Elephant Bill

Elephant Bill

J.H.Williams / Feb 22, 2020

Elephant Bill A book comes along like this once in a lifetime You read it as a small child or even as a adult and never forget the images it conjures up of a wonderful Englishman who lives in the mysterious fore

  • Title: Elephant Bill
  • Author: J.H.Williams
  • ISBN: 9781590480779
  • Page: 103
  • Format: Paperback
  • A book comes along like this once in a lifetime You read it as a small child, or even as a adult, and never forget the images it conjures up, of a wonderful Englishman who lives in the mysterious forests of faraway Burma and of the kind native people who teach him about their lovely country But most of all, you never forget the elephants For this is a story about thoseA book comes along like this once in a lifetime You read it as a small child, or even as a adult, and never forget the images it conjures up, of a wonderful Englishman who lives in the mysterious forests of faraway Burma and of the kind native people who teach him about their lovely country But most of all, you never forget the elephants For this is a story about those magnificent creatures Though he was officially known as Lt Colonel J.H Williams, the author was known to the world at large as Elephant Bill That is because he spent 25 years living with the elephants in the mountains and forests of Burma There he trained them to haul teak logs out of the isolated jungles.Yet this is also a story of great courage because when the Second World War struck, it also came to Burma The Japanese Imperial Army planned to confiscate the Burmese elephants, drafting them to make the bridges and railways they needed to invade India When he learned of these plans to put his beloved animals to a war like purpose, Elephant Bill knew what had to be done The mighty kings of the jungle had to be evacuated to safety.Personal story of Colonel Williams adventures in Burma A bit tedious but quite interesting to read about his involvement with working elephants.

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      Published :2019-01-24T17:52:34+00:00

    About "J.H.Williams"

      • J.H.Williams

        Colonel James Howard Williams, also known as Elephant Bill, was a British soldier and elephant expert in Burma, known for his work with the Fourteenth Army during the Burma Campaign of World War II, and for his 1950 book Elephant Bill He was made a Lieutenant Colonel, mentioned in dispatches three times, and was awarded the OBE in 1945.He spent most of his working life in the forests of Burma There he became so interested in the lives and habits of elephants that he acquired his nickname He became so friendly with the elephants that they soon recognised him as a friend.


    1. Colonel "Elephant Bill" Williams' amazing story of how, in the summer of 1957, the largest elephant in captivity - Big Charlie - was moved from Butlin's Holiday Camp in Ayr, Scotland, to Butlin's, Filey, Yorkshire. In May 1957, an advertisement in The Times caught Elephant Bill's eye. Butlin's Ltd was offering £1,000 in cash for the immediate safe transport of the largest elephant in captivity from its camp in Ayr to its camp in Filey - a distance by road of 350 miles.Colonel JH Williams had ea [...]

    2. This is not a sentimental book about elephants, especially not about wild elephants. It's down-to-earth and honest, from a man who worked with them in Burma for some thirty years in the timber industry and then in WWII to aid military engineers and provide transport. It describe an extraordinary lifestyle that men lived in the jungle together with their working elephants and, in the second part of the book, it describes the war in Burma against the Japanese, including an extraordinary evacuation [...]

    3. This was a very interesting story of another aspect of WW2 in Burma that to my knowledge has never been covered before. We hear of the Japanese and Allied soldiers struggles but this is a "behind the scenes" story I am so glad I got to read.The use of the elephants, and the sheer number of them, is something that I had never thought about before and I am so glad I read it.The writing is very basic, almost report like in some ways, full of statistics, but they make the story so fascinating. The i [...]

    4. A peek into the use of Burmese elephants in the 1920s-40s, initially in the teak industry and then in the war efforts. Sadly, only a peek. Williams (aka "Elephant Bill") gives a wonderful overview of his work as a European Assistant of the British military in charge of some 70-80 elephants used to extract lumber from the dense forests in Burma. When the Japanese later invade Burma, he is responsible for extracting as many elephants and refugees as possible to India, and then in coordinating the [...]

    5. This was a fascinating read,not only about the elephants and the work they did in the logging industry but how Williams managed to change many of cruel ways elephants were treated in their training . It was also so funny reading how British they were even in the middle of the jungle, china cups for tea and even standing up as they listened to God save the king on the BBC broadcasts. Their epic journey out was nothing short of amazing.He ode 45 elephants together with a number of women & chil [...]

    6. first part quite technical about elephant behaviour in captivity and how to manage them. Second part more narrative about the invasion of the Japs during WOII and de evacuation of the elephants from Burma to Assam. Interesting, though more a chain of short stories/anecdotes than a romance. The style reminds me of the narratives a "Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate". Medium to slow read.Williams also wrote a Spotted Deer, which in my recollection, I found better.

    7. This book falls into two halves. The first half deals with Williams's experiences working the teak forests in Burma with elephants. It covers how they broke wild elephants for work (really!) and the later breeding programme. The second half is about his WWII expereinces and how he trekked his elepahnts out of Burma and into India as they were too valuable to be left to the Japanese.

    8. A young British man with a little veterinary training goes forth into the jungles of Burma to learn how to care for elephants. They give him an education in return. Through peace and war, up and down over mountains and in valleys, through the monsoons and the dry.

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