Do You Know the Story About Unsinkable Sam, The Cat Who Survived Three Sinking Ships?

We often joke that cats have nine lives, but no one takes this phrase too seriously. Well, when you learn the story of Unsinkable Sam, a cat who survived the sinking of three ships during World War II, you might start believing there is some truth in that.  

On 27 May 1941, the German battleship Bismarck took part in a naval fight in the Atlantic Ocean and was sunk by the British Royal Navy. Around 150 members of the Bismarck crew survived, including a black-and-white cat.

Sailors from the British destroyer HMS Cossack spotted the cat several hours later and welcomed it on board as their new mascot. The feline was named Oscar.

Oscar would go on to be part of the Cossack crew for the next five months, sailing the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. However, on 24 October 1941, Cossack was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine and ended up being severely damaged. More than 100 sailors lost their lives, but Oscar somehow managed to survive and was rescued. While the British Royal Navy attempted to save the Cossack, severe weather forced it to abandon it, and it eventually sank at the bottom of the ocean.

Oscar, now sporting a nickname “Unsinkable Sam”, found his new home on HMS Ark Royal, one of the ships that destroyed Bismarck. But he didn’t spend a long time there, as Ark Royal was also torpedoed on 14 November 1941. Almost the entire crew, including Oscar, was saved before the ship sunk while being towed to Gibraltar.

Spell on Ark Royal ended up being the end of Unsinkable Sam’s adventures on the sea. He initially spent some time in the offices of the Governor of Gibraltar before making his way to Belfast, UK, where he spent the rest of his life.

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