There were instances in our lives, at least once, when we avoided certain dangers, and we could consider ourselves lucky. That was more true to a German sailor named Sam who escaped death not only once or twice but thrice. The fact that he’s a cat makes it more impressive.


Bismarck, built for the Nazi’s Kriegsmarine, was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships. It measured 241 meters in length and weighed 41,700 tons, and when it slipped past the Royal Navy once into the North Atlantic, was relentlessly pursued until it was destroyed.

Sam was aboard Bismarck with his German crewman on May 18, 1941, when they set sail for Operation Rheinübung. An operation aimed to block Allied shipping to the United Kingdom. After a ferocious battle, Bismarck sank, and among its 2,100 crew, only 115 survived. Sam was seen after a few hours, floating on a wooden board. An HMS Cossack crew picked him from the water and called him Oscar.

HMS Cossack

Sam, now called Oscar, was officially adopted by HMS Cossack, the UK Tribal-class destroyer who helped chase and sink his previous ride. He had been with Cossack for a couple of months as it carried out its duties convoying in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic.