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The sketches and drawings were all executed by British POW Jack Chalker, a former pupil at Goldsmiths College, who was captured by the Japanese in Singapore in February 1942. Chalker was sent to the Kanyu River Camp in Bampong, Thailand to work on the building of the Burma Railway which would stretch from Bangkok to Rangoon.

Some 60,000 British, Dutch and Australian POWs, along with 200,000 Asian labourers, began work on the railway, with nearly 15,000 of the allies and almost all of the labourers losing their lives during the course of construction.

The drawings depict the horror of the camps, from brutal beatings by the Japanese to studies of tropical ulcers which, along with other tropical diseases like malaria and dysentry, were commonplace.

The Japanese issued severe beatings and torture to any prisoner who was found making records of the adverse conditions in the camp. But Chalker managed to hide his drawings from his captors in sections of bamboo buried in the ground, in the roofs of jungle huts and even in an amputee’s artificial leg.

Jack Chalker was one of the few to survive the railway camps. In March 1943 he contracted dysentry and dengue fever and was sent to a hospital camp upriver. He managed to take his drawings with him and even managed to draw some more whilst recuperating.
Prices for the 48 lots range from from £200-£8000.