When World War two broke out Captain Hafto took Bamse with him on the minesweeper Thorodd as a registered crew member. The ship was stationed in Dundee and Montrose during the war and Bamse became a great favourite of everyone. During action and wearing a personalised steel helmet Bamse would stand guard in the foremost gun tower and would not move until hostilities were over.
The crew made a collection for Bamse’s bus pass which hung around his neck in a plastic wallet. Bus drivers stopped whenever thy saw him and Bamse clambered on to the top deck aware that dogs were not allowed downstairs. Bamse knew when the crew had to be back on board ship and made his way around the pubs of Montrose dragging his sailors back before the curfew ended. When a pub brawl involved one of his men, Bamse stood on his hind legs ( all six foot of him with his 2 ft. wide chest ), clamped his paws on the offender’s shoulders and that was the end of the fight.
When Captain Hafto was leaving for another posting the crew asked where was Bamse going. ‘Why? With me of course’ answered the Captain, ‘He’s my dog!’ The crew declared they would not return to the ship unless Bamse remained. Captain Hafto was forced to entrust Bamse to his successor on the understanding that he would be reclaimed for the family after the war.
Bamse loved participating in sports and when the crew played football on the deck he was goalkeeper and centre forward, flying into the air to butt the ball, cheered on by the sailors. On one occasion the Norwegian sailors were playing against a Polish team in Dundee. At every goal or near goal Bamse leapt out of his seat to bark and howl with delight.
Children from far afield came to see Bamse as much as the match.
He patiently gave them rides and playfully rolled on the ground.