Sunday, 29 January 2012
Famous Labradors no. 1
This is Nigger, the black labrador that belonged to Wing Commander Guy Gibson and mascot of 617 Squadron of the 'Dam Busters' raid.
Nigger died on 16 May 1943, the day before the raid, when he was hit by a car. He was buried at midnight as Gibson was leading the raid. 'Nigger' was the code word Gibson used to confirm the breach of the Möhne Dam.
Interestingly, in the 1955 film The Dam Busters, an RAF dog was used to portray Nigger. Apparently he was a brilliant canine actor, only causing difficulties on a couple of occasions. On one time, when filming on location at RAF Scampton, Nigger and Gibson were to stroll through a group of RAF men waiting outside of a building for a briefing. The dog could not be persuaded to move off one spot, or even dragged past it on a lead. It later transpired that the spot was the site where the real Nigger had been buried, some 8 years before, whose gravestone had been temporarily removed for filming. In the end, the scene was filmed without the dog.