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  • Claire Jordan


Meet Jimmy; he’s small and brave and has a splendid story.

In June 1916, with the British Army gearing inexorably up to the Big Push on 1st July, Jimmy’s heavily pregnant mother was faithfully carrying supplies for 1st Scottish Rifles when she was hit and mortally wounded.

The soldiers could see Jimmy was struggling to make his entrance, even into the epicentre of a World War, and helped him arrive. In full view of the enemy, it is said the Germans even paused their gunfire to let the Scots rescue the tiny newborn and get him back to the relative safety of a trench.

In the middle of Hell, Jimmy was a small slice of Hope to hold onto and he was taken instantly to the soldiers’ hearts.

They fed and protected him until he was big and strong enough to help carry things himself over the next two and a half years the War had left to run. He was wounded three times but always found a way to return to his adopted khaki family.

After the Armistice, Jimmy could not be abandoned as so many horses and donkeys ultimately were, and he was brought back to Blighty, coming first to Peterborough where his Battalion was first billeted.

When the Cameronians finally headed home, Jimmy’s future was uncertain until a kind lady named Mrs Heath bought him at auction in 1920.

Over the next two decades, Jimmy would lead a charmed life, making local appearances to raise funds for the RSPCA.

He was even given his own column in the Peterborough Citizen, to highlight his fundraising efforts.

He died eventually at the grand age of 27 in May 1943 and was buried in Peterborough’s Central Park, a headstone erected over him for ‘Our Jimmy’.

About twenty years ago, when Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’ was so popular, it was found that Jimmy’s grave had fallen into disrepair and so this was swiftly remedied.

Pupils from local Southfields Primary School have looked after Jimmy’s grave ever since; here they are appearing in the Peterborough Telegraph six weeks ago, around the 80th anniversary of Jimmy’s loss.

Well done, little ones, and Jimmy, we salute you; we’d have been lost with you and all your courageous, unsung four-legged friends.

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