Paddington is everywhere at present, including this chap outside the National Gallery and part of a Paddington Trail of bears around London. Although this bear has a link to WWII, it is another famous bear this post is actually about, who does have a connection with WW1.
That other bear is Winnie the Pooh, whose story I learnt of recently. It started with a real bear cub, purchased by Canadian Soldier (Lt Harry Colebourn) when his unit were travelling to Europe during WW1. The cub became the brigade mascot but when they were posted to France he was left at London Zoo. Here he became the star attraction for one particular boy, who also named his own teddy bear Winnie. This boy was the son of author AA Milne, and his name was Christopher Robin. Winnie (the real bear) lived at the zoo until 1934.
The story of Winnie and his friends were not published until the 1920s but toy bears were popular as mascots (good luck charms or just a reminder of home) during WW1 and one of the reason why I added my own bear to my work for "Between the Lines". He too has his own story - he was actually started many years ago when a friend at work whose hobby was making teddy bears encouraged me to make a couple of bears. Sadly she died and the bear never got finished until this year - so he too holds a mixture of happy and sad memories.