"Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a big heart and often wear it on my sleeve where animals are concerned.
I'm fortunate to be able to travel to cities abroad regularly, but none compare with Portsmouth when I think of just how great our city is. Our heritage, our maritime and Armed Forces legacy, our fierce and
unapologetic pride, our unique island city position and being the real jewel of the Solent... I can go on and on...
With this is mind, it has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside my colleagues Neill Young and Ben Swann, who are also animal lovers and to look at how we can provide a memorial to animals who served and protected service men and women during armed conflicts and wars.
I'd like to tell people about one such story that has really touched our hearts. It is the story of Leading Aircraftman LAC Frank Williams, a son of Portsmouth who was brought up here and who was held as a Prisoner of War in a remote Japanese POW camp on the island of Sumatra.
A British Pointer dog called Judy saved both Frank and many fellow POW's during World War 2.
Judy went on to receive the PDSA Dickins Medal for bravery in London. Eventually both Frank and Judy went onto live in Africa, where work was plentiful where she died aged 14, and a small and now overgrown and forgotten memorial exists.
Last year, I received contact from an American Veteran and campaigner who was vexed that Portsmouth didn't have any sort of memorial for this heroic duo, and infact, it was only because of a campaign from Veterans that brought the UK Government together with the Imperial War Museum and national tabloids to stitch together the history and stories of Frank and Judy in the way that we now know them today. Judy also had a hand in saving other serving seamen too before she would go on to meet Frank.
So moved were we by the tale of a man and a dog, surviving and protecting others, that in our own small way, the three of us, massively encouraged by Ben Swann and our own respect for both the Armed Forces and our love of animals to do something. It's a small gesture in the grand scheme of things, but it feels so very sad that given Frank Williams was a son of our great city, that we haven't yet honoured him, his canine partner and the many, many animals who have served and died to protect British and world interests... Like so many service men and women, they didn't have a choice and served heroically all the same.
We are now looking to right this and continue our campaign for the memorial, and so that we can forever remember the heroes and veterans who were brought up under the Portsmouth star and crescent.
If you'd like to know more about LAC Frank Williams and Judy, the British Pointer, below you'll find links to the various articles online. You might need some man-size kleenex tissues, it's a real tear jerker."
Councillor Robert New
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