Unsinkable Sam - a cat that luck has caught by the tail

This amazing story of an unsinkable cat began during the Second World War, during his adventurous cat life, Sam managed to survive the five warships on which he served ...

During one of the stops in the port, a black-and-white cat was carried by an unknown sailor on board the German battleship Bismarck. And so, while the valiant sailors of the Reich were at war with the British, the cat was cleaning the territory he inherited from the bred and completely insolent rats. On May 18, 1941, the ship sailed from Gotenhaven with orders to sink British merchant ships. Nine days later, on May 27, the battleship was sunk by a British squadron, and only 115 sailors out of 2200 survived. A few hours later, a cat floating on the wreckage of the ship was spotted by British sailors from the destroyer Cossack returning to base and taken aboard. Unfortunately, the destroyer's crew was unable to save a single person. Not knowing the cat's real name, the English sailors gave him the nickname Oscar.

Oscar spent the next few months aboard the destroyer, which was escorting a convoy in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic at the time. October 24, 1941 "Cossack", being in the escort of the convoy HG-75, en route from Gibraltar to Liverpool, was torpedoed by the German submarine "U-563". The ship's crew transferred to the destroyer Legion, and attempts to tow the badly damaged ship back to Gibraltar were unsuccessful due to worsening weather conditions. The destroyer sank on October 27. A German torpedo hitting the bow of the ship killed 159 British sailors, but Oscar survived this time too. He spent some time ashore in Gibraltar.

After the death of "Cossack" the cat received the nickname "Unsinkable Sam" from the British and was transferred to the aircraft carrier "Arc Royal", whose planes greatly contributed to the death of his first ship, "Bismarck". Sam, however, did not stay long on the new ship. Already on November 14, the aircraft carrier, returning from Malta, was torpedoed by the German U-81 submarine. Attempts to tow the sinking ship again proved fruitless, and the Arc Royal sank 30 miles east of Gibraltar. However, every one of the sailors and pilots, and with them Sam, were rescued by the ships that came to the rescue. Several sailors, along with Sam clung to the wreckage of the ship, were picked up by a patrol boat. The survivors were transferred first to the destroyer Lightning, and then again to the destroyer Legion, which had previously participated in the rescue of Sam. The fate of these two ships also turned out to be unenviable. The Legion would be sunk four months later, on March 26, 1942, in an air raid, and the Lightning would be sunk by the German S-55 torpedo boat on March 12, 1943.

After the death of the aircraft carrier, it was decided to leave the cat on the shore. Sam spent some time in the office of the Governor General of Gibraltar, but was soon sent to Great Britain, where he met the end of the war in Belfast. Unsinkable Sam died on the beach in 1955. A pastel drawing of a heroic cat by artist Georgina Shaw-Baker, now housed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich