Professor Bamfield's Rare-Breed Pigs
Tamworth Pigs
oink oink in French

The Tamworth Two and Tirpitz:

Two five-months old, Tamworth pigs escaped from Newman's abattoir, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, on 8 January 1998, whilst being unloaded from a lorry. Brother and sister, the boar and the gilt, escaped by squeezing through a fence, swimming across the River Avon, and taking refuge for a time in nearby gardens.

The Tamworth Two incident was first reported by Wendy Best in the Western Daily Press as a light-hearted tale. The headline ran

'Three little piggies went to market, but two went on the run, they saved their bacon with a swim in the Avon and now the farmer's looking glum...'

Extract from the Times - Click to open up larger PDF fileAs soon as this article appeared, the Daily Mail sent a reporter out to Malmesbury (arriving the next day). Not to be outdone, ITV put up a reporter in a helicopter, hovering over the small rural town in the hope of sighting the pigs. In a couple of days, the Daily Mail had 10 reporters covering this story.

The Tamworth Two, as they were soon called, had moved from the gardens near the Avon to a dense wooded thicket on the side of Tetbury Hill. The story became a massive media event. Malmesbury was full of satellite trucks blocking Tetbury Hill and the High Street. The pubs were packed with journalists and the hotels were fully booked. There were two helicopters constantly flying over the town for the next few days.

The Tamworth OneThe owner of the thicket, Mr Carl Saddler, said, "They are welcome to stay here as long as they want. It's the perfect place for pigs and I'd be happy for them to root out some of this undergrowth."

The town had not seen this level of excitement since King Alfred the Great fought Danish and Norwegian armies a thousand years before. Journalists came from as far away as Japan and North America, with TV camera people based in the town as the story unfolded. The pigs were given names, 'Butch' and 'Sundance'.

Wiltshire Police spokesman PC Bull, stated "These are obviously cunning and devious animals and it appears to be a well-planned escape." (ST, 18.1.98, p.13)

A feature of the story was the number of oddball characters with self-proclaimed 'tracking skills' who turned up to capture the two pigs. All to no avail. Another point of interest was the number of comments made in the media about the fact that the pigs 'might die' on Tetbury Hill without food. This ignored the fact that thick wooded areas are a pig's natural territory!

Tamworth TwoThey lived on Tetbury Hill for a week, but on the 15th January they were discovered foraging in the garden of Harold and Mary Clarke. The gilt was caught. The boar was not caught until the following day after being tracked down by someone assisted by his Springer spaniels.

The pigs' owner, Mr Arnoldo Dijulio, a council roadsweeper, who had announced he was keen to send the pigs for slaughter, sold the Tamworth Two to the Daily Mail for a sum believed to be adjacent to 15,000. They were sent to an animal sanctuary in Kent.

This story has a happy ending. Ten years on, they are still very much alive.

Tirpitz

During the First World War (March 1915), the German naval vessel SMS Dresden was trapped by two British ships off the coast of Chile. The crew set charges and scuttled the ship. They escaped by boat, but left on board the ship's pig. It was quite common for ships to carry several livestock to provide fresh meat and eggs. Presumably this was one of these.

TirpitzSMS Dresden sunk, but an hour later the pig was spotted swimming near HMS Glasgow. The pig was rescued by the Glasgow's crew and named 'Tirpitz', after the German Admiral. After all, she had stuck to her station beyond the call of duty, when all the other officers and men had deserted the ship. The pig was adopted by cruiser as its official mascot.

Tirpitz served in this role for a year, before being transferred to the Whale Island Gunnery School, Portsmouth.

Pigs on the Wing

'Pigs on the Wing' is the title of an important song on the Pink Floyd Animals Album. Apparently it was a written by Roger Waters as a declaration of love to his wife. Inflatable pigs are standard props in their shows and a forty-foot helium-filled balloon flown by them in December 1976 over Battersea Power Station became a danger to air traffic after it broke free, pursued by a police helicopter (recalled to base when it reached 5,000 feet). Airline pilots were warned about the potential danger of colliding with a pink flying pig, and air traffic control lost contact at 18,000 feet. The pig came to earth undamaged in a field.

If you want to see the first attempt to launch the pig, it can be found here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmCKvY684WI WARNING. This all has absolutely nothing at all to do with any rare breed of pigs.

Roger Waters seems no more careful with his flying pigs than before. His latest experience in April 2008 was to lose his flying pig urging people to 'Vote Democrat/Obama'.


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