Around the world there are many stories of extraordinary dogs that have left their footprints in the places they once lived. Just such an animal is Just Nuisance, a Great Dane that once kept the Royal Navy's sailors company during the years of World War II.

Did you know?

Just Nuisance sired five puppies after he was 'married' to another Great Dane called Adinda in a public ceremony.

In Jubilee Square, overlooking False Bay in the naval base of Simon's Town close to Cape Town, there's a statue of a dog.

This is Just Nuisance, a Great Dane whose escapades have ensured that his memory is an integral part of the history of this pretty seaside town, where South Africa's naval fleet is based.

As a young dog, he was taken to Simon's Town by his first owner, Benjamin Chaney, around the start of World War II in 1939. Chaney ran the United Service Institute, which was frequented by sailors from the Royal Navy.

Nuisance soon developed an attachment to the young sailors and followed them around, on to their ships and even boarding the train to Cape Town so that he could escort them safely back after the pubs closed.

The young sailors, many of whom were far from home and not a little homesick, became equally attached to the dog and thus he became something of a naval mascot.

It was Nuisance's habit of catching trains that saw him being enlisted into the Royal Navy (the only dog ever to have earned this honour).

The story goes that the railway conductors wanted to stop him boarding the trains, but even though they threw him off at various stations, he would always board another train and find his way home. Eventually he was threatened with euthanasia unless something was done.

After some petitioning from the rank and file, the naval commander-in-chief decided to enlist him as a fully fledged member of the Royal Navy, which would allow him free travel on the trains. Thus was Ordinary Seaman Just Nuisance born (the name 'Just' was added to his enlistment card as a first name). He was later promoted to Able Seaman to entitle him to free rations.

Sadly, in 1944, Just Nuisance became ill and had to be put down. He was buried with naval honours, including a gun salute and the sounding of the Last Post at Klaver Camp on the top of Red Hill behind Simon's Town, where his gravestone still stands.

Just Nuisance had served in the navy from 1940 to 1944 and brought comfort and entertainment to many of the men who were based in Simon's Town during these years.

Today, the statue in Jubilee Square, by artist Jean Doyle, reminds visitors of his remarkable and touching story, and the Simon's Town Museum has a collection of all his official papers, his collar and photographs.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

Simon's Town is the last of Cape Town's outlying suburbs on the road to Cape Point. You can access it either via Muizenberg or by driving over Ou Kaapse Weg on the R64 and continuing through to Glencairn. At Glencairn turn right and follow the coast road. Jubilee Square is to the right of the main road in the centre of the town.

Best time to visit

All year.

Around the area

Simon's Town is close to the world-famous Boulders Beach, where you can see African penguins.

Tours to do

There are boat-based tours that leave from Simon's Town harbour. Simon's Town is also on route to Cape Point, and so is a good place for a breakfast, lunch or tea break.

Get around

Self-drive or catch a train to Simon's Town (just like Just Nuisance did).

What will it cost

There is no charge – the statue is in Jubilee Square.

What to pack

A sun hat and sensible shoes if you want to explore the area.

Where to stay

Simon's Town has several guest houses and B&Bs in the area.

What to eat

You can have breakfast or lunch at one of the restaurants on or close to Jubilee Square, which is on the Simon's Town's waterfront.