Borax, the mascot

Borax, the mascot

22 Battalion: Borax

Borax the terrier was said to have entered Trentham Camp as a volunteer, and he was initially adopted by 19 Battalion, which left him behind when it went overseas. He was then adopted by A Company, 22 Battalion, which provided him with a uniform marked with his unit and service number.

Borax may have been more determined than Sergeant Noodles (who failed to embark), or perhaps he was just lucky, for when the troop ship Empress of Britain left Wellington's Pipitea wharf carrying the Second Echelon on 2 May 1940, he managed to get on board.

Although a formal application made in camp to have him included on the embarkation roll had been refused, Borax was discovered on board a day after the ship had left port. There was a rumour that the two sergeants who claimed responsibility had been demoted and the dog destroyed, but Borax completed the journey; the Battalion history includes a photograph of him on parade in England.

A newspaper account stated that the battalion's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel L.W. Andrew VC, was a First World War veteran who 'understood soldiers and their ways with mascots' and had a soft spot for Borax.


Borax on parade in England


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Paul Froggatt

Posted: 04 Jul 2018

According to Terry McLean, the men who smuggled Borax on board spent some time practising the manoeuvre by carrying Borax in a bag up and down ladders so he would keep quiet at the important event. When in Britain his coat was made by a class of girls at Hutt Valley High School, who received in return a cable from Borax "Many thanks, Yelps, Borax". Borax joined the exclusive Tailwaggers Club of Great Britain and was checked over by the local vet. When the Battalion was ready to leave Britain, Borax was classified "medically unfit - return to New Zealand" and along with other similar soldiers was sent from Maidstone to London in a rear party. His departure from camp on 26 December 1940 was noted in the daily Routine Orders. But Borax absconded from the rear party with the intent of rejoining his Battalion, but it had sailed to Egypt without him.