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Cats in 20th Century History-Cats in War- Unsinkable Sam Unsinkable Sam Georgina Shaw-Baker UK National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, cats in war


On May 27, 1941, the Bismarck was spotted by a pair of British destroyers and sunk. In total, 2,200 German soldiers were on the ship when it went down and 115 people (1 cat) survived. The surviving cat was a black and white patched cat named Unsinkable Sam (Oscar), who was discovered floating on a board by British troops. He was the only survivor found by the British destroyer HMS Cossack.


"Unsinkable Sam" also known as Oscar, was a ship's cat who served in the German Kriegsmarine and the British Royal Navy during World War Two and survived the sinking of the Bismark, HMS Cossack, and HMS Ark Royal (which had helped sink the Bismark). Following the loss of the Ark Royal, he was transferred to shore duty at Gibraltar and Belfast. He died, in Ireland, in 1955.