The search is on for a home for a tortoise rescued nearly a century ago by a British solider amid the bloody Battle of Gallipoli.
Blake the tortoise is approaching his 100th birthday. He was plucked from the Turkish sands during one of World War I’s costliest battles – nearly 500,000 casualties in all – and smuggled back to Great Britain in a backpack.
Blake outlived the soldier, now only remembered by the name Mr. Marris, by some three decades, and was eventually passed on to a Norfolk, England, tortoise breeder, Marion Skinner, in the 1980s, according to The Telegraph.
Blake is Skinner’s last tortoise, and she’s put him up for adoption because she has back problems and is struggling to care for him.
Blake, 67, said she would love to see Blake returned to Turkey and the beaches where he was scooped to safety amid a rain of artillery shells 98 years ago.
“If he could go back to Turkey I am sure he would love it. If there’s anybody in Gallipoli who could take him that would be perfect,” she told The Telegraph. “He always loved the sunshine and the warmth of the green house so I am certain he would enjoy being back in his natural environment. It would be an incredible ending to his incredible story.”