At the end of November 1949 a hero sadly, tragically, but peacefully died of his wounds! His name was Simon and he was the Ship’s cat of HMS Amethyst and an honorary ‘Able Seacat.’
This is Simon’s Story
In April 1949, a British warship HMS Amethyst was sailing up the Yangtze River to reach the British Embassy at Nanking and generally minding its own business when a Chinese Communist gun battery opened fire on it, for no reason whatsoever.
As a result of the shelling the captain and many of the crew were killed and the devastated ship ran aground in the middle of the river.
Though badly wounded Simon the Seacat crawled on deck, and was immediately rushed to sickbay, where the ship’s surviving medical staff gently cleaned his burns, and carefully removed four pieces of shrapnel. Sadly Simon was so badly wounded that he wasn’t expected to last the night. Happily by some miracle he managed to survived.
After a period of recovery, Simon returned to his former duties of rat catching with what seemed like renewed vigour the ship was overrun with hundreds of rats in keeping the rats down and generally dining what cats do best, being cute when they want to be Simon raised the morale of the crew.
After being held hostage for 101 days, HMS Amethyst made a daring escape. Following the ship’s escape, Simon became celebrity, lauded in world’s media, and presented with the Dickin Medal (the animal Victoria Cross), for sustained gallantry in despatching Chinese rats (I like that bit tee hee), as well as a Blue Cross Medal, the Amethyst Campaign Medal, and the official appointment, by naval Command, to the (fanciful) rank of “Able Seacat.”
After the incident Simon was sent thousands of letters, so many in fact that he had to have a human appointed as “cat officer” to deal with his post.
At every port HMS Amethyst stopped at on its route home, Simon was presented with honours, and when the ship arrived home a very special welcome was made for him at Plymouth.
Simon was, however, like all animals entering the UK at that time, subject to quarantine regulations, and was immediately sent to an animal centre in Surrey. There, he sadly died in November 1949, from complications due to his wounds. He was approximately 2 years of age.
Hundreds of people, including HMS Amethyst’s entire crew, attended the brave Cat’s funeral. His gravestone bears the legend: ‘Throughout the Yangtze Incident, his behaviour was of the highest order.’
Simon’s final resting place is plot 281 of the PDSA’s pet cemetery in Ilford, Essex and is surrounded by animals like him, heroes.
At sometime in the future we here at The Cat’s Diary hope to make an animated movie of Simon’s exploits.
About the Author
The Cat is one of the most successful feline authors in the history of Catkind. His sharp elegant wit has produced the bestselling book ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and of course the much plagiarised gag of the same name which appears on all of the funniest joke sites on the internet.
Copies of the Cat’s masterpiece of feline literature ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and his latest wonderful book ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ can be purchased at a bookstore near you or from the internet at Amazon.com and here for the Travelogue The Cat’s Travelogue Paperback Edition or at what The Cat calls his www – wickedly wonderful website here www.thecatsdiary.com where you can not only learn more about me the genius Cat but also play my games they are all paw picked by me and have been described as “exactly what free on-line games should be, fun, free and fantastic.”
I would like to tell you all about something new and rather nice that you can get from the Apple iBooks store, no not ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and his latest wonderful book you have been able to get that for ages, no something else rather wonderful. You can get John Woodcock’s brilliantly illustrated book the first in the series called ‘The Trams of Prague’
This heavily illustrated books created especially for iPads, Pods and Phones called Tram No 6 is the Naughtiest of Trams and it looks amazing.
If you would like to get this exceptional book the easy way, just click on this link:
Trams of Prague – Tram No6 is the Naughtiest of Trams
Don’t forget dear cuddly readers one and all that my translator’s heavily illustrated book has just been made available at the iBookstore or iTunes – what was it with Steve Jobs and all of the ‘i’s'?
To get whizzed straight to the store whatever it’s called just click on the picture of the cover of that wonderful book below.