Belfast Telegraph

First World War centenary: Somme cat sleeps amid the shells

By Ivan Little

He's called the Big Man and he brings a smile amid the solemnity of the Somme.

But this 'Big Man' is no John Wayne, Liam Neeson or even Ian Paisley.

For this hero of the ancient battlefields is actually a cat. And not to put too fine a point on it, he's something of a fat cat who clearly has a taste for his work dealing with any rodent problems in the grounds of the Ulster Memorial Tower near Thiepval.

The Big Man and his sister, the 'Wee Girl', were adopted as kittens by the resident memorial custodians – Teddy and Phoebe Colligan from Belfast – 12 years ago after they were abandoned.

Locals look after the cats after the Colligans return to Northern Ireland for the winter months.

The Big Man loves nothing more than to sleep the day away, often on top of a most unusual resting place made up of hundreds of shells which have turned up in battlefield sites.

Belfast Telegraph

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