Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:47 UK

North Yorkshire goat becomes official squadron mascot

Jeffery and Squadron Leader Jeff Metcalfe
Jeffers is the squadron's first official mascot for 65 years

A goat at a farming museum in North Yorkshire has become the official mascot of an RAF squadron.

Jeffery the Toggenberg goat is now an honorary member of 609 (West Riding) Squadron, based at RAF Leeming.

His appointment is steeped in tradition, as the squadron's mascot during World War II was a goat of the same breed.

Jeffery, or "Jeffers" as he has been nicknamed by personnel, is said to be delighted with his new role.

The goat, who lives at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming near York, now has his own collar displaying his rank tabs of officer cadet.

We got the boss along and asked Jeffers a few pertinent questions, although I think he was more interested in the packet of mints he had
Flt Lt Alfie Hall

He will receive a salute from non-commissioned officers at the auxiliary RAF regiment and there are plans to put a sign above his living quarters acknowledging his status.

Jeffery will now have the chance to be promoted to pilot officer at his first engagement, the squadron's association reunion in June.

He was appointed after Flt Lt Alfie Hall saw a picture of Jeffery on a museum leaflet.

He was struck by the animal's "uncanny resemblance", to William de Goat, who was taken on as the squadron's mascot during World War II after being donated by a pub landlady.

"We hadn't had a proper mascot since 1945 and I thought Jeffers could be a candidate so I went to the museum to see if he was eligible," Flt Lt Hall told BBC News.

William de Goat
Jeffers is following in the hoofsteps of William de Goat

"We got the boss along and asked Jeffers a few pertinent questions, although I think he was more interested in the packet of mints he had."

Flt Lt Hill said the squadron was pleased with its new recruit.

"Whatever we achieve is nothing compared to the people who have gone before us.

"They were brave men and this is our way of keeping their tradition alive."

He said the squadron's new mascot had generally been been well-behaved.

"There was an incident where he was provoked by another goat at the farm, but we believe it was a proportional use of force."

David Thirlwall, site manager at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming, said he was "pleased and proud" for Jeffery.

"We are cock-a-hoop about it. I think Jeffery's delighted too."



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