Keepsakes of war author Eric Lomax for sale at Newcastle auction

Items which belonged to Eric Lomax, whose war book if the basis for the film The Railway Man, are to be auctioned in Newcastle

Eric Lomax, who was a prisoner of war and whose book has been made into the film The Railway Man
Eric Lomax, who was a prisoner of war and whose book has been made into the film The Railway Man

Items which belonged to a Northumberland prisoner of war whose ordeal has been made into a movie are to be sold at auction.

Eric Lomax, who lived in Berwick, was captured when the Japanese took Singapore in 1942.

He was taken to Kanchanaburi, on the River Kwai in Thailand, among prisoners forced to build the notorious 418-mile Burma-Siam “Death Railway” under conditions of great brutality and suffering.

The book he wrote on his experiences has become the movie The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, part of which was filmed in Berwick and on Lindisfarne in Northumberland last year.

It will go on general release in the UK tomorrow.

Mr Lomax died in 2012, aged 93.

Newcastle auctioneers Anderson & Garland will be selling part of his collection of items on January 15.

It includes part of the library of books on the war in the Far East that Mr Lomax built up after the war and while writing his autobiography in 1995.

Dolls houses owned by his wife Patti will also go under the hammer.

Actor Colin Firth on Holy Island to film The Railway Man
Actor Colin Firth on Holy Island to film The Railway Man

The book and film explore the horrors of life and survival in a Japanese POW camp and how, decades later, Mr Lomax met his captors again on the River Kwai.

Mr Lomax’s widow Patti has been sorting through his items for the Anderson & Garland sale.

She said: “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 it.

“My husband collected mainly from auctions in Britain and he owned some rather unusual things as people will see from this sale.”

The items are expected to be of great interest to collectors interested in the Second World War, and film fans who want an actual piece of history connected with the new movie.

John Anderson from Anderson and Garland said: “Mrs Lomax is still living in their house in Berwick and she has some amazing stories from her time on-set and at Toronto International Film Festival and other film festivals.

“We often handle artefacts which connect to real life drama, so it is exciting in this case to see the back story to our auction dramatized in a major motion feature.

“The lots contain most of Eric’s back collection, much of which is to do with the Far East, war and military history and railways.

“There is an extraordinary collection of porcelain nodding head Chinamen – like nodding dogs- but on this occasion corpulent Chinese men with pointy hats.

“This really is a poignant piece of history that is going under the hammer.”


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