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Noodles, the mascot


Sergeant Noodles, 21 Battalion

Sergeant Noodles, a white Samoyed, marched through Auckland with the men of the Second Echelon before their departure overseas. He was the pride and joy of C Company, 21 Battalion, and he was initially lucky enough to be granted official permission to sail with his unit.

Noodles enlisted to join his master, Private 'Tubby' Ryan, having fretted and refused to eat in the latter's absence. He was taken to Papakura Camp where he showed a special preference for his master's platoon and followed Private Ryan on all route marches. He slept in the platoon hut and was a very good sentry.

Sergeant Noodles's first collar was a puggaree studded with the hat badge and buttons of 15 North Auckland Regiment. In cold weather he wore a khaki coat made to measure by the camp tailor. The battalion's official history claimed that Noodles was an 'example to the untidy, for he was always correctly dressed in a red and khaki cover, on the side of which was attached his three stripes of rank. He wore his NZEF badge on his collar and was never known to give one away to a lady friend.' 

Before the platoon left Auckland, Sergeant Noodles was allowed out on final leave, being issued with the usual leave pass from the orderly room, despite some misbehaviour during a camp inspection. He joined the unit on their farewell march in Auckland and travelled to Wellington on 1 May to board the Empress of Japan. At this point his luck ran out.

He was turned away at the gangway as regulations prevented his embarkation, but somebody threw a rope from the deck and, with the help of a wharf worker, Sergeant Noodles was nearly hoisted aboard. Unfortunately, his yelping attracted the notice of a ship's officer who ordered him to be returned to the wharf.

So 21 Battalion sailed without its mascot.

Noodles in a group photo

Noodles with members of C Company, 21 Battalion.


Images copyright Auckland War Memorial Museum. Not to be reused without permission 

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