The Story of Fritz the Dog – June 1944

Fritz was captured a German military Pyrenean Mountain Dog who was captured by Captain Cecil Thomas DSO and his platoon during the D Day Landings on 6th June 1944. He weighed about 122 lbs (55½kg) and his handlers had been killed or captured during the D Day Landings. He was sent back to England where he was nearly destroyed under Britain’s tough quarantine regulations. He was saved from this fate by Leading Wren Elgar who paid the quarantine fees which saved his life. Upon hearing this news, Captain Thomas, who was wounded during the Landings, appealed to the Regiment to raise the £18 (over £700 today!) to repay Miss Elgar and buy Fritz as a Regimental Mascot.

Initially, Fritz was a very reluctant recruit. He caused considerable damage to his kennels by tearing through a corrugated iron fence and chewing through his zinc-lined kennel door all in an effort to escape. However, due to his good training as an attack dog he was soon obeying his new owners despite them not speaking German.

After this rocky start, Fritz served the Regiment faithfully as its mascot for 5 years; heading up Freedom Parades, charming the Royal Family during a Royal visit to Winchester in 1946 and even accompanying the Regiment on days out to the New Forest. The Regiment took great pride in their mascot, and in true military fashion issued him with an official uniform so that he could impress at the head of every parade. Fritz died in 1949, but he has been fondly remembered ever since by The Royal Hampshire Regiment.