• Simon Biggs

Private Pagett USMC


'Devil Dogs'

According to Marine Corps tradition, German soldiers facing the Marines at Belleau Wood called them teufelhunden. These were the devil dogs of Bavarian folklore - vicious, ferocious, and tenacious. Shortly thereafter, a Marine recruiting poster depicted a dachshund, wearing an Iron Cross and a spiked helmet, fleeing an English bulldog wearing the eagle, globe and anchor. A tradition was born. Although an “unofficial mascot,” the first bulldog to “serve” in the United States Marine Corps was King Bulwark. Renamed Jiggs, he was enlisted on 14 October 1922 for the “term of life.” Enlistment papers were signed by Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. Although he began his career as a private, Jiggs was quickly promoted to the rank of sergeant major. His death at the age of four was mourned throughout the Corps. His body lay in a satin-lined casket in a hangar on Marine Corps Base Quantico until he was buried with military honors.

(National Museum of the Marines Corps)

The following extracts are taken from an article by Brigadier General Dion Williams, USMC, entitled "PRIVATE PAGETT" - US Marine, which appeared in the Marine Corps gazette of September 1927

All over America the press chronicled the death of "Sergeant Major Jiggs" & many friends of the Corps voiced their regret when they heard of his untimely death. One of these friends Mr Allan Cedric Mowbray, an Englishman residing in Boston, Mass, was so impressed with the circumstances of the case that he addressed a letter to the General of the Royal Marines in England Lieut General L.S.T. Halliday V.C., C.B Adjutant General Royal Marines and it was from this letter that the idea to present the USMC with Private Pagett was born.

Private Padgett presented by Lt.General L.S.T. Halliday, Royal Marines. Padgett appears here in a Royal Marines cover.

Upon hearing the news that "Sergeant Major Jiggs" had passed away Lieut General L.S.T. Halliday V.C., C.B., Adjutant General Royal Marines decided to give the USMC a British Bulldog by the name of Private Pagett.

From Commodore Hartley, Commander of America's greatest passenger ship of its time, the Leviathan, it was learned that "Private Pagett" was escorted aboard the Leviathan by a detachment of Royal Marines from Eastney Barracks Portsmouth & turned over to the care of the Commodore with appropriate ceremonies. During the passage the distinguished passenger fared well & was the centre of interest for the host of passengers that filled the great ship to capacity. On June 27th 1927, the Leviathan arrived at Ney York where, "Private Pagett" was met by the representatives of the US Marine Corps, headed by Major J. C. Fegan, Athletic Officer of the Corps. These representatives consisted of officers of the regular service & the Reserves & a detachment of enlisted men from Brooklyn Barracks. Commodore Hartley turned "Pagett" over to Major Fegan with a few well chosen remarks & he soon boarded a train for the journey to Washington, where on the following day he reported at the Major General Commandant & paid a call upon the Secretary of the Navy. The representative of the press were present & the news of the noted dog's arrival was published throughout the country.

Several rolls of moving picture films were made depicting the arrival of "Private Pagett" at New York & Washington, and these together with a collection of clippings from the press recounting the incidents of his reception & induction into the US Marine Corps were forwarded to the Adjutant General of the Royal Marines Lieut General L.S.T. Halliday V.C., C.B.

Private Pagett is undoubtedly one of the finest dogs of his class in the world & his fine points are admired by all the dog fanciers & dog lovers who have seen him. He stands nineteen inches high & at present weighs just an even sixty pounds without an ounce of superfluous flesh, in fine form & fettle he is ready for a fight or a frolic & has taken his station at Quantico where he will accompany the Marine Corps Football Team upon its Fall Tour of 1927 & help to cheer them on to victory. Private Pagett also accompanies the Marine Corps Baseball team. No other animal has the traditional courage, bravery, tenacity of purpose, combined with true loyalty, which form the characteristics of the British Bulldog, & this makes "Private Pagett" a fitting mascot for the United States Marines. The Corps esteems him highly for his fine lineage & sterling qualities, but more on account of the fact that he comes to them from another famous Corps of Marines, whose duties are similar, whose language is the same, & whose aspirations & espirit are marked by the same loyalty to flag & country & devotion to the service.The whole Marine Corps will soon become acquainted with "Private Pagett" & will find him a fitting successor to the late lamented "Sergeant Major Jiggs" who won so many friends in & out of service during his 5 years service with the Marines.

Private Padgett personnel file

PRIVATE PADGETT' HAS FUN IN CAPITAL - NY Times June 30, 1927

New Marine Mascot Bowls Over Major Just for Sport and Has His Afternoon Tea. MEETS GEN. LEJEUNE TODAY But He Will Not Meet "Sergeant Major Jiggs II" for Fear of the Consequences.

WASHINGTON, June 29. — 'Private Padgett," the pedigreed English bulldog presented to the American marines by the royal marines of Great Britain, which arrived on the Leviathan yesterday, reached Washington this morning in a playful mood and will be officially received with full military honors tomorrow by Major Gen. John A. Lejeune, commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Generals of his staff.

NY Times TimesMachine

See it Mapped here: RM a Geo History


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