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BBC News | ENGLAND | 'Ferocious' bidding for war paintings

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SERVICES  Daily E-mail News Ticker Mobiles/PDAs Feedback Help Low Graphics Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 20:44 GMT 21:44 UK 'Ferocious' bidding for war paintings
Mr Chalker drew the horrors of the "railway of death"
Paintings depicting horrific scenes from Japanese prisoner of war camps have fetched nearly �200,000 at auction - more than double the expected price.

Jack Chalker risked his life to secretly draw and paint more than 100 pictures after he was captured during World War II.

His collection was expected to fetch �80,000 at auction in London on Tuesday but sold for a total of �193,904.

A spokeswoman for Bonhams, the auctioneers, described the bidding as "ferocious" with the paintings sold to museums and private collectors around the world.

Fallen comrades

Mr Chalker, 83, from Somerset, said: "I am rather stunned at the success of the sale.

Cruel punishments were handed out to PoWs
"I am very moved indeed by the kindness I have received, particularly from people who have bought the paintings which were linked to their families, who were former prisoners and who died in the Far East."

Mr Chalker was sent to work on the notorious Burma Railway, called the "railway of death", after being captured by the Japanese in Singapore in 1942.

He received beatings whenever his drawings were discovered, but managed to hide many in bamboo sticks.

Mr Chalker had been studying at the Royal College of Art in London before he was called up in 1939, and after the war was an official war artist in Thailand.

An oil painting and pencil drawing of the famous Australian surgeon, Colonel Edward "Weary" Dunlop, carrying out an amputation fetched the highest price of �24,675.

See also:

01 Mar 02 | Arts
Burma camp paintings to be sold 08 Jan 02 | England
'Railway of death' remembered 07 Jan 02 | England
'Railway of death' sleepers arrive 15 Aug 01 | UK
Memorial honours railway PoWs Internet links:

Japanese Labour Camps Survivors International Royal British Legion
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