No Better Friend: The Story of a Man and Dog and their journey through World War II

No Better Friend: The Story of a Man and Dog and their journey through World War II

Mackenzie Owens, Reporter

No Better Friend: A Man, a Dog, and Their Incredible True Story of Friendship and Survival in World War II is a biography about the journey of Frank Williams, a radarman in Britain’s Royal Air Force, and Judy, a purebred pointer.

No Better Friend is a book full of themes of friendship, survival, and mystery. Throughout most of the war, Frank Williams and Judy spent their time in captivity of the Japanese. Their story didn’t start out so bad though. 

Judy was born in February of 1936 and was adopted by sailors from the HMS Gnat, a British gunboat. In 1938, she was transferred to a larger gunboat, the Grasshopper. In November of 1939, Judy and the Grasshopper traveled to the British Naval base in Singapore, while Frank Williams and his Royal Air Force radar unit also arrived in Singapore. Although Judy and Frank are both found in Singapore at this time, they still haven’t met. Before Judy and Frank met, Japanese forces sunk many boats off of Singapore, including the two boats that carried Frank and Judy. Seeking rescue, Frank and Judy traveled separately across Sumatra.

On March 17, 1942, Frank and Judy were both captured by the Japanese and officially became prisoners of war. The two were stationed at Gloegoer POW camp in Sumatra. Frank and Judy didn’t meet at the camp until April of 1942. Frank spent most of his time with Judy at the camp because they weren’t given much work. At this camp, they weren’t fed a lot, so Frank would share his food with Judy so she could live to see the end of the war, too. During all this free time, Frank would teach Judy tricks using whistles and snaps to keep her safe from the Japanese. 

Judy wasn’t officially a prisoner at war until 1943. Frank was able to get the Japanese in charge to make Judy a prisoner to ensure that she had more safety. With Judy now as a prisoner, Frank wouldn’t have to make her hide from danger all the time. 

In June of 1944, Judy and Frank were transferred to another camp by boat. While stuffed aboard the Van Waerwijck, it was sunk by a submarine firing torpedoes at them. Judy and Frank were separated, but were later reunited at the camp. Although they had just moved to this new camp, they didn’t stay long.

Shortly after arriving at this camp, they were transferred back to Sumatra to build railways for the Japanese. The Japanese wanted these railways to connect the cities, but the prisoners had to build the railways through the dangerous jungle. Judy was constantly in danger, and escaped it many times along her journey with the help from Frank. 

A year after Frank and Judy arrived back at Sumatra to build railways, the war ended when Japan surrendered. Frank and Judy were officially free from the war! Shortly after they were liberated from the Japanese, Frank and Just arrived in England. After arriving in England, Judy was quarantined for six months due to England protocol, while Frank went home to his family until Judy could be released. Judy was given back to Frank in April of 1946 and was awarded the Dickin Medal, the highest award that can be given to animals while serving in military conflict. 

For a while, Frank and Judy stayed in England, but soon left for Africa to work on the government’s Groundnut Scheme. Two years after arriving in Africa, Judy unfortunately passed away at the age of fourteen, and she was buried in Africa close to Franks hut. Frank made her a headstone out of white marble he found on the land and made a plaque about her to put on her headstone in her memory. 

Frank continued to live in Africa after Judy’s passing where he met an American named Doris. Doris and Frank moved back to England where they got married and started a family. Although Frank wasn’t known to be an animal lover, it was evident that he could calm and care for any animal; he could even walk a skunk, a story told by his children. 

Unfortunately, Frank passed away, one month after his eighty-fourth birthday. Pictures of Judy and Frank were shown at his funeral. On Frank’s memorial website, his second son David wrote, “The only thing that helps me to overcome my grief is the knowledge that you are strolling leisurely along the warm sands of some heavenly beach . . . laughing at Judy, while she valiantly defends the shoreline from yet another impending wave.” 

Frank lived for fifty-three years after Judy passed away. He never again owned a dog after Judy.

This story of Frank and Judy is very inspirational to people of all ages. Even in captivity, Frank made it his mission to never leave Judy behind and to always keep her safe from any danger. Frank and Judy showed others that even in the worst times, you can still love and care for others. Frank and Judy kept each other alive and lived for one another. Frank and Judy have shown others that all it takes is love, trust, faith, and perseverance to accomplish anything.

Frank Williams and Judy: