The Legendary AB JUST NUISANCE is one of Simon’s Town most famous “personalities”. A Great Dane born in Rondebosch in 1937, he “volunteered” to join the Royal Navy in 1939. Able Seaman Just Nuisance did much to boost the morale of all those involved in fighting the Second World War. A summary of his all-too-short life follows:
1937 April 1 – Just Nuisance was born in Rondebosch and his breeder was Mr H. Bosman.
1938 Feb 27 – He was officially registered as a Great Dane, under the name “Pride of Rondebosch”. His sire was “Koning” and his dam was “Diana”.
1938 March – He was sold to Mr and Mrs Chaney who lived in Mowbray. In the same month, the Chaneys moved to Simon’s Town, where Mr Chaney became the manager of the United Services Institute, which was a hostel for sailors ashore. Here Just Nuisance became acquainted with the young Royal Navy sailors, to whom he became so attached.
Just Nuisance loved the sailors and followed them everywhere, even catching the train to Cape Town with them. As he insisted on lying across three seats on the train, the railway authorities became most annoyed and threatened to have him put down. The sailors hastily consulted their Officer Commanding, who thought of a most unusual plan to save him and so………
1939 June 6 – Just Nuisance “volunteered” to join the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy, expecting the outbreak of War, was recruiting new sailors. The Officer Commanding knew that as an enlisted sailor during the Second World War, Just Nuisance would be entitled to a free pass on the train!
1939 Aug 25 – He commenced his duties in the Royal Navy and was issued with his own sailor’s cap. A special collar was made for him in the Naval Dockyard, to which his free pass was attached. Just Nuisance’s official papers say that he was a “Bone-crusher” by trade. His religious denomination was a “Scrounger” and he was given the rank of Able Seaman.
Just Nuisance was quartered at HMS Afrikander and had his own bunk. A sailor was put in charge of him to ensure that he was fed, bathed and brushed. He also had a bed at the Union Jack Club in Cape Town.
From the time that AB Just Nuisance joined the Royal Navy, his numerous and varied activities began to make the news wherever he went. He became a celebrity almost overnight.
1941 – Mr Leslie Steyn wrote the first book about Just Nuisance called “Just Nuisance – Able Seaman who leads a Dog’s Life”.
1941 June 1 – Just Nuisance “married” Adinda, a Great Dane from Ermelo and 9 weeks later she gave birth to 5 puppies.
1941 Oct 25 – Two of the puppies, Victor and Wilhelmina, arrived to an almost ticker-tape welcome at Cape Town Station, where they met their sire, Just Nuisance, for the first time. They were auctioned by the Mayor of Cape Town for War Funds.
By now, Just Nuisance was an economic asset to the Royal Navy. Sales of Leslie Steyn’s book as well as postcards of him with his pups, were raising large sums of money, which all contributed to War Funds.
Just Nuisance, however, was no angel as his “Conduct Sheet” shows. He was guilty of several misdeeds, such as travelling on the train without his free pass (as he hated his collar), sleeping on a bed in the Petty Officers’ dormitory (when he was only an able seaman), going AWOL (absent without leave), losing his collar and resisting eviction from pubs at closing time! His most serious offence was fighting with the mascots of other Royal Navy vessels. He caused the deaths of the mascots on both the HMS Shropshire and the HMS Redoubt.
All things considered, however, Just Nuisance was more than just a dog. He did much to boost the morale of all those involved in fighting the Second World War, from the Atlantic Station and was renowned for the love and care he showed for his sailor mates.
1944 April 1 – It was Able Seaman Just Nuisance’s 7th birthday, but sadly, a motor accident had left him with a thrombosis that had paralysed him. With great regret the Royal Navy decided, on the recommendation of a veterinary surgeon, that it was time to put him to sleep. He was taken up to the Royal Naval Hospital where the Surgeon Commander administered the injection.
Just Nuisance was wrapped in a canvas bag, covered with a White Ensign and buried with full military honours at Klaver Camp, above Simon’s Town. Considering the fact that the Royal Navy was heavily engaged in fighting the War, it is remarkable that the naval signal announcing Just Nuisance’s death and burial, was sent to every naval ship and establishment, worldwide!
Following Just Nuisance death, numerous tributes commending his devotion to his sailor friends appeared in print, not only in South Africa, but in the United Kingdom and in the USA as well. A subsequent book on the life of Just Nuisance by Terence Sisson, entitled “Just Nuisance AB, His Full Story”, is sold both in South Africa and in the United Kingdom.
The Simon’s Town Museum has in its collection, all Just Nuisance’s official papers, his collar and many photographs. A special display has been mounted in the Museum and a slide show about this famous dog is shown to children and tourists from all over the world. A statue of Just Nuisance was unveiled on Jubilee Square in 1985, to commemorate him as one of Simon’s Town most famous “personalities”!
Information from the records of the Simon’s Town Museum
PO Box 56, Simon’s Town, 7995
Phone number: 021 786 3046
First Printed in April 1999
Second Edition in April 2008