Wojtek, a Syrian brown bear, was the mascot of the 22nd Polish Artillery Support Company (22 Kompania Zaopartrywania Artylerii) of the Second Polish Corps. Found in the Persian mountains in 1942, he was adopted and traveled with the unit throughout the Middle East and Italy during WWII. He is reported to have helped move artillery ammunition at Monte Cassino, as depicted in the banner (above). After the war he was kept at the Edinburgh Zoo and was made a life member of the Scottish Polish Society. Wojtek passed away in 1963.

The first 5 photos above were taken during the Polish unit’s time in the Middle East in 1942.

The bottom photo is of Wojtek at the Winfield Aerodrome near Hutton in Berwickshire, the unit’s temporary home after the war; 1945.