There are many odd things that could happen during the war: a man carrying a medieval weapon during modern warfare, sure. A soldier outrunning his enemies on the snow while dangerously meth-high? Okay. How about a monkey crash landing on a B-17 Flying Fortress with other soldiers, partying hard, and getting drunk? It actually happened. This was the story of Tojo the monkey and how he ended up in that situation.

Emergency Landing

Sometimes, the smallest of creatures can leave the biggest impact. For example, the mosquito is probably the most deadly creature on Earth to humans because of the diseases it carries. That proved to be true again when in April 1943, as World War II raged on, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress had to make a forced landing on White’s Marsh in Garrnagoleen, near the town of Clonakilty on the south coast of Ireland. The American crew had departed Morocco and was flying to England when they ran out of gas due to an faulty radio beacon that had them heading in the wrong direction.

At that point, both parties were unsure of each other. Outside were Irish locals who were both astonished by the size of the aircraft circling above them. At the same time, they were worried that it might crash into one of their church spires. Inside were the ten crewmen who were confused that they might be landing in German-occupied Norway.

The crew as photographed in Clonakilty. (Image from

None of their worries came true, as the Flying Fortress crashlanded in a nearby marsh while the locals approaching them were among friends and were just curious about what was happening. They were more than happy to receive their American guests. Moreover, the Irish residents were delighted to find out that the American pilots came with an adorable companion: a small monkey called Tojo, who was taken from Morocco.

Irish Hospitality

According to a local businessman Thomas Tupper who had grown up with the story of Tojo and how the Americans landed in Clonakilty, the visitors were initially taken into police custody, but that “…consisted of them being in a local hotel where a party ensued for three days.” Not only did the Americans become quite local celebrities, but everyone wanted to see Tojo, too, as most locals had never seen a monkey in person.

Dean O’Donovan, whose family ran the hotel where the unplanned visitors were staying, said,

“When we discovered they were Americans, there was great excitement in the town…There was a sort of carnival atmosphere for days. People took time off work to go to see this massive plane and the soldiers were like celebrities. But none were as famous as Tojo. No one had ever seen a monkey, so he was treated very well indeed.”

Some 36 bottles of rum were consumed along with the townfolk and it was found Tojo,  seemed to develop a liking for the alcohol.