St Andrews).
If you are interested in attending the exhibition opening event on Friday 17 August, limited places are still available. Please contact g.puzey@ed.ac.uk for further details.

Follow us on Twitter @NordicEdinburgh

Kindly sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Consulate General

1 comment: