Polish war veterans invited to unveil Wojtek statue

Wojtek the Bear
Wojtek the Bear

The bronze statue of Wojtek, the bear who helped fight the Nazis across Europe before settling with his Polish regiment in Berwickshire, will be unveiled this autumn.

Campaigners behind the long-running drive to erect a statue in 
Wojtek’s honour have revealed they are just £19,000 from achieving their target – with the memorial set to be unveiled on November 7.

The 10ft bronze sculpture, designed by artist Alan Beattie Herriot, will sit in West Princes Street Gardens and depict the iconic brown bear accompanied by a Polish soldier.

Organisers also disclosed plans for an “emotional” opening ceremony featuring two of the Polish war veterans who were among troops who found Wojtek as a cub and later fought alongside him.

It is claimed he even helped the men carry live rounds during the devastating Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.

Wojtek Memorial Trust founder Aileen Orr, whose grandfather trained the bear’s Polish comrades in the Middle East, said the statue would commemorate “not only a brave bear, but the many brave Polish men and women who fought for their freedom, and ours”.