Tirpitz the Pig

Tirpitz aboard HMS Glasgow, c.1915. Photo in the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

Years of Service

While it is unknown when Tirpitz was born, she went to sea on the German light cruiser SMS Dresden in 1914. Intended for the mess table, it is unknown if she had a name while in German service, but she managed to survive the Battles of Coronel and the Falklands in late 1914. Tirpitz was still alive when Dresden was caught by the British and scuttled by her crew in March, 1915, off Más a Tierra, Chile. Tirpitz escaped from the ship, and was spotted swimming by a sailor on HMS Glasgow. Despite nearly drowning her would-be rescuer, the pig was brought aboard the cruiser, and given the name Tirpitz. Glasgow kept Tirpitz aboard as a mascot until 1916, when she was transferred to the Whale Island Gunnery School at Portsmouth, England. Tirpitz remained there until 1919, when she was auctioned off as meat. Her stuffed head and carving knives made from her feet are in the collection of the Imperial War Museums.