Military dogs are an important part of a unit. They keep the soldiers safe on a daily basis. However, one English Pointer set the bar pretty high making a tough standard for other dogs to achieve.
The Royal Navy’s mascot, Judy, was assigned to the HMS Grasshopper. She and several of the ship’s crew members made it through enemy attacks and onto land.
In February 1942, she and the other survivors were captured and taken to a Japanese Prisoner of War camp. It was at Rengat in the jungles of Sumatra.
She was very important to the men. Before their capture, she helped them to find potable water by sniffing it out.
On the way to the prison, they kept her covered underneath a rice stack as they were transferred to a camp in Medan. In August of 1942, she was showing the wear and tear of capture.
She was emaciated, with her ribs showing through. Though she was in pain, she made sure to comfort the prisoners and be their friend. She also stood up for the men whenever the guards came to beat or interrogate them.
A New Master
Leading Aircraftsman Frank Williams became Judy’s master as he fed her part of his rice, and she remained by his side. He even got her registered as a POW.
When they were moved to a new camp, Captain Nishi ordered that Judy be left behind. However, Frank put Judy in a sack and put her over his shoulder.
They were on the Van Warwyck and were struck by a torpedo, giving them a chance to escape onto the waters. In the escape, Frank lost track of Judy.
He tried to have her dropped into the ocean and left. He was over-ruled by Colonel Banno.
Camp to Freedom
Frank kept her safe with him as they were transferred to as he worked to lay 3,000 miles of railway track. In August of 1945, Victory was achieved over Japan, and the prisoners were taken to Singapore.
However, one problem remained. No dogs were allowed on the SS Antenor. After three days, she was free to wander the decks for the remainder of the 10-week journey.
Judy was given the PDSA Dickin Medal, and her bark was broadcast with the BBC Victory Day Celebrations. In 1950, she was laid to rest with a plaque listing her achievements for all to see, Judy POW 81A.