Home » Pets & Animals » Who is Tojo?

Who is Tojo?

When an American Flying Fortress landed in the seaside area of Clonakilty, County Cork, in April 1943, its crew were armed and ready to fight. Surprisingly, the locals greeted them warmly, and not long after, the Irish welcomed the men, including their mascot monkey Tojo, with a party that went on for three days.

In 1943, Tojo, the Monkey, arrived with the T’aint a Bird’s crew on Clonakilty, where the visiting men shared many bottles of rum with their hosts, including Tojo, for three days. Tojo soon passed away and was given full military rights in his burial and an erected statue.

The T’aint a Bird’s Seaside Arrival

It was April 1943 when Clonakilty, County Cork, became a temporary home to the American Flying Fortress’ crew, forced to land about a mile away from the seaside town. The plane landed in the rural area after a misleading radio report threw it off its original trail, making it run low on fuel.

With the aid of the local defense force, the crew of the US Air Force Boeing B-17f-25-DL Fortress S 42-3090 U 334/95BG, christened as T’aint a Bird, soon came to O’Donovan’s Hotel. Aboard the vessel were ten crewmen, a hefty rum supply, and Tojo, the supposed mascot monkey.  (Source: Xplore Conakilty

In a 2013 BBC News article, local businessman Thomas Tupper shared how Tojo ended up with the crew as he grew up hearing stories about the plane’s men and the monkey.

An American Flying Fortress on its way to Britain from the southern states of America crossed the Atlantic from South America, and on their way, they picked up a monkey as a mascot.

Thomas Tupper, Local Businessman

Tupper recalls how the flying vessel circled Clonakilty during the midday, making the town’s residents afraid it might hit the church’s spires. To their relief, the T’aint a Bird headed out to the sea and landed on a marsh. When the men landed, they initially thought they were in German-inhabited Norway. They armed themselves and immediately prepared the cyanide tablets.

To their surprise, the locals in Clonakilty were friendly, and a crowd soon gathered when the local police took them into custody. The custody included the men staying at a nearby hotel, where a party proceeded for three consecutive days. (Source: BBC News

The Quick, Warm, Irish Welcome

The American visitors provided relief to Clonakilty’s war-rationed inhabitants. As they warmly felt the Irish welcome, the vessel’s men reciprocated their hospitality and shared 36 bottles of rum with their host, including Tojo.

The fun was soon over, and not long after, the crew was driven to Cork, where they traveled from the neutral Irish Republic into Northern Ireland, eventually landing in the hands of the RAF. Tojo remained in Clonakilty, left behind by the visitors.

Sadly, Tojo never made it out of the local hotel again, with many suspecting his death was due to the alcohol or the harsh weather.

The efforts of local doctors, chemists, and vets failed to save the monkey, and Tojo died of pneumonia.

Thomas Tupper, Local Businessman

Tojo made a great impression on the residents of the town. Tojo’s yard burial included full military honors and a traditional Irish wake. Locals erected a statue of the legend Tojo, and more than 70 years later, the spirit of Tojo remains alive and well as locals still celebrate him. (Source: BBC News)

Leave a Comment