Unsinkable Sam was a ship’s cat during WWII, who survived the sinking of three different war ships.

  • Sam was initially owned by a crewman on the German battleship named Bismark
  • The Bismark sank on May 27, 1941, and on 118 of its 2,200 crew members survived
  • Sam was found floating on a board and was rescued by the HMS Cossack
  • On October 24, 1941, the HMS Cossack was hit with a torpedo and the crew had to transfer to another ship
  • Sam was transferred to the aircraft carrier the HMS Ark Royal
  • The HMS Ark Royal was torpedoed on November 14, 1941
  • Sam survived each sinking, retired from ship work, and died of normal causes in 1955
  • He has gone down in history as one famous cat


“BIONs” – short for Believe It or Not – is the word we use at Ripley’s to refer to anything that is unbelievable and worthy to become part of Ripley’s lore and collection.