THE ‘half-brother’ of a toy dog made by an invalided Naval gunner during the Second World War has moved into Bletchley Park – in Australia.
The move means that Arthur – or ‘harfer dog’ – lives in a place with the same name as his older brother ‘DOG,’ who is on display at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes.
DOG is part of a unique and touching exhibition at the Park covering aspects of life in the home during the 1940s.
The Holley/Cornelius Collection, owned and curated by Min and Mark Cornelius, has been on display since summer 1994 and includes toys and playthings of the time, a lot of which are donated.
DOG was made by Harry Molloy for his sister Edith’s little son Brian while he was recovering from peritonitis at Sherbourne Royal Navy Hospital in Dorset.
Harry had joined the Navy in 1940, before being wounded while serving as a gunner aboard RNA tanker El Ciervo. He was transferred to Devonport Naval Hospital and eventually sent to Dorset.
Six months of treatment was followed by a collapse caused by peritonitis. After this setback, Harry’s recovery was helped by occupational therpy, including sewing.
DOG was made from a piece of patterned linen fabric which was then stuffed.
Harry was unable to return to active service being 60 per cent war disabled and was awarded the princely sum of £7 10 – equivalent to £195 today – by the tanker’s insurers. He gave the toy to Brian, who sadly passed away in childhood.
Much later, DOG was passed to The Holley/Cornelius Collection and, after a short spell on display at Eastbourne’s Stitch for Victory exhibition, he returned to Bletchley Park last year.
Some years after the war, Harry’s grandson and wife bought a plastic ‘half dog’ to Harare in Rhodesia, where Harry was living at that time. It was named Arthur and put on half watch in the garden.
Harry and his wife, Frances, moved to Australia, taking Arthur with them. The pair then returned to England, but this time Arthur stayed with family in Australia.
Their daughter Jane – along with Arthur – has now moved into a new housing estate in Perth. Called Bletchley Park.