The Just Nuisance Statue stands sentry in Jubilee Square over the Simon’s Town Waterfront. It was erected in 1985 overlooking the harbour to commemorate the Great Dane that served in the Royal Navy during World War 2. The Simon's Town Museum has an exhibition dedicated to Nuisance’s life story and since 2000, there has been an annual parade of Great Danes from which a lookalike is selected.
Who was Just Nuisance?
Just Nuisance served at HMS Afrikander, a Royal Navy shore establishment in Simon’s Town between 1939 and 1944. He was the only dog that has ever been officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. He died in 1944 at the age of 7 years and was buried with full military honours.
Just Nuisance was allowed to roam freely and was known to take day trips by train as far afield as the Cape Town city centre. Although he was not allowed on the trains, the sailors would often try and conceal him from the conductors who would put him off the train and threaten to put him down if he didn’t stop riding the train or have his fares paid for. The news of Nuisance being in danger resulted in many sailors writing to the Navy pleading for their help. Although someone did offer to buy him a season ticket, naval command decided to enlist him by the book. As a member of the armed forces, Nuisance would be entitled to free train travel.
Nuisance was officially enlisted in the Navy in August 1939. His surname was entered as Nuisance and in order to avoid his first name being left blank, it was entered as “Justâ€. His trade was listed as "Bonecrusher" and his religious affiliation as "Scrounger", although this was later altered to the more charitable "Canine Divinity League (Anti-Vivisection)". To allow Nuisance to receive food rations and because of his longstanding unofficial service, he was promoted from Ordinary Seaman to Able Seaman.
Nuisance never went to sea with the Navy, but he fulfilled a number of roles ashore. He continued to accompany sailors on train journeys and escorted them back to base when the pubs closed. While many of his chores were of his own choosing, he also appeared at many promotional events, including his own wedding to another Great Dane, Adinda. Adinda produced 5 pups, two of which were auctioned off in Cape Town to raise funds for the war effort.
Nuisance's service record was definitely not without fault. Aside from his offences of travelling on the trains without his free pass, being absent without leave, losing his collar, and refusing to leave the pub at closing time, his record shows that he was sentenced to having all bones removed for 7 days for sleeping in an improper place —the bed of one of the Petty Officers.
Nuisance was involved in a car accident which resulted in thrombosis, which gradually paralysed him. On 1 January 1944, he was discharged from the Navy and as his condition continued to deteriorate, he was put down on 1 April 1944 at the Simon's Town Naval Hospital. The next day he was taken to Klaver Camp, where his body was draped with a Royal Naval White Ensign and he was buried with full naval honours, including a gun salute and the playing of the Last Post. A simple granite headstone marks his grave, which is on the top of the hill at Klawer, at the former SA Navy Signal School.