Simon – the ship’s cat on HMS Amethyst during the Yangtse Incident
University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: JC-s145. ‘Simon’ was born in c.1947 in Hong Kong, a stray, becoming the ship’s cat on HMS Amethyst (from May 1948 to November 1949). Devoted to killing rats on board the British Royal Navy frigate, Simon was a highly commended Royal Navy Animal Auxiliary, with the fanciful rank of ‘Able Seacat’. Simon was wounded by a shell burst during the Yangtse Incident (or Amethyst Incident, 1949). Later he died of a viral infection, when in quarantine, at Hackbridge Boarding & Quarantine Kennels, Surrey, England, on 28 November 1949, aged about two. The cat was awarded the Dickin Medal (‘the Victoria Cross for animals’), the Amethyst campaign medal and the Blue Cross medal. Simon is buried in the PDSA pet cemetery in Ilford, Essex, England (Plot 281), his gravestone noting that ‘THROUGHOUT THE YANGTSE INCIDENT HIS BEHAVIOUR WAS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER’. This photograph was taken when Simon was in quarantine. Inscription on the name tag on Simon's collar: H.M.S. AMETHYST APRIL 1949. Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(cat) and http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk/famous/simon-quest.html.
Friday 11 November 1949
Black and white photograph