Lieutenant Colonel John Williams

Places
Accession Number ART28403.046
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 18.2 x 13.4 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description pencil on paper
Maker Collins, James
Place made Burma, Malaya, Thailand
Date made 1944
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright

Description

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel John, Commanding 2/2 Pioneer Battalion. The artist, Jim Collins, was a member of A Force, one of the work parties forced to construct the Burma-Thailand Railway. By the beginning of 1943 many prisoners had died and it was clear to their senior officer, Brigadier Arthur Varley, that the number of deaths would only increase. Collins was instructed by Varley to draw "portraits of fellow POWs, some of whom would not survive the war." The drawings - almost 100 of them - were done in secret using rudimentary materials provided by Varley. It was intended that the collection be kept together as a reminder of the men who had died and the suffering endured by the survivors. The artist wrote: 'The big majority of the subjects were AIF personnel; the balance being of other Allied POWs in the same area'.