Bow wow P.O.W

01:52, Feb 01 2013
POW pup
BRAVE PUP: Judy the dog was made into an official prisoner of war during World War II.

A dog who became an official prisoner of war after her ship was torpedoed by the Japanese was later awarded a medal for helping other prisoners.

Incredibly, Judy survived another torpedo attack, went missing but was again reunited with her master, another POW.

The English pointer is one of many four-legged Navy mascots featuring in a Devonport exhibition this weekend.

The Mates and Mascots exhibition at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum tells stories of the many beloved pets who made their homes on navy ships up until the 1970s.

Bears, pythons, goats, snakes, cats and dogs were once welcome stowaways until a Royal Navy decree in 1975 banned them for health and safety reasons.

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum educator Anna Hodson says her favourite tale uncovered through interviews with navy veterans and other research is that of Judy.

The pure-bred English pointer was one of the first to receive the animal's version of the Victoria Cross, the Dickin Medal, for her service to prisoners of war during World War II.

Judy served as a mascot on the HMS Grasshopper when it was torpedoed in 1942. She escaped overboard with 75 crew members before being captured by the Japanese and transferred to a prison camp in Indonesia.

Prisoner of war Frank Williams adopted Judy who, in return for a share of his daily rations, would alert prisoners to scorpions, snakes and approaching guards.

Judy would bark and bite to distract the guards, giving the prisoners much-needed reprieve from torture.

Mr Williams later managed to convince a drunk commandant to make Judy an official prisoner of war.

While being transferred to Singapore with other prisoners their ship was torpedoed and Mr Williams pushed Judy through a porthole to safety.

Mr Williams was recaptured and taken to a new prison camp thinking he had lost her forever.

Remarkably Judy showed up at the camp shortly afterwards and was reunited with Mr Williams. The pair remained together long after the war ended until Judy died, aged 13.

This and many more previously untold stories will be on show this Saturday.

● Pet Day is also being held at the museum this Saturday from 11am to 4pm to raise money for the SPCA.

An SPCA pet adoption stand will be set up alongside craft stalls, face-painting and other entertainment. Pets are welcome but must be on the appropriate restraints. Entry is free but gold coin donations to the SPCA are appreciated.

Go to for more information about the exhibition.


Monkey Navy
UNLIKELY MASCOT: A navy rating from HMS New Zealand with a monkey.