Another dog with a strong will and mind of his own was a Great Dane named ‘Nuisance’. Nuisance earned this name because whilst hanging around the ships in dock in Simon’s Town, South Africa, he discovered his favourite place to lay; right at the top of the gangplank of ships. Being a large Great Dane, who stood 6’6” when on his hind legs, laying at the top of the gangplank made those trying to get on or off the ships very difficult indeed!
Nuisance discovered his favoured spot on top of the gangplank after spending many hours being taken for walks by members of the British Navy. It’s quite often the case that dogs wanting to keep an eye on their humans will select a spot (rather like being on the landing at the top of some stairs) where they have a great view of what’s going on, and anyone coming or going needs to come past you.
Nuisance loved following his Naval colleagues around, to the extent of enjoying train trips into Cape Town. Unfortunately, the conductors on the trains would throw Nuisance off of the train if discovered. This never perturbed Nuisance, who would then walk to the next station, and get on the next train.
Unfortunately, the train company announced that if Nuisance was found on their trains again, he would be put down if his fare was not paid.
Despite being a “nuisance”, such was the affection he’d gained with Sailors and other Navy staff, many of the sailors and locals wrote to the Navy, asking if anything could be done to help. They could not bear the idea of their pal being put to sleep.
Naval Command decided the best course of action was to enlist Nuisance into the Navy. As a member of the Navy, Nuisance would be eligible for free train travel. Nuisance served in the Navy between 1939 and 1944 at the HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town.
On filling in his papers, to make his Naval position official, “Just” was given as his first name, which is how he became known as “Just Nuisance”. As a special perk, Just Nuisance was promoted to Able Seaman so that he could receive official rations.
Rather like Bamse, the St. Bernard, Just Nuisance enjoyed escorting sailors back to base when the pubs closed. He was a force to be reckoned with however, and was often on the disciplinary list for fighting with other dogs. One of his misdemeanours, which carried an official reprimand, was that Nuisance was discovered sleeping in a Petty Officer’s bed!
Whilst Nuisance may not have been in battle, his presence was crucial in a different kinds of battle – the battle to keep morale high amongst the naval personnel.
Unfortunately, Nuisance was struck by a car. Due to complications following this car accident, Nuisance gradually became paralysed, and so had to be discharged from the Navy. On the 1st of April 1944 he was taken to Simon’s Town Naval Hospital where, he was put to sleep.
Despite some of his misdeeds, and having to be discharged due to injury, Just Nuisance was buried with full Naval honours. His body was covered with the Royal Naval White Ensign and received the playing of the Last Post.