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The Hero Dog Who Was a Prisoner of War

The Hero Dog Who Was a Prisoner of War

April 3, 2023

Did you know that a dog was declared a prisoner of war and detained by enemies during World War II? During WWII, there was an English pointer dog named Judy who become a prisoner of war and companion to the British military while they were trapped.

Judy the Dog was born somewhere near Shanghai, China. In China, she met the crew of the Royal Navy gunship HMS Gnat. That sailors of the ship fell in love with her and decided to adopt her and train her. The crew discovered her skills and used her to alert them when she saw enemy ships. This helped prepare them for attacks.

Judy was then transferred to the HMS Grasshopper. Very soon after her transfer, the Grasshopper was torpedoed by the Japanese, and the whole crew was forced to take refuge on a nearby island. Judy helped the sailors survive by finding water on the island. They were able to survive there for a while.

Eventually, all crew (including Judy) were overtaken by the Japanese, and everyone on board became a prisoner of war. While imprisoned, Judy would bark at the Japanese military when they hit or punished the British soldiers. She did her best to protect her friends and fellow prisoners even when she was beat in their place.

Judy became the only animal to be registered as a prisoner of war thanks to Frank Williams, a British soldier. In 1941, the POW soldiers were supposed to be transferred to Singapore, but they were attacked in route. Williams was captured and taken to another prison, but Judy managed to escape with several other soldiers. She helped save several soldiers by dragging them to shore.

Judy later reunited with Williams one day when he was walking around the camp where he was held. She stayed with him at his camp and served as a companion during his capture. Their bond helped save his life. They were eventually liberated together at the end of the war, and Judy was brought to Great Britain.

In Great Britain, Judy was celebrated as a hero. She was awarded the PDSA Dickin Medal for being a war hero. She went on to live with Williams for the rest of her life. Together, they found friendship and peace after a long and difficult war.  

If you want to read more about Judy’s incredible life and all her amazing adventures, check out Damien Lewis’s book Judy: A Dog in a Million. In this fascinating book, you will follow Judy on her journey from China to warship to war camp and finally to a happy home with Frank Williams.

Another good book to check out is No Better Friend by Robert Weintraub. This book chronicles the remarkable friendship between Judy and Williams and how she was able to save so many lives. Their unbreakable bond is one of the lesser-known stories of World War II.

If you’re interested in learning more about World War II, or some of the other unsung heroes of the era, explore MCPL’s many online resources related to world history.

Meghan B.
Electronic Resources Librarian


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