Scrotum ariboflavinosis

Place Asia: Burma Thailand Railway, Nakom Paton
Accession Number ART90923
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: sheet: 33 x 21.6cm; card: 34.2 x 22.2cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description watercolour heightened with white over pencil on paper mounted on card
Maker Chalker, Jack
Place made Burma Thailand Railway: Nakom Paton
Date made 1944-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


A close study of a patient with scrotum ariboflavinosis, which was a condition resulting from a deficiency of B12 that was common among the prisoners. The most common cause being an inadequate diet, particularly of protein-rich foods such as meat, dairy, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.

Jack Chalker, serving in the Royal Artillery, was captured at the fall of Singapore. In October 1942 he was in a party sent to Thailand to construct the Burma-Thailand Railway. Chalker secretly made drawings of the various camps and conditions endured by the prisoners. He drew and painted on whatever materials he could find or steal from the Japanese, hiding his work in sections of bamboo buried in the ground, the attap roofs of huts, or the artificial legs worn by amputees in the hospital camps. His work provides a candid and moving record of the prisoners' suffering.