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Wojtek (1942 – 2 December 1963; Polish pronunciation: [ˈvɔjtɛk]; in English, sometimes phonetically spelled Voytek and pronounced as such) was a Syrian brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus) bought, as a young cub, at a railway station in Hamadan, Iran, by Polish II Corps soldiers who had been evacuated from the Soviet Union. In order to provide for his rations and transportation, he was eventually enlisted officially as a soldier with the rank of private, and was subsequently promoted to corporal.
The Soldier Bear
Hamadan, Imperial State of Iran
|Died||2 December 1963(1963-12-02) (aged 21)|
Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland
|Service/||Polish Land Forces|
|Years of service||1943–1945|
|Unit||3522, 22nd Artillery Supply Company, II Corps (Poland)|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Memorials||Wojtek Memorial Trust|
He accompanied the bulk of the II Corps to Italy, serving with the 22nd Artillery Supply Company. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy in 1944, Wojtek helped move crates of ammunition and became a celebrity with visiting Allied generals and statesmen. After the war he was mustered out of the Polish Army and lived out the rest of his life at the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland.
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