Living amongst the lads of Air Support Troop was one "Woofer". A black and white mongrel dog, found as a pup up-country during an exercise. Feral and abandoned by his mum who never came back for him. Not having the heart to knock him on the head or leave him behind for the ants, it was into the map pocket of the trousers and the poor little bugger spent a couple of weeks living on Ten Man Compo and condensed milk until he returned to Singapore as an honorary member of the troop.

The fact that Woofer had free run of the camp for a couple of years prior to the "burning of the boots" incident and had never seen a lead in his life escaped the notice of our jailers. When they were aquainted with the obvious fact that the dog didn't burn the boots and still needed to be fed, exercised and more importantly needed to go and find a lamppost, they relented and granted him one hours escorted parole. Just enough time for someone to unravel that silly toggle rope we all carried and never knew why, fix a somewhat bemused dog on the end of it and wander off into the darkness in the general direction of the playing fields and the Kampong beyond.

Legend has it, Woofer and his escort returned within the hour carrying a couple of bottles of that infamous local brandy, still warm from the appropriately named distilling apparatus. It was secreted in the bushes to be retrieved later, given the likelihood a full body search would be a prerequisite for regaining entry to the barrack block.

Retrieved it was and in concert with the equally deviously acquired Tiger, dispatched in such a fashion as to give heart to some of our more reluctant jailers when, at first light, they discovered some of their charges had hangovers akin to a short course in death!

"Woofer" had repaid his debt and then some. (With thanks to Pete Thornton)