Wojtek [soldier bear] (1942–1963) usually spelled Voytek in English, was a Syrian brown bear cub found in Iran and adopted by soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped move ammunition. The name “Wojtek” or “Wojciech” is an old Slavic name that is still very common in Poland today. It derives from two words: “woj” (the stem of “wojownik”, warrior, and “wojna”, war); and “ciech”, enjoyment.
The bear became quite an attraction for soldiers and civilians alike, and soon became an unofficial mascot of all units stationed nearby. With the company he moved to Iraq and then through Syria, Palestine and Egypt.
As one of the officially enlisted "soldiers" of the company, he lived with the other men in their tents or in a special wooden crate, which was transported by truck. According to numerous accounts, during the Battle of Monte Cassino, Wojtek helped his friends by transporting ammunition – never dropping a single crate.