14 great images from the past of Royal Navy animal mascots on board naval ships

For many years animals have had a strong link with the Royal Navy with some travelling on extraordinary journeys.In 1975, the Royal Navy banned the practice of taking animal mascots to sea, and some of the more exotic animals ended up in zoos.

There are many stories of dogs and cats being mascots, but HMS Jaguar was presented with a live Jaguar during a visit to Rio de Janeiro. Other big cats were also gifted. A puma for HMS Puma, a Lynx for HMS Lynx and even HMS Ocelot was gifted an Ocelot!

In this selection you will see Churchill meeting the famous Blackie the cat onboard HMS Prince of Wales, the jaguar that was gifted to the crew of HMS Jaguar by Rio in 1963, a monkey called Winnie who was on the Portsmouth destroyer Velox and two huskies involved in the 1969 trek across the Arctic, that were on HMS Endurance.

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