Frank Williams and Judy with her Dickin medal, May 1946

Frank Williams and Judy with her Dickin medal, May 1946

Judy, a pointer and mascot on HMS Gnat, transferred to HMS Grasshopper which was sunk in 1942 along with HMS Dragonfly in China.  Judy and the crew sailed to Sumatra in a junk, hiked across the island and were captured by the Japanese.  Judy spent the next two years in Medan Camp, generally looking after the POWs, alerting them to the approach of camp guards, snakes and abuse and living off shared rations, which could not have been very much at all.  

In 1944 Judy and the crew were rescued from the camp and sent to Singapore; the ship they were on was torpedoed and Judy rescued several men by bringing them flotsam to hold onto.  Recaptured, Frank Williams, her handler – although clearly their relationship was much greater than this, found Judy, or Judy found him, in a new camp; they were sent back to Sumatra where the POWs were used to lay railway lines.  Judy lived nearby in the jungle to avoid the not-sympathetic guards at this camp.  Eventually when the Pacific war had ended she was smuggled back to England and given her Dickin medal.

Williams and Judy went to work in East Africa in 1948 and she died in 1950.

Stephanie Whiteculture, war