The legendary tale of Cape Town’s most famous great dane
Just Nuisance was reportedly born in Rondebosch, Cape Town to his breeder Mr. H. Bosman. In 1937. The following year he was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Chaney who moved to Simon’s Town, where Mr. Chaney became the manager of a hostel for sailors ashore.
Just Nuisance soon became acquainted with the young Royal Navy sailors, who fell in love with the young pup. He continued to grow into a dog of enormous proportions, even for a Great Dane. He was almost 2m tall when standing on his hind legs, but he had a gentle nature.
He loved the sailors and followed them everywhere, even catching the train to Cape Town with them. Despite the sailors’ efforts to conceal him, owing to his large size and the fact he insisted on lying across three seats on the train, the railway authorities soon became annoyed by him and would kick him off the trains.
This, however, did not worry Just Nuisance as he would patiently wait for the next train, or walk to the next station where he would board another train. Amused travellers would at times pay for his train fare, but eventually officials of the railway company threatened to have him put down unless he was prevented from boarding the trains or had his fare paid in full.
In response, the sailors hastily consulted their Officer Commanding, who thought of a very unusual yet brilliant plan for the Great Dane.
Thus, in 1939 Just Nuisance “volunteered” to join the Royal Navy. The Officer Commanding knew that as an enlisted sailor during the WW2, he would be entitled to free rail travel at all times and thus, his fare-dodging days were over
Just Nuisance duly commenced his duties in the Royal Navy and was issued with his own sailor’s cap. A special collar was made for him in the Naval dockyard, to which his free pass was attached. Just Nuisance’s official documents say that he was a “Bone-crusher” by trade and was given the rank of Able Seaman.
He was quartered at HMS Afrikander and even had his own bunk. A sailor was also put in charge of him to ensure that he was fed, bathed and brushed regularly. Just Nuisance was seen as much more than just a dog. He did much to boost the morale of all those involved in fighting the WW2, from the Atlantic Station and was renowned for the love and care he showed for his sailor mates.
The legendary story of the extraordinary character that was more human than dog still lives on today. Able Seaman Just Nuisance’s bronze statue, erected in 1985 stands proud and tall in Jubilee Square overlooking Simon’s Town.