I don’t know if anyone has ever heard this really touching story of a Chacma baboon named “Jackie”.
He was discovered on a farm in South Africa by it’s owner Albert Marr just before WWI. They became great friends and when Albert Marr joined the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment he took ‘Jackie’ along.
The friendly & highly intelligent monkey became a great favourite with the other soldiers & was made the regimental mascot & was issued with rations, a uniform & a pay book !!!
He was an excellent soldier, always smartly turned out, friendly & respectful, giving a proper salute to every passing officer.
Soon Privates Marr & ‘Jackie’ were sent to the front where they saw battle service for the next 3 years. Private ‘Jackie’ became an excellent gaurd, warning his regiment whenever the enemy came near. In 1916 Marr was wounded in battle & the loyal ‘Jackie’ stayed by his side licking the wound until the medical team could get to him.
Both Privates were injured in Belgium in 1918 when a heavy shell exploded near ‘Jackie’ damaging his right leg. He was tenderly carried to the medical station by a weeping corporal who begged the doctor to do something for him.
‘Jackie’ was given chloroform & his right leg was amputated. He made a complete recovery & just before Armistice he was promoted to the rank of corporal & given a medal for bravery – surely the only monkey in history to do so !!!
He was given a full discharge from the army at the end of the war & returned to his master’s farm where he lived until 1921.