Finding Winnie


Finding Winnie is the story of the orphaned black bear cub who became the most famous bear in history. Sold for $20.00 by the trapper who killed her mother, Winnie becomes mascot to the Winnipeg veterinary corps. It is responsible for cavalry horses on the battle fields of France. Lieutenant Harry Colebourn has a deep affinity with animals. He recognises something special in the little bear cub. He determines she needs a chance. So do the troops of the Great War with whom he works.

From White River to Valcartier, Stonehenge to Regents’ Park Zoo, we journey with Winnie in ‘Finding Winnie’. This is a fascinating, true account, elaborated by the storytelling ‘conversations’ and ‘observations’. Bookwagon is proud of this historical discovery, and looks forward to sharing it with our readers.

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Finding Winnie

The story of the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

Lindsay Mattick  and Sophie Blackall


It seems that Cole wants a real story, a story about a bear. However, as his mother begins he’s a little disappointed to learn that it involves a baby. Yet this is not a real baby, but a cub that Harry Colebourn finds tied to a trapper at White River train station. Thereafter, Harry buys the cub for £20.00.
However, Harry’s stop is between Winnipeg and Valcartier, where he will take on a role as Lieutenant Harry Coloebourn of the veterinary corps. What’s more, he is charged with looking after cavalry horses, for this is WWI. It means there is no room for bear cubs…. or might there be? What’s more, it seems that Winnipeg, for that is the name Harry gives his cub, is keen to earn her place with the troops. Therefore, she eats her vegetables, takes on ‘her post’ and shares Harry’s billet. Then again, when it comes time to leave for Britain, although Harry ‘knows [he] shouldn’t‘ Winnie goes too. Despite the fact Salisbury Plain ‘rains and rains and rains‘ and she exercises ‘with vigour‘, Winnie earns her place as Mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade. However, when it comes to leaving for the front and battle, Harry must drive Winnie ‘all the way to the Big City’ and to a truly different role… Like The Bear Who Went to War, Finding Winnie is a story of another time, incredible valour and sacrifice, but also homesickness and love. Then again, it offers another story with which we are all familiar…


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