Sunday, 28 November 2010

Able Seacat Simon, D.M., R.N. (1947-1949)



A little while ago I wrote a posting in memory of Able Seacat Simon of HMS Amethyst, the cat who was born on Stonecutters Island Hong Kong and was adopted by the crew of HMS Amethyst. He was a wonderful support to the crew when HMS Amethyst became involved in the Yangtse Incident and eventually was awarded the Dickin Medal, the animal award for gallantry, often referred to as the "Animals' Victoria Cross". I won’t repeat the information here but if you want to read the heart warming story of Simon take a look here. As I reported Simon was buried in Plot 281 of the PDSA's (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) animal cemetery at Ilford, east of London.


Recently I had a lovely email from Bob William Green who had seen the posting and was contacting me to thank me for keeping Simon’s memory alive through the posting. Bob reminded me that today, 28th November 2010, is the 61st anniversary of Simon’s passing so I thought it was timely to update the information.


Bob told me that Lt Commander Stewart Hett was
"Number One" Officer on HMS Amethyst and present on the bridge during the entire escape down the Yangtse.
"Had he not have taken the picture of Simon's Grave in November 2007 at the rededication of the Cemetery, also published on the Maritime Quest website, I would have never come out of the shadows to tell my story. It serves to reinforce the value of companionship of an animal in a family."
Bob also told me that it’s believed that he is the only surviving civilian who met Simon in 1949; he was eight years old at the time. 


You can see some lovely photographs of Simon, the crew of the ship and Lt Commander Stewart Hett at Simon's grave on the Maritime Quest website. There's also a very moving tribute from Bob. 


Bob’s granddad who was in the Royal Navy during the First World War was instrumental in bringing about Bob’s contact with Simon, he was also responsible for the ships' mascots during his own time in the service. His cat "Ordinary Seacat Togo" is also recorded on this site.

The Maritime Quest website Bob told me about is an interesting one, recording a photographic history of the world’s great ships. I’ve had a look and it’s a site I’ll be coming back to. My Dad was in the Royal Navy during World War 2 so I’d like to see if there are any of the ships he sailed on.  

I'm very grateful to Bob for getting in touch, it was very kind of him to give me some more information about this wonderful little cat and the people who loved him. As he said:
"So many of stories from the past disappear with the passage of time, I believe it is up to us, those who remember or had contact with these things, to try to perpetuate them for the enrichment of the future generations. Such stories will never be told again."
Post 170

18 comments:

  1. That is wonderful that Bob could add to the story.

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  2. I don't think I'd read about this story before today. Thanks for keeping it alive.

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  3. Amazing...and how lovely that your post has revived such wonderful memories for others. xxx

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  4. Simon had a short but rich life and he is still blessing others! What an incredible story!

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  5. How marvellous that Bob saw your post and contacted you. A lovely way to remember such a little character. A x

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  6. Good to see you again. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Hugs

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  7. good to hear from you, and a Merry Christmas to you and your family,

    Gill in Canada

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  8. I remember the story you wrote about Simon a while back. It is so nice that Bob was able to tell you more about Seacat.

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  9. Hi Winifred ~~ Great story of Simon the cat and it was nice that Bob contacted you.
    Thank you so much for your wishes for Christmas and New Year. I hope it is a happy time for you also.
    I will be leaving tomorrow about 5.30
    as we have a long trip ahead. Will be back early next week and will post again. No time just now. Take care my friend, Love, Merle.

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  10. That is such an interesting story. I had never heard of Able Seacats. Fascinating. Hope you're not getting too much snow. Have a lovely Christmas.

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  11. Well he is buried just about 5 miles from here then.

    Many, many blessings for this coming year Winnifred.

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  12. Sorry I missed this follow up post. That had to be a thrill to hear from Bob.

    Winifred: I vowed that I would not let 2010 come to a close without contacting you. There is no question that your recommendation of FOYLE'S WAR was a viewing highlight for me this year. All six seasons kept me occupied with history, fun and mystery. All of your recommendations are great and your friendship is great. I look forward to lots of contact and interesting discussions with you in 2011. Love, Annie

    P.S. Do you enjoy Law and Order, UK? Also, have you seen THE RED RIDING TRILOGY? I stumbled onto both by accident and enjoyed them.

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  13. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments and good wishes. Hope you all have a wonderful year in 2012.

    Barbara - How lovely to be so near. I'd love to visit the cemetery one day to see Simon's grave.

    Anne - You're very welcome, glad you liked Foyle. You're right, it was lovely to hear from Bob.

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  14. Hi Winifred ~~ Thank you for your comments on my blog. And m trip sure was tiring and very long, but worth it to see family I haven't seen for 3 years. We timed t well and beat the awful floods they are having.
    Glad you liked the Woman's Poem. I
    hope you will still be posting here
    will you Winifred?
    I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday for tomorrow the 5th Jan.
    I hope you have a great day and a Happy New Year. Take care, Love, Merle.

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  15. Hello, thank you for your visit over at my place!

    Did you enjoy your new year celebrations? I sure hope so! i hope that you and yours were all happy and cheerful! :) Me and mine danced our way into the new year! Aye aye! And I was so happy and enjoyed myself so much!!!!!!!

    Love,
    CJoyBellC

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