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‘Hippy’ and Sir Nevile Henderson in the war…

2017 November 20

Hippy and Nevile sit inside!

When war was declared  Sir Nevile Henderson British Ambassador in Germany returned home . In the Daily Mirror of the 9th September 1939 Hippy, his tiny dog called a Dachsbracke was returning home held by a member of staff.

For propaganda purposes Hippy  was portrayed as a daschund, rather than part of a new breed of tracking dog developed in Southern Austria in the late nineteenth century. Hippy was taken into quarantine in West Hackwood for six months .

When Henderson collected him in March 1940 he described the dog’s state: “His resilience and buoyancy were not there.” Unfortunately Hippy died shortly after from jaundice with Henderson expressing upon his life that “None can ever take his place and I can hardly conceive of another life unless Hippy be waiting there to share it with me.” Within a short timescale Henderson wrote his book Hippy. In memoriam The Story of  a Dog and he himself died in 1942.

Undertaking his account in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Peter Neville  described Henderson as a controversial figure not least because of not repenting his own support of appeasement and because of his “eccentric” study of Hippy.

Nevertheless Henderson recently occurs in Robert Harris’ new book Munich – with no reference to Hippy –  whereas oddly Henderson has been described in the text by Chamberlain to the Cabinet as “the commonest little dog you ever saw.”  

At least Henderson and Hippy get discussed in The Great Cat and Dog Massacre but in my account I am more keen on comparing them with Ribbentrop as German ambassador in Britain and his own exploited Chow dog, Baerchen…

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