|They Fought Too|
|Animals in Combat|
In the late 1940's a British ship, the H.M.S Amethyst, made a dangerous run up the Yangtse River in an effort to rescue stranded British citizens. The ship's mascot was a cat named Simon--given to the captain as a gift. While making its way up theYangtse River, the H.M.S Amethyst came under fire from Chinese Communists. The ship's captain and 16 others were killed. Simon received shrapnel wounds and was badly burned--loosing his whiskers and a lot of his fur.
The ship was in dire straights for over three months, stranded on the Yangtse while repairs were made. With their captain dead and increasingly bold rats pillaging their food supply--and occasionally nibbling on the sailors themselves--crew moral was in jeopardy. But the wounded Simon soldiered on and went after the rats with a vengeance. Something inside Simon had snapped. Rat after rat fell to the warrior cat's wrath.
The Amethyst's crew cheered Simon's bloody progress. As the days and weeks passed, the rat death toll climbed into the hundreds. Simon's super-feline efforts bolstered ship spirits and the Amethyst made it to Hong Kong. Simon was given lots of fish, lauded by the press and presented with a medal for his courage under fire. He died a few months later-- buried with honors.
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