The Cats Of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy

A history in photographs.

1. Ensign Smudge - Served 1914-1918

At just one year, Ensign Smudge left his family farm in Shropshire to sail on the HMS Vanguard. Smudge mostly stuck to the bilge of the ship, where he dispatched mice better than anyone in the Navy. He was awarded the 1914 Star and Victory campaign medals for valiant service.

2. Ordnance Officer Frisky - Served 1914-1920

Officer Frisky was Ordnance Officer aboard the first dreadnought-class battleship called the HMS Hercules. Frisky was responsible for arming the ship’s three 21-inch torpedo tubes, but lacking opposable digits, he was ill-suited for the task. No cat has been promoted to Ordnance Officer since.

3. Commander Oscar - Served 1925-1936

Oscar joined the British Naval Academy in 1920, and quickly rose through the officer ranks. He took command of the HMS Hood in 1933, after which he led several peace-time missions in the oceans outside Japan. It’s believed now that his heavy campaigning in the area was motivated mostly by the quality of the seafood.

4. Shipwright Jaspar - Served 1938-1950

Pictured here early in his career, enjoying a smoke aboard the HMS George, Shipwright Jaspar was one of the team of support staff employed by the Royal Navy to maintain the fleet. He died of feline emphysema in 1966.

5. Rear Admiral Mittens - Served 1940-1960

As a captain of the HMS Ajax during the war, Rear Admiral Mittens led his men to victory countless times. Some years after the war, it was discovered that Mittens was a spy, and regularly supplied intelligence to a Russian organization called the KGB. (Shortened from Kitten gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti.)

6. First Mate Tuna - Served 1940-1944

First Mate Tuna served aboard the HMS Audacious during the war. He was aboard the ship when it collided with a sea mine in 1944, and he was thrown overboard into the frigid waters on the Pacific. Ironically, we was consumed by a large albacore tuna upon hitting the water.

7. Midshipman Puddles - Served 1941-1942

In this photo, a pensive young midshipman named Puddles reflects on the horrors of naval combat. In the waning years of The Great War, Puddles participated in several key battles in the Pacific Theater. He was killed in action in 1942.

8. Officer Cadet Cranberry - Served 1944-1948

In one tour of duty, Officer Cadet Cranberry saw more sea combat than most admirals do in their careers. Fortunately, despite some close calls, Cranberry left the Royal Navy relatively unscathed. After the war, he moved to America where he became a bodega cat in New York City.

9. Bosun’s Mate Marbles - Served 1944-1946

As a young Bosun’s Mate, Marbles suffered several nervous collapses, forcing him to take shore leave more often than most mates are permitted. He was dishonorably discharged in 1946 after he failed to return from a mission in the jungles of Kanem-Bornu. It’s believed that he still lives deep within those jungles to this day.

10. Second Mate Mixie - Served 1960-1966

Second Mate Mixie served aboard the HMS Erin III as it patrolled the South China Sea in the early 1960s. He came from a long line of navy-cats, his father having served aboard the HMS Erin II, giving all nine lives before the ship sank in 1944.

11. Fleet Admiral Harry - Currently Serving

Born in England, but naturalized in America at the age of three, Harry currently serves as Fleet Admiral in the U.S. Navy, but has honorary stripes in the British Navy as well. His owners had originally wanted to name him Hermoine, but discovered after three weeks that the cat was male, and decided to name him after their second favorite character from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.

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