Beer-drinking soldier bear honoured with statue

Wojtek the soldier bear. Credit: ITV Border

A statue of a bear who fought in World War Two, and had a penchant for drinking beer, has been unveiled in Duns.

In 1942 Wojtek the Syrian Brown Bear was rescued as a cub in the Iranian mountains by Polish troops, and accompanied them as they moved through Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

In order to board a British transport ship to fight in Italy during the Second World War, he was officially enlisted into the Polish army, becoming Private Wojtek.

During the battle of Monte Cassino he reportedly helped by carrying ammunition under a storm of enemy fire.

After the war Wojtek, along with his comrades, was sent to Sunwick camp near the village of Hutton, in the Scottish Borders.

He is fondly remembered for wrestling with soldiers, drinking beer and eating cigarettes.

Now a statue in memory of Wojtek has been unveiled in Duns, gifted from Zaga, its twin town in Poland.