Leeds nostalgia: dog from 1943 could play dominos

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Yes, the war was going on and the Allies were making inroads into Germany’s defences, particularly in Tunisia, North Africa, but the most startling news on April 14 was the discovery of a dog named Punch who could play dominoes. ‘He can even look blank’ ran the sub-headline.

The Labrador-sheep dog cross was owned by a Mr Gummerson.

The dog, apparently, communicated his choice domino to his owner using a series of barks. The article also revealed the dog could count, add, divide, subtract and multiply.

Going back to the war, another tale from the same day related the story of former Leeds Modern School pupil Peter MacArthur, then 21, a radio operator in the Merchant Navy, of Moor Grange, West Park.

While on his 14th trip across the Atlantic, his boat was torpedoed.

The story runs: “He dashed from his bunk to the wireless room but the main generator had been put out of action and the emergency set would not work. He then dived over the side, reached one of the lifeboats and was pulled aboard.

An American escort vessel which heard the explosion arrived and picked up all the survivors.

It is the cap belonging to one of this American rescue party which MacArthur has collected.”

The article added MacArthur was formerly employed in the engineer’s office attached to the Queen’s Hotel and that he joined the Merchant Navy in 1940. MacArthur was lucky to survive - in other news on the same day, it was reported 15 Axis ships were sunk by the British in the Mediterranean but the toll was equally high on the Allies side.