An upcoming auction at Newcastle auctioneers Anderson and Garland offers an opportunity to own a moving piece of history
On 15th January the collection of Eric Lomax, better known as ‘The Railway Man’, will go up for sale in time to coincide with the release of a biopic of his life starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
Mr Lomax, who died in 2012, is renowned for his autobiography 'The Railway Man' detailing the heart-rending story of his survival as a Japanese prisoner of war working on the ‘Death Railway’ between Thailand and Burma. As well as part of the extensive collection of books on the Far East he gathered while researching his book, the auction will feature Mr Lomax’s quirky collection of porcelain nodding-headed Chinamen (above).
Lomax was captured and tortured by the Japanese while serving as a Royal Signals officer in World War Two. He later wrote a book about his captivity which detailed the grueling labour and torture he endured including forced marches, waterboarding and having his legs and arms broken with pickaxe handles. On top of this, work on the railway itself was brutal, claiming the lives of an estimated 13,000 prisoners during its construction.
So haunting was his experience that 50 years later he went back to face his torturer and despite wanting revenge, made his peace with Takashi Nagase on the bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand, which was built by the prisoners of war.
Mr Lomax is survived by his wife Patti, who has been instrumental in organising the auction. ‘Eric kept absolutely everything because of his experiences in the war and I’m having to work through a lot of things and decide what to do with them,' she says. 'He collected mainly from auctions in Britain and he owned some rather unusual things as people will see from this sale.'
‘The Railway Man’ will be showing in cinemas from 10th January.