IFLHistory Bonus Article A chacma baboon of the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment during World War I

A chacma baboon of the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment during World War I

He was discovered on a farm in South Africa by his owner Albert Marr just before WWI. They became great friends and when Albert Marr joined the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment he took Jackie along.

The friendly & highly intelligent monkey became a great favorite with the other soldiers & was made the regimental mascot. Jackie was given a special uniform complete with buttons, a cap, regimental badges, a pay book and his own rations.

He was an excellent soldier, always smartly turned out, friendly & respectful, giving a proper salute to every passing officer.

Soon Privates Marr & Jackie were sent to the front where they saw battle service for the next 3 years. Private Jackie was the best sentry around due to his great senses of hearing and smelling which allowed him to be able to detect any enemy long before any of his other army mates could even notice their approach.

During the Senussi Campaign on 26 February 1916 in Egypt, Albert Marr got wounded on his shoulder by an enemy bullet and Jackie stayed beside him until the stretcher bearers arrived, licking the wound and doing what he could to comfort his friend.

Later on, in April 1918 both privates got injured in the Passchendale area in Belgium during a heavy shell exploded. Jackie’s right leg got seriously wounded and was later amputated by Dr RN Woodsend. Both privates made a full recovery and shortly before the armistice Jackie got promoted to corporal and awarded a medal for valour.

On the end of April Jackie was officially discharged at the Maitland Dispersal Camp, Cape Town, South Africa, while wearing on his arm a gold wound stripe and three blue service chevrons indicating three years of frontline service. He was also given a parchment discharge paper, a military pension and a Civil Employment Form for discharged soldiers.

Jackie returned to the Marr’s family farm where he lived until the 22nd May, 1921.  Albert Marr lived until the age of 84 and died in Pretoria in August 1973.

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