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The Wiltshire Regiment - Mascot’s Dog Collar, 1909
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The Wiltshire Regiment - Mascot’s Dog Collar, 1909

Measurements: Diameter: 18.5cm (7.5in)



Brass. The collar fitted with regimental badges and a plaque inscribed ‘BRUCE / Regimental Pet /4th Wiltshire Regt / This Collar was Presented by Lt Col The Earl of Radnor June 1909.’

Bruce (b.1906), a pedigree St. Bernard who stood over three foot at the shoulder, was the mascot of the 4th Battalion, The Wiltshire Regiment, before the First World War. Bruce’s mother was ‘Lady Cora’, a noted champion show dog. Bruce was enlisted as an aid to local recruitment following the loss of the Trowbridge brass band under the reorganisation of the volunteer reserve in 1908.  As a member of the Territorial Force, Bruce paraded with the Swindon based Fifes and Drums at the annual church parade of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry and the Trowbridge Company in September 1909 wearing the brass collar presented to him by the commanding officer Lord Radnor during the battalion’s annual camp on Salisbury Plain. That afternoon in the town’s park Bruce attracted much attention collecting thirty shillings for the Cottage Hospital. Unfortunately the sight of ‘Micky’, who lived at the railway station, collecting for the Great Western Railway Widows and Orphans, sparked an uncontrollable bout of professional rivalry that resulted in what the ‘Wiltshire Times’ described as a ‘battle royal’. Reportedly Bruce’s performance did nothing to deter several recruits joining the Trowbridge detachment that day. Bruce was also the star of a picture postcard on which he is shown recumbent yet alert on a large Union Jack overprinted with the warning ‘Touch it if you dare’.

Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 6th Earl of Radnor, C.I.E., C.B.E., T.D., (1868-1930) styled Viscount Folkestone from 1889 to 1900, was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served as the Member of Parliament for the Wilton Division of Wiltshire until succeeding his father’s earldom in 1900. Away from political life, he was an officer in 4th (Volunteer) Battalion Wiltshire Regiment and saw active service during the Second Boer War. In 1900 he fell dangerously ill at Bloemfontein and was invalided home. He was promoted to the command of the 4th Battalion in the years that followed. On the outbreak of the First World War, the 4th Battalion concentrated at Trowbridge and spawned 1st/4th, 2nd/4th and 3rd/4th Battalions. Radnor took the the 1st/4th to India in October 1914 and subsequently became Brigadier-General commanding the Dehra Dun Brigade.