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Unsinkable Sam: a cat that survived three WWII shipwrecks

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Unsinkable Sam - a cat that survived three WWII shipwrecksAfter his WWII adventures, cat Sam earned an ‘Unsinkable’ title. It is probably the luckiest cat ever.

Not all cats sleep endlessly on the couch and amuse their owners. Some of the felines get closer to the sailors or even join the ship’s crew—especially when speaking of WWII years. 

That’s exactly what our hero did. 

Battleship Bismarck was the first ship of the Unsinkable Sam cat

Battleship Bismarck was the first ship of the Unsinkable Sam cat.

A German start of the Unsinkable

We don’t know where and when Unsinkable Sam was born. But we know that this cat found himself on the German battleship, Bismarck, during turbulent WWII time.

In May 1941, seven British ships in the North Atlantic were ordered to pursue Bismarck’s German battleship. The battleship performed several successful maneuvers that confused the brits, but they managed to get it by May 27. British destroyers started to shell the Bismarck. The German ship sank and took the lives of almost two thousand people.

The second ship of the cat is the destroyer Kazak

The second ship of the cat is the destroyer Kazak.

Here comes Oscar

There was one special fragment of the destroyed battleship that was very different. A motley cat occupied it. It was wet but alive. And it was full of dignity. The sailors of the British destroyer “Kazak” noticed the cat. It’s hard to imagine how many “kitty-kitty-kitty” sounded at that moment. The animal had no documents with it, and British sailors decided to call it Oscar. It was the first known name of this cat, as there no records of how Germans called it.

Oscar sailed the seas and oceans in the company of a new team. The legend of a cat who miraculously got out of the water passed from ship to ship. But this new Oscar’s home ship didn’t last long. German U-boat torpedoed “Cossack” on October 24, 1941. Most of the crew were killed. But not Oscar. This time, sailors of the destroyer Legion picked the cat up and took him back to Gibraltar’s port.

Arc Royal was the third ship of Sam

Arc Royal was the third ship of Unsinkable Sam.

And now Unsinkable Sam cat arrives!

After a couple of weeks, Oscar was picked up by the crew of the aircraft carrier ‘Ark Royal.’ Ironically, it was the vessel that was responsible for the sinking of the “Bismarck.” The sailors gave the cat a new name – Sam. Little they knew, its full name should be Unsinkable Sam cat.

Alas, the cat’s voyage on the board of the Ark Royal wasn’t long. On November 14, the aircraft carrier was torpedoed by another German submarine. The nearby ships rescued the crew. Sam drifted on a wreck of the vessel’s engine. This couldn’t all be new to Unsinkable Sam cat.

The luckiest cat ever

Sam is far from the Hemingway cats, which used to bring luck to the sailors. In fact, this cat was a very bad sign for any ship. Therefore, Unsinkable Sam spent the rest of his cat life peacefully. He worked (slept mostly) in the office of the Governor-General of Gibraltar. He then departed for England and probably met old age at a naval veteran’s home in Northern Ireland. Or had some other adventures. After all, cats, as you know, have seven lives, and Sam spent only three.

P.S. Unsinkable Sam immortalized himself in cat history but did not leave a single photo of himself. Yes, it’s not Sam in the photo above. There is a watercolor portrait of Sam, but to be honest, that picture is not so exciting for us to share.

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