The Railway Man: A Tortured British POW Met His Japanese Tormentor 50 Years Later

Based on a true story, it tells about about a former Prisoner of Wars (POW) who was tortured and meeting his tormentor some decades later.

Our parents, grandparents and great grandparents knew and felt the terrible things during World War II especially during the Japanese occupation in many parts of Asia.

In North Borneo, the Japanese started occupying this territory via Labuan, Jesselton and finally Sandakan, which was the seat of North Borneo’s government. It was officially under Japanese control on 19th January 1942. Many labour camps were erected around Asia. The labour camp in Sandakan and the Sandakan Death March are similar to this in many ways.

If the history during this era fascinates you, then you shouldn’t miss The Railway Man. It was based on the writer’s best-selling memoir which tells the extraordinary and epic true story of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II.

Lomax has been posted in Malaya in 1941, ut his unit was soon in full retreat to Singapore, where he was captured by the Japanese in February 1942.  They undertook a forced march to Changi Prison, and they were transported to Kanchanaburi, Thailand, and forced to work on the notorious Burma-Siam Railway.

After fifty years later, Lomax discovers that the Japanese interpreter he holds responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and he wanted to confront him. The photo above shows Lomax and his tormentor Nagase Takashi in 1998 at the River Kwai, Thailand.

When they finally met, Lomax said to Takashi:

“I’ve learned that hate is a useless battle, and it has to end sometime.”

The movie is directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, and starring Academy Award-winner Colin Firth acting as Lomax, Jeremy Irvine, and Academy Award-winner Nicole Kidman as Lomax’s wife.

It is unfortunate that Lomax died at the age of 93 before the movie was released. It should be showing in cinemas near you soon. Details of Lomax’s account can be found on this link.

Image courtesy of abroadintheyard.com

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Richard Ker

I love the history of North Borneo (Sabah) and strive to digitally archive any related information on this website. I'm also the author of LifeinMy.com and CyberjayaCity.com. Follow me on Twitter @richardker.

One Comment

  1. I am afraid i could not forgive the japanese,i saw the wounds my
    school teacher suffered at the hands of them

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