​​​​​​​W O J T E K

The bear that went to war


​7.  Archibald Brown, a British official, had the surprise of his life in Naples in February 1944 when processing Polish soldiers who had just arrived from Alexandria in Egypt. He called the last named on his list - a soldier named Wojtek, but no-one came forward. An amused officer approached him and led him to a cage which housed a fully grown brown bear: Wojtek.


​​​This encounter could not have happened in Naples as the 22nd Artillery Supply Company’s diary records the arrival of the MS Batory at Taranto (more than 250km from Naples) on 21 February 1944.

Archibald Brown was a real person though, and he met Wojtek in Scotland. This meeting is recounted by him in a live interview and a
newspaper article.

Archibald and Wojtek came to know each other well during Wojtek’s years in Scotland. This mistake in the date and place of their first meeting has unfortunately been repeated in many online articles.

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