21 July 2024

British soldier’s album of life as Japanese prisoner of war sells for £1,650

A fascinating illustrated album compiled by a British soldier whilst he was held in Japanese prisoner of war camps during the Second World War has sold for £1,650 at a militaria auction in Shropshire.

The album, compiled by Second Lieutenant Arkless Lockey of the Royal Engineers, was sold to a collector by Shrewsbury-based Halls Fine Art in a timed, online auction last month.

Described by Halls Fine Art’s militaria specialist Caroline Dennard as “rare and emotive”, 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 UK, where he died at 80.

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

Another interesting lot, which sold for £1,000, was a collection of 300 First World War letters from the year 1917 by Army surgeon Sir Ambrose Edgar Woodall, who served in France and Italy with the Royal Army Medical Corps in the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.

Sir Ambrose, who later became Baron Uvedale of North End, was resident surgeon at Manor House Hospital, London from 1920-‘58.

His early letters document disdain for many of his fellow doctors. “Most of those who have been out to the front seem to regard it as a picnic; on the other hand there are always a proportion of decent men – small perhaps but still there,” he wrote.

The letters chronicled the casualties, injuries and diseases he encountered on the front line, as well a close calls from German bombardments.

Sir Ambrose was born in Eccles, Lancashire on April 24, 1885, the second son of the Rev Samuel Russell Woodall, a Primitive Methodist minister.

He served in the RAMC from 1915-‘19 and, during his time at Manor House Hospital, became medical advisor to the National Union of Railwaymen and other trades union as well as surgical specialist to the Ministry of Pensions from 1921-‘24.

His knighthood, conferred in 1931, was a reward for his services to the hospital and the trades union who owned it. He was a member of the Central Medical War Committee during the Second World War and was made a baron in 1946.

In 1949, at the age of 63, he married Joyce Eleanor, the widow of the MP the Rt Hon H. B. Lees-Smith. He died on February 2,1974, aged 88 years.

Other leading prices were £600 each for a German Third Reich non-commissioned officer’s artillery sword, Third Reich SA dagger and scabbard and an early 19th century British flank officer’s sabre.

Caroline is now accepting entries for the next timed militaria auction from August 2-20. The next free militaria and medals valuation day is at Halls’ Battlefield headquarters in Shrewsbury on March 28 from 10am to 2pm. Contact Caroline on Tel: 01743 450700.