September 11, 2015 | Posted in War Dogs

JustnuisanceJust Nuisance; the Great Dane from Simon’s Town South Africa, holds the rare distinction of being the only dog to have ever been officially enlisted in the Royal Navy.


He was born in 1937; apparently on 1st April, though no clear records exist. He was a regular sight at the United Services Institute (USI); which was frequented by sailors of the Royal Navy. The seamen took a fancy to him and treated him to tasty tidbits and also beer. This gentle-natured dog grew up to be a big and strong animal that stood more than six and half feet tall on his hind legs.

As he grew, so did the scope of his peregrinations and he began wandering way beyond the precincts of the USI. He could distinguish Royal Navy sailors whom he would accompany for walks to the docks and pretty soon he was entering ships moored there. The big dog had taken a liking to one particular ship – the HMS Neptune. He would block the passage of seamen trying to pass him at the top of the gangplank and before long they began to call him a nuisance. And that became his name – Just Nuisance.

Just Nuisance soon developed the habit of following sailors who’d be going on shore leave and would travel by train. His solo journeys by train were abetted by friendly sailors but his size and the fact that he traveled ticketless did not go down well with the railway authorities. Apparently, on an occasion or two, Just Nuisance tried to reason with the ticket checkers on duty by rearing up to his full height, placing his paws on their shoulders and making his point of view known to them. But this actually served to unnerve the railway officials who then threatened to have the animal put to sleep. However; they had not taken into account the love that some dogs are born to inspire and Just Nuisance was one such dog.

The Naval Commander-in-Chief, no less, took an interest in the matter, and decided that the best thing to do would be to enlist Just Nuisance in the Royal Navy and thus was added a sterling chapter to the life of this big-hearted Great Dane who over the years has become a legend in Simon’s Town. As an enlisted volunteer in the war effort, Just Nuisance was entitled to a free pass for railway travel. On 25th August, 1939, the Great Dane was officially a member of the Royal Navy.

Very soon Ordinary Seaman Just Nuisance was living the life of a Royal Navy sailor. He would turn out for parades wearing a naval hat. Just Nuisance was known to get in between brawling sailors and stop their fights. For a sailor, who held the rank of Able Seaman, the big canine never actually went out to sea. However, he helped in his own way. He would round up and bring back sailors who would step ashore for merrymaking and then miss the curfew hours. He sired a litter with Adinda, another Great Dane, and two pups were auctioned in order to get contributions for the war.

But every now and then, Just Nuisance would do things that totally justified his moniker; like sleeping in the bed of a senior officer or fighting with the mascots of other ships. The latter activity actually resulted in the sad deaths of two mascots.

On January 1st 1944, the Great Dane was discharged from the navy. This was necessitated by a car accident that left the dog paralyzed. Just Nuisance passed away on the 1st of April, 1944. He was buried with full naval honors.