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Elephant Bill

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  44 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
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 those ...more
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Published October 1st 2001 by Long Riders' Guild Press (first published 1950)
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Jane Turner
Nov 09, 2015 Jane Turner rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Noeleen Liapis
Jan 03, 2014 Noeleen Liapis rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Laura
May 06, 2008 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, nonfiction
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 ...more
Gavin
Feb 04, 2014 Gavin rated it really liked it
Absolutely fascinating, a must for anyone interested in elephants - and why wouldn't you be?
Kenneth
Mar 11, 2012 Kenneth rated it really liked it
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.
Nan Silvernail
Jan 20, 2013 Nan Silvernail rated it liked it
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.
Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Afternoon Reading Listeners
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 earn
...more
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James Howard Williams, also known as Elephant Bill (15 November 1897 – 30 July 1958), 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.
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