African Blessings Blog

Jimmy the donkey

Jimmy the donkey

Hello to all our African Blessings’ friends

All living creatures and beings at African Blessings are exceptional in their own right and the donkeys have a very special spot in Aunty Rita’s heart. With urbanisation cats and dogs are more the focus point of pet conversations and social media these days so to be a little different I thought I’d bring you a story of a famous and much loved little donkey by the name of Jimmy.

The 1916 WW1 Battle of Somme in France lasted for 4 months and over 600 000 British and French soldiers succumbed in the skirmishes. After the 1st Scottish Rifles had overrun the German trenches, the opposing companies took a short rest. Both sides were alarmed at the sudden skirl of bagpipes which drew their attention to a movement in the middle of the muddy and sodden battlefield.

A brave Scottish infantryman dashed over and retrieved the bloodied and muddy creature which turned out to be a newborn donkey whose mother had been killed in an earlier clash. Miraculously, during the time of rescue, not a single shot was fired. Jimmy the donkey was raised on tinned War Department milk and in return for the kindness from the Scotts, as he became older, he worked for them appreciatively, was wounded on several occasions and ultimately earned the rank of Full Corporal and proudly wore his chevrons on his harness.

When peace was declared a Mrs Heath from Peterborough, England purchased Jimmy at an auction. He was put to work in a small paddock in the centre of town but perhaps we could phrase this as his ‘retirement sideline’. Daily, folk would visit him and deposit a few shilling in a bucket that Jimmy wore around his neck. This ‘sideline’ raised thousands of pounds for the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

In loving comfort and at the age of 27, Jimmy the war veteran donkey, passed away in 1943. As tribute to his fascinating life and bravery, he was buried in Peterborough’s Central Park. Towards the 2nd quarter of next year we can retrace the story of the brave soldier and the bloodied little orphaned donkey, back 100 years. Being in the log books of history, Ret. Full corporal Jimmy will surely, in celebration, raise his hoof in a salute as he did when his soldiers returned from patrol. I was captivated by the story of Jimmy the waif and sincerely trust that it has intrigued you too.

God bless