His name was Bamse and he lived from 1937 to 1944. During that time he became the heroic mascot of the Free Norwegian Forces and a symbol of Norwegian Freedom. Bamse was bought in Oslo, Norway, by Captain Erling Hafto, and taken to sea at a very early age.
At that time, he was a very kind dog who would often look after the children while they were playing. In World War II, the vessel Bamse served on was drafted into the Royal Norwegian Navy and Bamse was enrolled as an official crew member. Bamse lifted the crew’s morale throughout their multiple jobs during the war, and even had a special helmet made for him for when the ship was in battle.
He saved a young lieutenant commander, often broke up fights, and lead angry or restless sailors back to bed. One of his regular duties while in Scotland was to round up his crew and escort them back to the ship for either duty or curfew.
Bamse died due to heart failure on 22 July 1944. He was buried with full military honors and his funeral was attended by hundreds of Norwegian sailors, Allied servicemen, schoolchildren, and local townsfolk. Every ten years there is a commemorative ceremony in his honor. Today, he is the only animal to have received the PDSA Gold Medal for service in World War II.