Animal and Human Friendships Built in War

»»Animal and Human Friendships Built in War

Simpson and his Donkey.

Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in 1892 at South Shields in the North-East of England. As a child during his summer holidays, he used to work as a donkey-lad on the Sands of South Shields. He had a great affinity with animals and in particular donkeys. He joined the British Merchant Navy but deserted whilst in port in Australia after learning of the war with Germany. After deserting, he traveled around Australia working in a variety of different jobs, before enlisted in the Australian Army. Concerned that as a deserter he might not be accepted, he dropped the Kirkpatrick from his name and simply enlisted as John Simpson. In Perth Western Australia, on the  23rd of August, Jack was accepted as a Field Ambulance Stretcher-bearer.

On the 25th of April, along with the rest of the Australian and New Zealand contingent, Simpson landed at Anzac Cove. The soldiers had landed on the wrong beach and faced impossibly savage terrain. During the morning hours of April the 26th,  Simpson was carrying casualties back to the beach over his shoulder when he suddenly saw a donkey. Having experience with donkeys, Simpson was able to befriend the animal. Having quickly run out of stretchers, Simpson named the donkey Duffy and used the animal to help carry the injured soldiers. Simpson was cheerful while he searched to retrieve the injured. Often crawling on his belly to reach the injured men, often dragging the soldiers some distance before placing them upon Duffy’s back and towards safety. Often exposing themselves to enemy fire, Simpson and Duffy worked day and night carrying the wounded from the head of Monash Valley down Shrapnel Gully to the safety of the beach. For 24 amazing days Simpson and Duffy saved over 300 men. However on the 19th of May, Duffy returned to the beach with a soldier on his back but without Simpson. Simpson had been shot through his heart and killed while saving the soldier, he was 22 years old. The donkey somehow knew that even though his friend was dead, Simpson would have wanted him to take the injured man to safety. Simpson and his donkey soon became legends of Australian history.  

Judy the Dog

Judy the dog was a liver and white pointer, who was born in 1937, and she became the mascot of the British Royal Navy when she was still a puppy. Judy served aboard the HMS Gnat and she proved her usefulness by providing the crew with an early warning of incoming aircraft. Judy transferred with her crew to the HMS Grasshopper. In June 1939 the ship was deployed to Singapore after the British declared war on Germany. At first, the stay in Singapore was peaceful and the ship was rarely at sea but that soon changed. In January 1942, the Grasshopper was deployed with other gunboats to provide assistance and carry out evacuations along the coast of Malaya. The Grasshopper and her sister ship the Dragonfly were the largest vessels remaining in Singapore, and were ordered to evacuate personnel and vacate the area. It was while heading for Singkep Island in the Dutch East Indies, that the ships were bombed by Japanese aircraft. Judy had become trapped by a falling row of lockers, but she was rescued by a crewman who had returned to the sinking vessel looking for supplies.

Judy and her crew were left stranded on an island with little food and no apparent water sources. Judy uncovered a fresh water spring, saving the lives of her shipwrecked crew. Eventually, they were taken prisoners by the Japanese. The entire crew, Judy included, were sent to the prisoner of war camp in Medan and Judy became the only dog to be registered as a Prisoner of War during World War II.

At the camp, Leading Aircraftman Frank Williams adopted Judy and started sharing his small daily rice ration with her. During their imprisonment, Judy assisted the prisoners by; distracting the guards and raising moral. She also warned fellow inmates when snakes or scorpions were nearby.  Williams smuggled Judy aboard, secreted in a rice sack, when the men were transferred to Singapore in 1944, as dogs were not allowed on the ship. The prisoner transport vessel was torpedoed and Williams threw Judy overboard in a desperate bid to save her life before making his own escape. Judy fell 15 feet into the water where she immediately started swimming to the foundering men, guiding them to floating pieces of wreckage and allowing them to hold onto her back while she swam them to safety.

Judy and Williams met again at their new prison camp, where they were forced to clear a path for a new railroad though the jungle. Eventually, the guards sentenced Judy to death, but she was able to hide in the jungle until hostilities ceased. After the war, Williams again smuggled Judy on board the SS Antenor. Animals were forbidden but it was inconceivable to leave her behind.

Judy and Williams returned home to England together where they were greeted by fans and fame. Judy was awarded the United Kingdom’s Dickin Medal, which honors the wartime service of animals. She lived her remaining life with Williams for the rest of her life until she died in February 1950. Judy was buried in a specially made RAF coat Williams had made for his dear friend.

Hammer the Cat

Hammer the Cat was born in Iraq on a U.S Army base. As a kitten, he started killing and chasing away the mice that would have devoured or contaminated the soldiers’ food stores. Hammer was soon adopted by the troops and the young cat provided companionship and warmth in the hostile environment. The soldiers described Hammer as ‘acting like their stress therapist’. He would seem to sense when he was needed and would always take a soldier’s mind off the war at just the right time. Hammer experienced the war alongside the soldiers. Hammer jumped at the sound of nearby gunfire and unexpected explosions. During a deadly mortar attack on his unit, a kindly soldier picked Hammer up and tucked the feline safety inside his body armor until the attack was over. When Sgt Rick Bousfield learned they would soon be deployed home to their Base at Fort Carson Colorado he sought assistance to ensure all the unit made it. With the help of kind volunteers and two animal welfare groups Alley Cat Allies and Military Mascots Bousfield transport for Hammer was arranged. In early April 2004, Bousfield arrived home. Hammer a week later joined him, and Bousfield’s family were waiting for him as he arrived at Denver International Airport. Hammer is now retired from his army career and lives at Bousfield home not as a soldier but as a house pet.



G.P Walsh, (1983), Kirkpatrick, John Simpson (1892–1915) First published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol 9, Republished for  Australian Dictionary of Biography Website, Cited on 28th of May 2017

Jill Harness, Mental Floss, 5 Fascinating Animals That Served in Military,Cited on 28th of May 2017,

Rebecca Frankel, (2014), Dogs at War: Judy, Canine Prisoner of War, The National Graphic Webiste, Cited on 28th of May 2017,

Linda D. Kozaryn, (2010), Pfc. Hammer Finds a Home, American Forces Press Service Website,

Cited on 28th of May 2017

Laurie Kay Olson, (2013), Hammer Time: A Cat From Iraq,

Cited on 28th of May 2017,





By |2017-05-29T13:53:30+00:00May 29, 2017|Categories: |0 Comments

About the Author:

Raised in the St. Louis area, Brandy has been an obsessed animal lover since birth. Her dream is to own a petting zoo and an animal shelter when she "grows up".

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