London: A Greyhound, owned by Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolph Hess, took part in dog races almost every weekend in Wales during the war, a historian has revealed.
Dewi Bowen, a Welsh historian, has said that Nimrod, the dog – a regular at Penydarren Park – was given to Hess after he took his crazy flight to the UK in 1941 in a bid to sue for peace with Winston Churchill.
Hess spent most of his time as a Prisoner of war confined to Maindiff Court Military Hospital in Abergavenny.
Bowen, 85, said that Nimrod was given to him in a bid to keep his mind off of committing suicide.
“Almost every Saturday afternoon during the Second World War a private soldier with a greyhound traveled down from Abergavenny to Merthyr Tydfil by train and dropped off at Cefn Coed to quench his thirst at the Railway Inn,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“He claimed the greyhound that answered to his German name – Nimrod – was owned by Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s former deputy, who was in captivity. Hess walked the surrounding hills – the Sugar Loaf was one of his favourite rendezvous – under military guard and probably with his greyhound.
“Regular customers at the inn would speak of this. The soldier exercised Rudolf Hess’s greyhound en route for the Saturday evening greyhound racing at Penydarren Park in Merthyr Tydfil,” he said.
Historian and Merthyr Tydfil librarian, Carolyn Jacob, said that even she had heard the tale of the Nazi-owned greyhound.
“It is a common local legend in Cefn Coed and was remembered by quite a few people. No-one has ever challenged the greyhound story but only questioned whether the prisoner in Abergavenny was the real Hess or a double. The British government never tried to hide the fact that Hess was being detained in Abergavenny,” she said.
“Indeed when he first arrived, the staff of the hospital actually lined up in a formal reception to meet him and the news did feature in many of the national papers of the time. The fact that Hess was moved amid virtual fanfare to Abergavenny makes it seem that this was really a case of drawing attention to a double.
“There was certainly no attempt to play down, or keep low profile, his presence in the quiet Welsh border town. But he never visited Merthyr Tydfil – only his greyhound did. It was the source of many jokes in Cefn Coed at the time and certainly local people do not think it was just a double,” she added.
Hess killed himself in Spandau Prison in West Berlin in 1987, he was the sole member of the Nazi hierarchy sentenced at Nuremberg, who was still serving his life sentence for war crimes.
History does not record when the greyhound Nimrod passed away.