Chapek The World War Two Mascot
A lovely story for the D-Day anniversary albeit in honour of our Allie The Polish RAF.
When my sons were very young their Polish Paternal Grandfather Tadeuz (Ted) would tell a wonderful story of the dog called Chapek - seen below:
The Polish were loyal allies to the British during World War 2 which is how Jan and Joe's grandfather came to be in the UK in the Mansfield area of Nottinghamshire.
He tells how Chapek flew on every single mission with the crew that he worked with as their Aircraft Mechanic during the war. You will see from the picture that those missions involved actual bombing over Germany. Chapek is seen keeping watch over the bomb due to be dropped during a mission.
Chapeks' RAF career came to an end when on a final mission, along with his usual crew, the aircraft was hit and taken down into the sea. All flight personnel perished and as news came back to base colleagues took the news badly, it was a sad day.
Some days later, ground crew were carrying out their usual preparations for the days flight missions. Way off in the distance one of he crew thought he heard a bark, he stopped, stood silently and hushed the other guys on the ground but overhead aircraft sound meant he couldn't listen out.
He walked back to the hanger where the mood was still low and as he chatted, the bark could be heard again, closer but not particularly strong, as he turned he could just pick out, off in the distance the shape of Chapek, weak and well traveled, making his way towards the hanger.
He instinctively knew that Chapek had survived and, had somehow, against all the odds had made his way back to base. Having gone down with the ill-fated aircraft into the sea Chapek must have swam back to land and somehow made his way home sadly having lost his beloved crew.
I've always thought Chapek to be a lovely name for a scruffy little dog, the sort that you find neglected at the dog shelter, looking to be loved.
Its a sad story that has just a hint of hope. To those who died; we are forever thankful. No matter where we are in the world, as we reflect during the D-Day Ceremonies keep in mind the many soldiers, air crew, fighters, medics/nurses, factory operatives, war-horses, canine mascots, and those back home who all played a part to bring us the wonderful world that we have today.
Celebrants may be honoured to be apart of services to those who fought and gave so much, our blessings go on and memorials sit high and proud for the collective efforts and sacrifices made. Chapek left his crew behind but bought their memory back to base.