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Animal yarns shed fascinating light on Wester Ross event


By SPP Reporter


The library is Gairloch is all set for the intriguing event
The library is Gairloch is all set for the intriguing event

INTRIGUING and inspirational tales of animal gallantry are being thrust into the spotlight to coincide with a packed week of wartime events in Wester Ross.

Beyond the Call of Duty reveals animal connections with the lifeline Arctic Convoys of WWII. The unusual exhibition at the High Life Highland library in Gairloch coincides with the WWII week running from May 6.

Librarian Yasmeen Hollenstein explained: “We are delighted to be part of the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project annual WWII Week again this year, particularly with such a prestigious exhibition about animal gallantry.

“It has been created by Dr Guy Puzey from Edinburgh University and reveals animal connections with the Arctic Convoys. We are so pleased that Guy is also coming along to talk about the theme of the exhibition as one of the speakers during the Week, on Saturday, May 11 at Aultbea Village Hall.”

She added: “The exhibition explores the close ties across the North Sea demonstrated by the inspiring stories of Sea Dog Bamse and Winkie the Pigeon. Find out why a penguin from Edinburgh was knighted by the King of Norway. And no exhibition in Scotland about animal gallantry would be complete without Wojtak, the Polish Soldier Bear.”

Gairloch Library staff have sourced a wide range of books on the topic of animals to give readers the chance to discover in more detail the fascinating stories behind these animals.

Added Yasmeen: “Several of the Arctic Convoy ships had reindeer given to them by the Russians as mascots, and they often seemed to call their reindeer ‘Olga’! This included the HMS Belfast and HMS Kent. Two reindeer even travelled from Russia by submarine on HMS Tigris and HMS Trident in 1941 – but they were named Minsk and Polyanna!”

It’s one of nine exhibitions around the area during WWII Week from May 6-11. More at www.russianarcticconvoymuseum.co.uk or by calling 01445 731093.



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