Japanese POW illustrations to draw in bidder

A fascinating illustrated album compiled by a British soldier whilst he was held in Japanese prisoner of war camps during the Second World War is to be sold at auction in Shropshire early next year.

The album, compiled by Second Lieutenant Arkless Lockey of the Royal Engineers, will go under the hammer in Shrewsbury-based Halls Fine Art’s timed, online militaria auction, which will run from February 2-20.

Described by Halls Fine Art’s militaria specialist Caroline Dennard as “rare and emotive” and valued at up to £700, the sketchbook was compiled when Lockey was taken prisoner at the Fall of Singapore.

He was held in the prisoner of war camps at Changi in Singapore, Heito in Taiwan and Tokyo Branch 2 and Zentsuji in Japan between 1942-’45. Zentsuji was liberated on September 12, 1945 and Lockey was reported as no longer a prisoner of war by September 26, 1945.

Born in 1901 in Durham, Lockey settled briefly in Malaya and Hong Kong after the war with his wife, Marjory Tinto (b.1914), whilst working as a railway officer. He returned to the U.K., where he died at 80.

His album, entered in the auction by a Hampshire militaria collector, contains 26 detailed sketches and 11 separate loose pictures, including portraits of other prisoners.

Scenes at Heito (titled ‘Haito’) include prisoners loading stones, exterior and interiors of Hut. No. 1 Officer’s quarters, general camp views, soldiers exercising and straw rope and shoe making.

Sketches of Tokyo Branch 2 include exterior and interior of the camp, ‘Rice Fatigue’ (prisoners hauling a cart) and the prisoner of war transport ship from Singapore to Taiwan, ‘P.O.W. class’.

Scenes of Changi include the Royal Engineers’ kitchen, while  Zentsuji is represented by Room No. 3, Library, Corner of Galley, and Birds-eye view of the camp.

General untitled sketches include Japanese prison guards and local people riding a buffalo, soldiers overlooking a pigpen, caged areas, manual labour and a poignant black and white drawing of a ‘Last Post’ trumpeter on the final page.

The portrait sketches are of fellow American and British prisoners at Zentsjuji, dated January 1944 and identified by name.