History page

Visit of Delville Wood



The mascot of the 4th South African Infantry Regiment (South African Scottish)

Nancy was a springbok presented to the Regiment in August 1915 by Mr D. M'Laren Kennedy of Driefontein, Orange Free State. She was brought to Egypt and to France and Flanders.

Nancy wearing a tartan coat secured with green tapes which had been made for her by the Regimental tailor from a kilt (Photo : Delville Wood Museum)

Nancy's record is very remarkable for she was to accompany her regiment through the First World War from 1915 unitl after the Armistice.

In Egypt, Nancy got lost after departing with her rope leash. Her keeper, Bugler A.E. Petersen, searched for Nancy everywhere and was unable to find her. Finally a "patrol" of pipers was sent out in different directions in the hope that the bagpipes would succeed. The music worked like magic - Nancy returned to camp.

Whenever the Regiment went up the line into the trenches, Nancy stayed behind in the transport lines.

Nancy suffered a broken horn at Armentières in 1917 during the shelling of the transport lines. From then on the left horn grew downwards at an angle.

Nancy in Delville Wood in February 1918 (from The South African Forces in France, of John Buchan)

Nancy died in Belgium on the 26th November 1918 and she was buried with full military honours in the cemetery of the village of Hermeton-sur-Meuse.

Her skin was sent to a London taxidermist where it was stuffed and mounted and then dispatched back to South Africa. She is displayed at the South African National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg.