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- September 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm #344248
Wojtek (1942–1963; Polish pronunciation: [ˈvɔjtɛk]) usually spelled Voytek in English, was a Syrian brown bear cub found in Iran and adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped move ammunition. The name Wojtek is a diminutive form of Wojciech, an old Slavic name that is still very common in Poland today. It derives from two words: woj (the stem of wojownik, warrior, and wojna, war); and ciech, enjoyment. Thus the name has two meanings: he who enjoys war or smiling warrior.
In 1942, a local boy found a bear cub near Hamadan, Iran. He sold it to the soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby for a couple of canned meat tins. As the bear was less than a year old, he initially had problems swallowing and was fed with condensed milk from an emptied vodka bottle. The bear was fed with fruits, marmalade, honey and syrup, and was often rewarded with beer, which became his favourite drink. He also enjoyed smoking and eating cigarettes. He enjoyed wrestling and was taught to salute when greeted. The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot of all units stationed nearby. With the company he moved to Iraq and then through Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
To get him on a British transport ship when the unit sailed from Egypt to fight with the British 8th Army in the Italian campaign, he was 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. Henryk Zacharewicz and Dymitr Szawlugo were assigned as his caretakers.
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. In recognition of the bear's popularity, the HQ approved an effigy of a bear holding an artillery shell as the official emblem of the 22nd Company (by then renamed to 22nd Transport Company)
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. (no wonder i mean the smoking bear ) At the time of his death he weighed nearly 500 pounds (230 kg) and had a length of over 6 feet (1.8 metres).November 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm #397482
A interesting thing for some that like beer
[img width=525 height=700]http://www.thenews.pl/583c6473-f68a-42b4-aff3-487522f82107.file” />
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