Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Read more...
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Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair's relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own.
Judy's devotion to those she was interned with was matched by their love for her, which helped keep the men and their dog alive despite the ever-present threat of death by disease or the rifles of the guards. At one point, deep in despair and starvation, Frank contemplated killing himself and the dog to prevent either from watching the other die. But both were rescued, and Judy spent the rest of her life with Frank. She became the war's only official canine POW, and after she died at age fourteen, Frank couldn't bring himself to ever have another dog. Their story--of an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances--is one of the great undiscovered sagas of World War II.
An inseparable pair's harrowing journey
Clearly it’s not just cats that have nine lives. In Robert Weintraub’s exceptionally well researched and engaging No Better Friend, we meet Judy, a purebred English pointer and hero of World War II.
Born in Shanghai in 1936, Judy was adopted as a mascot by the British Royal Navy and had already survived a ship’s sinking and a jungle march before encountering 23-year-old Royal Air Force technician Frank Williams. The two met in 1942 in a Japanese POW camp in Sumatra. After another prisoner who’d been slipping scraps to Judy died, Williams made a life-changing decision: He gave the dog his entire ration, beginning an inspiring partnership.
To protect Judy from being killed and eaten by guards, Frank convinced the camp commander to give the pointer official POW status. That paper was to save Judy’s life more than once.
Through luck, gumption and sheer force of will, Frank managed to keep himself and his dog alive in camp, on a harrowing march and even after a torpedo attack on a prisoner transport ship. And as for regulations that no animals would be allowed on the troopship returning survivors to England when the war ended, well, you can just imagine what this remarkable pair of friends did about that.
No Better Friend is an inspiring story, and one that both dog lovers and history buffs will embrace.