The Amazing Dog Story of Smoky
by Author William A Wynne
(Yorkie Doodle Dandie)
Smoky, the Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkie Doodle Dandy is an amazing dog story of a Yorkshire Terrier, "Smoky," weighing only four pounds and seven inches tall, and a young soldier, William A. Wynne, during World War II. In February 1944, Smoky was found by an American soldier in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle. The young soldier sold Smoky to Corporal William A Wynne for two Australian pounds so he could return to a poker game.
Smoky spent the next two years backpacking through the rest of the war and accompanied Wynne on combat flights in the Pacific. Facing adverse circumstances, living in the New Guinea jungle, they endured primitive conditions. Throughout her service, Smoky slept in Wynne’s tent. They shared Wynne’s rations. Unlike the “official” war dogs of World War II, Smoky had neither medical care nor a balanced diet formulated especially for dogs. In spite of this, Smoky was never ill.
Smoky served in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force, 26th Photo Recon Squadron and flew 12 air/sea rescue and photo reconnaissance missions. On those flights, Smoky spent long hours dangling in a soldier’s pack near machine guns used to ward off enemy fighters. Smoky was credited with 12 combat missions and awarded eight battle stars. Smoky survived 150 air raids on New Guinea and made it through a typhoon at Okinawa. Smoky even jumped from a 30 foot tower with a specially made parachute. Wynne credited Smoky with saving his life by warning him of incoming shells on a transport ship. As the ship deck was booming and vibrating from anti aircraft gunnery, Smoky guided Wynne to duck the fire that hit 8 men standing next to them.
In the down time, Smoky learned numerous tricks which she performed for the entertainment of troops and in hospitals from Australia to Korea.
Smoky became a hero in her own right by helping engineers to build an airbase at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon, a crucial airfield for allied war planes. Early in the Luzon campaign, the Signal Corps needed to run a telegraph wire through a 70 foot long pipe that was eight inches in diameter. Soil had sifted through the corrugated sections at the pipe joints, filling as much as half of the pipe. As Wynne himself told the story when he appeared on NBC TV after World War II. “I tied a string, tied to a wire, to Smoky’s collar and ran to the other end of the culvert. Smoky made a few steps in and then ran back. “Come, Smoky,” I said sharply, and she started through again. When she was about 10 feet in, the string caught up and she looked over her shoulder as much as to say “what’s holding us up there?” The string loosened from the snag and she came on again. By now the dust was rising from the shuffle of her paws as she crawled through the dirt and I could no longer see her. I called and pleaded, now knowing for certain whether she was coming or not. At last, about 20 feet away, I saw two little amber eyes and heard a faint whimpering sound…. At 15 feet away, she broke into a run. We were so happy at Smoky’s success that we patted and praised here for a full five minutes.” Smoky’s work prevented the need to move 40 United States fighter and reconnaissance planes while a construction detail dug up the taxiway, which would have placed them in peril of destruction by enemy bombings. What would have been a three day digging task to place the wire was instead completed by Smoky a four pound Yorkshire Terrier in minutes.
After two years of endless journey from Australia to Korea and many hostile places in between, when the war ended, Wynne took Smoky home with him to Cleveland. Wynne and Smoky were featured in a page one story with photographs in the Cleveland Press on December 7, 1945. Smoky soon became a national sensation. Over the next 10 years Smoky and Wynne traveled to Hollywood and all over the world to perform demonstrations of her remarkable skills, which included walking a tightrope while blindfolded. Smoky appeared with Wynne on TV including their own show called Castles in the Air featuring some of Smoky’s unbelievable tricks. Amazingly Smoky performed in 42 live television shows without ever repeating a trick. Smoky and Wynne were also very popular entertainers at the veteran’s hospitals.
In 1957 Smoky died unexpectedly at the approximate age of 14. A special monument honouring Smoky, “World War II’s littlest soldier and most famous war dog” stands at the Eastlake Doggie Park, in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio.