Judy the WWII POW Dog
A white and liver colored, purebred English pointer named Judy was stranded alongside a crew on a tiny South China Sea island with no food or water. Judy led the men to an underground spring with fresh water in it, saving their lives after digging to reach it. The men found a way to commandeer a Chinese junk ship and headed to Sumatra where they hiked 200 miles with Judy in tow – right into a Japanese village.
The soldiers and Judy found their way to a POW camp in Medan, Indonesia, called Gloerger and this is where Judy met her human companion, Frank Williams. After seeing that Judy was having to scrounge for food, including eating bugs and maggots, Frank offered the pooch his entire bowl of rice. When Judy finished eating, she had a nap at Frank’s feet and from then on the two were inseparable.
Judy would routinely protect Frank and the other prisoners from violence, making her a friend and favorite of the prisoners and an enemy of the guards. Judy was fearless, she understood who was good and who was bad. When guards beat prisoners, she would come to their aid, covering them with her body and snarling. Sadly, the guards would just turn their aggression to her, but she kept defending the prisoners anyway.
In an effort to keep Judy safe, Wiliams devised a plan to get her labeled as an official POW. After the camp’s leader had his fill of alcohol, Williams approached him with the proposition that he give the dog a POW ID and because he was all sauced up, the leader agreed and Judy became POW 81A. The distinction of official POW saved her from the guards, but Judy was a fighter. She would routinely bark at tigers and other animals in the jungle, even picking and surviving a fight with a freaking crocodile.
Judy and the other POW’s were eventually released from the camp, but when they boarded The S.S. Van Warwick, sadly, the ship was sunk and this is where Judy once again saved lives. She rescued numerous men, allowing them to hold on to her while she swam them to floating pieces of the wreckage. Judy was recaptured by the Japanese and held until the end of the war in 1945.
Judy almost didn’t make it out though. The ship they were scheduled to be taken back to Britain on had expressly stated that they did not allow animals onboard. Williams went aboard and created a distraction so that the other soldiers could sneak Judy onto the ship. The pair finally made it home where Judy was awarded with The Dickin Medal, which was reserved for wartime service animals.
Sadly in 1950, at the age of 13, Judy passed away from cancer. When asked about his time in the camps with Judy, Williams said that she gave him a reason to live, that looking into her eyes made him wonder what would happen to her if he died.