Please welcome today's guest blogger Jacky Donovan as she talks about the amazing story of Seacat Simon.
On 30th July, we celebrate the 66th anniversary of Able Seacat Simon's rise to fame as the world's first celebrity cat.
One year earlier, he had been smuggled on board British warship HMS Amethyst in Hong Kong whilst the ship was on a peace keeping mission along the Yangtze River. Little did he know that his peaceful life would soon be shattered, along with much of his body, and he would embark on an adventure fit for heroes, resulting in him becoming the only cat ever to have won the PDSA Dickin Medal, awarded to animals for gallantry during wartime.
His memoir Simon Ships Out: How one brave, stray cat became a worldwide hero, which he quirkily narrates himself, brings to life this incredible war-time story. Having been fired upon by Chinese Communists, a huge percentage of the ship's crew were left dead or injured, food rations were scarce, and rats were the only thing in plentiful supply.
With the ship aground, stranded for 101 agonising days, Simon and the remaining crew, despite their severe injuries, bravely battle their respective foes, enabling Amethyst to make an epic escape. Heralded worldwide as heroes, they sail into Plymouth to a jubilant welcome, but further heart-rending tragedy.
Surviving crew members, now well into their 80s, regularly visit the grave of this astonishingly brave cat in remembrance of his heroism and that of their fellow sailors.
My favourite 5 star review if Simon Ships Out: How one brave, stray cat became a worldwide hero is from Sheila Jeffries, renowned author of Solomon's Tale and Solomon's Kitten: "This is an epic true story of a ship's cat, very moving and sensitively told from the cat's viewpoint. Like all good books, it's not just a story but a message to all of us. A message that clearly says ' if you thought life was going to be easy, forget it, roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done, not just once but many , many times.' Simon the cat does this, and manages to be nice to everyone he meets along the way. He faces danger ,illness and grief, definitely not the sort of life you would hope to give a beloved cat. Yet this cat comes through it all so bravely. He's an inspiration. An action packed read, rich in detail, harrowing in places, heart-warming in others, and with a beautiful ending."
Simon Ships Out: How one brave, stray cat became a worldwide hero can be purchased from Amazon in kindle or paperback format.
You can read Simons's story for just 99c so it's well worth checking out. Thank you Jacky for sharing such a wonderful story with us.
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