Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dogs and submarines

I’m not sure whether I’ve written about this before or not. I haven’t managed to find any references to my blogs when I looked on Google.

A couple of years ago I was looking at the back of a postcard and saw a reference to a French submarine sinking in 1939 a few weeks before the outbreak of war. One of the officers was a young man from La Rochelle and I discovered that just before the submarine set off for the last time the dog that lived on the submarine ran off and two of the crew went after it (fortunately for them). ‘How strange’ , I thought, ‘a dog on a submarine’.

I’ve recently had a new pupil who is half English. Her mother married a French submariner and came to live in France. She never spoke to her daughter in English, hence the lessons. During the war this submarine fought alongside the allies and many of the crew married English and Scottish girls. My pupil explained that submarines had dogs as mascots. Not very hygienic in such a confined space but the dogs would collapse before men if there were problems with the air supply.

I wonder if the dog who ran away sensed something.


Mary Lou said...

Oh WOW! COuld have been!

Cullen said...

That is a fantastic story. I had no idea they had dogs on submarines. Their version of a canary in a coal mine. Wonder who came up with the idea of taking a dog on board in the first place.

I think the dog did sense something. They are fascinating creatures.


Peter (Worldman): said...

I have also heard of stories where people had animals as an "alarm signal" if something was going to be wrong.

Dru Marland said...

jolly sensible dog, that. The Black Gang (that's the Customs and Excise SAS, as it were) brought a sniffer dog into the engine room once. There was one chap at the bottom of the ladder, pulling, and another at the top, pushing. That dog did not want to go down. Can't say I blamed it. Noisy, oily and smelly. And that was just the engineers. (Ta dah!)

Anonymous said...

This raises an interesting question. What did they do with all the doggy-poo when submerged for long periods? Use it as fuel? Collect it all up, shove it in a torpedo tube, and let the enemy have it?

The mind boggles!

Debbie K said...

The world would be a sadder place without our canine companions. They do seem to have a sixth sense for danger. Having come back drowned by the rain on recent dog walks my four legged friend might find a submarine quite useful.

Anji said...

Mary Lou: Now that I know they were used to detect problmes I think that is why.

Cullen: They are, yours are too.

Peter: Dogs are used to detect epilepsy fits too. They can smell that something is not right and going to happen. They are trained to hold their owners down (so that they wn't hurt themselves)until the fit is over.

Dru: I can just picture that.

Keith: I suppose it goes wherever human poo goes. Dru would be able to answer that!

Debbie: I hope that by now your walks are drier.