J is for Just Nuisance RN

Can I complete the whole of Round 9 of ABC Wednesday based on our four week stay in South Africa in February? Click on the photos to enlarge.

Just NuisanceAfter my ABC post about Bondi the Bulldog, yet another bronze statue of a nautical canine, this time Just Nuisance RN to be found at Simons Town.

Just Nuisance was a Great Dane and the only dog ever to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy, serving on HMS Afrikander  from 1939 to 1944.

He was born in 1937 in Rondebosch and was owned by Benjamin Chaney who ran the United Services Institute in Simon’s Town, a major naval base. He became popular with the ratings who fed him and took him for walks and Nuisance eventually began to follow them when they took the train to Cape Town.

The ratings tried to hide Nuisance on the train, but this was no easy feat as he was a large dog, even for a Great Dane, and the conductor would invariably turn him off when he was discovered.

Just NuisanceThis didn’t deter Nuisance who would simply hop on the next train to come along and the railway company finally warned Chaney that the dog would have to be put down if he didn’t stop his fare dodging.

This appalled the sailors who appealed to the naval authorities and the solution was simple — to officially enlist the dog who would then be entitled to free rail travel.

He was enlisted on 25 August 1939: his surname was entered as ‘Nuisance’ and rather than leaving the first name blank he was christened ‘Just’.

His trade was listed as ‘Bonecrusher’ and his religious affiliation as ‘Scrounger’, although it was later altered to ‘Canine Divinity League (Anti-Vivisection)’. He was also promoted from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman in recognition of his long-standing unofficial service and to allow him to receive rations.

Just Nuisance’s service record was not exemplary. Aside from the offences of travelling on the trains without his free pass, being absent without leave, losing his collar and refusing to leave the pub at closing time, his record shows that he was sentenced to having all bones removed for seven days for sleeping in an improper place — one of the Petty Officer’s beds.

He also fought with the mascots of ships that put in at Simon’s Town, resulting in the deaths of at least two of them.

Marriage to AdindaJust Nuisance never put to sea, but he appeared at promotional events, including his ‘marriage’ to another Great Dane, his wife Adinda, and two of their five puppies were auctioned in Cape Town to raise money for the war effort.

He was involved in a car accident that left him partially paralysed and he was discharged from naval service in January 1944. His condition worsened and he was taken to the Naval Hospital in April where he was put down.

His body was taken to Klaver Camp, where it was draped with a Royal Naval White Ensign and he was buried with full naval honours, including a gun salute and the playing of the Last Post.

There is a room in the town’s museum dedicated to his memory and there is an annual parade of Great Danes in Simon’s Town in Just Nuisance’s honour.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

12 comments… Add yours
  • VioletSky 21st September 2011

    A great story. He probably was quite frustrating to have around at the time, but now it sounds all so quaint and entertaining.

  • Roger Green 21st September 2011

    That’s a great story, and a great way to get around the bureaucracy!
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • Denise 21st September 2011

    Don’t you love the gay abandonment of rules and regulations? Go for it fella. RIP a true hero.
    ABC Team

  • Reader Wil 21st September 2011

    An excellent tribute to a very special canine fellow creature.! You know how to tell a story!

  • rhymeswithplague 21st September 2011

    I loved it!

  • Carver 21st September 2011

    This was such an interesting post. Wonderful stories.

    Thanks for visiting mine and yes there was tons of food at the Greek Festival. The food was the main event with different booths where you could buy different types of Greek food.

  • Helen Mac 21st September 2011

    Arf, Arf, Hooray for Just Nuisance and his friends! Great story!
    ABC Wednesday Team

  • liz 21st September 2011

    What a fabulous story!

  • john gray 21st September 2011

    I love stories likes these.. wartime animals have a special place in history and have always brought humanity to military life

    love that photo he looks like a real benign dog

  • Paula Scott: Molokai Girl Studio 22nd September 2011

    What a great story! Certainly brings a big grin to my face in regards to his being enlisted and dubbed, “Just”. Too bad his life ended so tragically.

  • Francisca 22nd September 2011

    This J story of yours is Just charming… 🙂

  • Meryl 22nd September 2011

    What a wonderful post!!! Love it.


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