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  • Claire Jordan

Don't Leave Me Again

In 1914, Prince the Irish terrier & collie mix was as worried as his Mum when his Dad, James Brown, left the family home in Buttevant, County Cork, to enlist into the North Staffordshire Regiment.

Mrs Brown and Prince moved to London when James first put on his uniform to be closer to where he was, but by the end of the year, she was distraught to discover the little dog was missing.

She couldn’t find him anywhere, and no one had seen him.

She wrote to her husband with the terrible news, fearing that Prince had been so upset by the absence of his Dad and the move to England, he had lost his way.

But Prince was far from lost. He knew exactly what he was doing.

No one knows quite how he managed it, but it wasn’t long before the entrepreneurial little dog turned up in Armentieres looking for his Dad, and somehow found him, billeted just outside the town.

Prince, though he couldn’t quite understand the fuss, was feted by the Regiment, who made him their mascot and fashioned him a small uniform to keep him warm, along with some identity tags.

Certainly, no one dared try to send him home.

As well as keeping the Regimental spirits up, Prince served in the trenches as a ratter, but saw his most important role to be looking after his Dad.

Captain Newell wrote a poem about Prince in 1917, titled ‘A Soldier’s Dog’. It ends:

“This isn’t Hammersmith, is it Master?

The shot and shell make a rare to-do

But look in my eye and see I’m happy,

Anywhere’s home along o’ you.

Take me with you out to the trenches

Out in the shots, the mud, the rain.

I won’t worry, whatever happens,

Only – don’t leave me again.”

Though Newell was killed in the Spring Offensive of 1918, Prince served steadfastly alongside Pte Brown for the rest of the War, until both were safely demobbed in 1919.

Prince lived happily with his Mum and Dad until July 1921, when a mouse chase proved too much for him.

They, bless them, Also Served.

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