The Railway Man

The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, recently inspired a feature film starring Australia’s Nicole Kidman and the talented Colin Firth, in the role of Eric Lomax.

As a young man, Eric  lived a sheltered life in Scotland and enjoyed a pleasant fascination of being a railway enthusiast. At the tender age of ninteen, Young Lomax joined the British Royal Corps of Signals.  He was commissioned as a signal man, stationed in Singapore and in 1942 as Singapore surrendered he was captured along with Australian, British, Indian and Malay soldiers. Taken as a prisoner of war, Eric was held at the Changi prison camp before being forced to march with many others to the  site of the infamous Burma-Siam Railway. During a long incarceration, Eric was tortured to the brink of death, particularly by one specific Japanese Officer, ravaged by illness, starved and constantly emaciated and mentally “broken”. Yet despite the incredibly traumatic ordeal, he survived. Post war he was released and embarked on the frightful journey of having to reassimilate into reality and “normality”. Eric married, had children, remarried and privately fell to pieces. His second wife Patty attempted to deconstruct his war ordeal and to put the pieces of his “life-puzzle” back together again.

This is the excrutiating account of a tortured life and an emotionally scarred man. It is incredible that anyone can survive this ordeal, it is worse than you can imagine. It is a powerful read. Incredibly sobering to think that so many endured horendous war-time experiences like this. Ultimately it is a story of survival,  reconciliation and incredible forgiveness.