Medal awarded to dog prisoner of war goes on public display

A medaL awarded to the only dog to be officially registered as a Second World War prisoner went on public display for the first time yesterday.

Judy, a mascot on board a torpedoed Royal Navy vessel, helped dozens of men survive a Japanese prisoner camp after she was captured alongside marooned members of the ship's crew in 1942.

A British airman in the Sumatran camp, Frank Williams, befriended the pedigree pointer and later persuaded Japanese officers to register her as a prisoner of war.

She survived gunshot wounds and alligator bites as well as helping her fellow PoWs to distract camp guards.

Mr Williams later smuggled the faithful canine onto a ship to Liverpool after the Japanese surrender in 1945.

The PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) Dickin Medal – the "animal Victoria Cross" – was presented to Judy in 1946. She died four years later.

Yesterday relatives of Mr Williams gave the medal, and Judy's collar, to the Imperial War Museum in London.

Mr Williams's widow Doris said: "Although I never knew Judy, she always felt like a member of our family who undoubtedly saved my husband's life and those of his fellow prisoners in the war.

"It was Frank's wish for Judy's medal and collar to return to PDSA before being presented to the Imperial War Museum, where her courage and devotion to duty will be remembered."