4/6/17

Just Nuisance: Simon's Town Mascot



Just Nuisance became famous in history as the beloved mascot to the sailors in Simon's Town during WWII.




Just Nuisance was born on April Fool's day 1937 in Cape Town, South Africa. The Great Dane who grew to stand 6 feet 6 inches tall on his hind legs was sold to Benjamin Chaney. After buying the pup, Chaney relocated to the naval base in Simon's Town to run the United Services Institute where Royal Navy ships often docked.

When old enough to get around on his own, the gangly dog was allowed to roam freely. He quickly became friends with the sailors and would follow them around, including aboard their ships. He loved lying on the ship's deck, especially at the top of the gangplank making it difficult for the men to come on and off the ship. Because of this, the sailors affectionately began calling him Nuisance.





When the sailors were on leave, they would often take the train to Cape Town which was 22 miles away with many stations in between. Wanting to join in on the fun, Nuisance would hop aboard the train and the men would try their best to hide the big dog. When discovered, the conductor would force Nuisance off at the next stop but the determined dog would catch another train to meet up with his friends. Eventually, despite people willing to pay the dog's fare, Chaney was warned that if his dog did not stop boarding the train he would be put down. This upset many, including the sailors and local townspeople.

To solve the problem, Nuisance was officially enlisted in the Royal Navy on August 25, 1939, entitling him to ride on the trains for free. He underwent the required medical examination and even signed the enlistment papers with a paw print. Nuisance was given as his last name and Just as his first. His trade was listed as Bonecrusher and his religious affiliation as Scrounger which was later changed to Canine Divinity League (anti-vivisection) - one who opposes the practice of performing operations on live animals for the purpose of experimentation or scientific research.



Just Nuisance had his own bed on base but would sometimes sleep on a ship's bunk. On one occasion, a sailor had to sleep on the floor because the dog refused to leave the bed.


Just Nuisance, who was promoted to Able Seaman, never went to sea. His duties were ashore, watching over the sailors, boosting morale and helping to raise money for the war effort. He would attend promotional events, including parades and his own wedding to another Great Dane named Adinda. Just Nuisance soon became the proud father of five puppies, two of which were auctioned off in Cape Town by the Mayor for war funds.

Just Nuisance was good at watching over the men. He would break up bar fights and even escort drunken sailors back to the base. However, he had his own share of misdeeds such as boarding a train without his free pass, refusing to leave bars at closing time, going AWOL (absence without leave), losing his collar, and sleeping on a bed belonging to a Petty Officer.

Due to health problems caused by a car accident, Just Nuisance was discharged from the Navy in January 1944. His condition worsened and on April 1, his 7th birthday, he was put to sleep. The following day, his body was covered with a Royal Naval flag and buried with full military honors at Klaver Camp on top of Red Hill.

Just Nuisance became quite a celebrity in life. Tourists from around the world visit his gravesite, his statue on Jubilee Square, and the town's museum that has a special section honoring the Great Dane.