WAR HERO TORTOISE DIES...He served in the Crimean war before retiring
to a life in the countryside.Now, at the ripe old age of around 160,
Britain's likely oldest resident - Timothy the tortoise - has died.
Timothy's retirement has been a particularly long one, about a century
shuffling around the gardens of Powderham Castle in Devon, southwest
England. Tim Faulkner, general manager at Powderham, said the venerable
tortoise had passed away at some point over the weekend. He added: "He
had been quite frail lately so it was no great surprise, but we are all
very upset. He has always been part of the furniture." The pet of
several Earls of Devon, the tortoise would hibernate during the winter
in the castle's rose garden, bearing the written tag: "My name is
Timothy. I am very old - please do not pick me up." However before
joining the family in 1892 Timothy had led a particularly active, if not
heroic life for a tortoise. He was a mascot on British naval ship HMS
Queen, which bombarded Sebastopol in 1854 during the siege of the city -
now called Sevastopol, in Ukraine - as part of the Crimean War. Timothy
later saw active service in both the East Indies and China, naval
historian Captain George Cardew told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
"This entitled Timothy to both service medals. It was typical of
the tortoise's modesty that he chose not to wear them," Cardew said.
Even when retired to a stately home, Timothy had one surprise left for
his owners. An attempt to mate him in 1926 ended in failure, after which
it was established that Timothy was female. He is even rumoured to have
hit the hard stuff once - getting drunk on a mix of castor oil and