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Army January 31, 2013
Some unit mascots only come out for parades, but Sgt Dave Morley uncovers the story of a dog with an active
role in its unit's World War II operations.
IN THE dark days of World War
II, and at a time before equity
and diversity training, an AIF
unit adopted an Egyptian ter-
rier as a mascot and named him
"Horrie the Wog Dog".
In early 1941, Ptes Jim Moody and
Don Gill, two dispatch riders with
the 2nd/1st Machine Gun Battalion's
Signals Platoon, found the scrawny
pup unsuccessfully hunting lizards in
the Egyptian desert and took him back
to their unit.
He was named after a discussion
by blokes in the Sig Pl tent who decid-
ed the name "fitted him like a glove".
Horrie immediately proved so pop-
ular with the diggers that the unit's
officers turned a blind eye to the no
He quickly embraced the Army
way of life, attending unit parades
and leading the battalion on route
Former Pte Ewen "Snowy"
MacRae, 89, of Orange in NSW, a
scout with A Coy, 2nd/1st MG Bn,
said his experiences with Horrie were
mainly in the mess tent in Egypt.
"Horrie would keep the Arabs out
of the mess tent by latching on to the
seat of their baggy trousers," he said.
Sig Pl members smuggled him
meat from the mess, which he buried
in the sand in the middle of the tent.
When someone suggested spray-
ing the meat with olive oil, he "fairly
hogged into it".
The diggers snuck him on board
the troopship Chakla inside a kitbag
when the battalion deployed to Greece.
Pte Moody had Horrie in the front
of his overcoat when his motorcycle
was strafed by a German fighter, caus-
ing him to lose control and crash into
When the plane came back a sec-
ond time Pte Moody held Horrie up to
look at it as it flew off, and he growled
From then on Horrie became the
troops' best spotter.
He was able to hear approaching
planes before the diggers could and
would sit still with his ears cocked.
If he began growling his mates
knew there was an enemy aircraft on
its way in.
When the diggers were evacuated
from Greece, Horrie and his Sig Pl
mates found themselves on the troop-
ship Costa Rica headed in convoy for
The convoy was continuously
attacked by Stuka dive bombers.
Those on board the Costa Rica who
still had their rifles fired at the German
planes, while those who didn't played
a piano on deck and sang along.
On April 27, 1941, the ship was
holed by a bomb and those on board
took to the lifeboats.
In the confusion Horrie was almost
crushed between two lifeboats.
During the Battle of Crete, Horrie
was quickly trained to carry messages
in his collar from an observation post
When the message was received
at HQ the platoon sergeant would fire
two shots from his revolver so those on
the observation post would know the
message had arrived.
Once the Battle of Crete was lost
and the diggers were again evacu-
ated by ship, Horrie and his mates
found themselves on the troopship
Lossiebank and again under attack
from the Luftwaffe.
During one such attack, Horrie was
wounded in action by a steel splinter
in his shoulder.
After Pte Gill dug the splinter out
with a knife, Horrie wagged his tail as
if it was nothing.
Horrie deployed with his unit to
Palestine and on to Syria, where he
attacked a wolf that was stalking his
He came out the worse for wear but
When the AIF units in the Middle
East were told they were returning to
Australia, following the Japanese entry
into the war, there was a clamp down
on unit mascots.
Elaborate plans were formulated by
Horrie's many supporters, which got
him smuggled on board a troopship in
Egypt and off the ship in Adelaide.
When the battalion went to fight in
New Guinea, Horrie stayed behind in
Melbourne with Pte Moody's father,
having seen active service in Egypt,
Greece, Crete, Palestine and Syria.
Horrie was involved in a fundrais-
ing photo shoot in Sydney in March
1945 when he came to the notice of
the Quarantine Department.
Pte Moody was given a notice to
surrender Horrie for destruction within
seven days or face the consequences.
Even though Horrie had lived in
Australia for more than two years
and was obviously disease-free,
Quarantine wanted to set an example
to discourage other units from bring-
ing their mascots home.
Seven days later, after a media
campaign to save Horrie failed,
Jim Moody surrendered Horrie to
Quarantine officials who put him
Or did he?
Former signals platoon member
Pte Brian Featherstone, who knew Jim
Moody and Horrie, was adamant that
true to rumour, a substitute dog was
the one put down in 1945.
"The real Horrie lived a long,
happy life on a northern Victorian farm
at Corryong," he said.
According to Jim Moody's son
Ian, of Portland, Victoria, Jim's mates
passed the hat around to raise funds
for a look-alike dog.
"Many dog pounds were scoured
to find a dog already on death row,
which apparently they were able to
do," he said.
During the Battle
of Crete, Horrie
was quickly trained
to carry messages
in his collar from
post to HQ.
out a Vichy
French tank in
with his unit,
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