Skip to main content

Duda, the mascot dog


Duda perches on a shovel held by Private E.C. Wheeler.

Duda, 19 Battalion

Duda was rescued at Ed Duda, Libya, during an artillery barrage. She was a small dog and eager to please, as befitted her status as prisoner of war. The troops called her the 'happiest prisoner of war in the Middle East'. She usually travelled in the cook's truck when the unit moved, and on cold desert nights she had the habit of waiting till her friends were settled and then sneaking in between them to sleep and keep warm.

Duda came to New Zealand with Cyril Muir on the Taupo furlough draft in 1944. Muir smuggled her aboard the ship in his duffle bag and managed to keep her hidden even after they transferred to a United States ship in Bombay. The American sailors knew there was a dog aboard and carried out spot searches, but with the help of a group of Polish refugees Duda managed to evade capture.

Once in New Zealand, she accompanied Muir home to Dunedin where she lived with him and his wife until she died from poisoning. It was a sad end to an affectionate life.


Image from D.W. Sinclair, 19 Battalion and Armoured Regiment (1954), on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre website

How to cite this page

Duda, the mascot dog, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated