The Colonel of Tamarkan – Julie Summers

The story of the Bridge on the River Kwai was loosely based the Second World War building of the bridge by British prisoners of war, however the characters and there roles were fictitional.

The Japanese were skilled engineers and the main role of the real life colonel, Phil Toosey, was to ensure that the men under his command suffered as little as possible at the hands of their unforgiving captors.

Toosey was a merchant banker in civilian life but had been an active officer in the Territorial Army since 1925. When he was caught up in Singapore, the worst military defeat in British history, he refused to take the easy way out and be evacuated to India but chose to remain with his men. His story is one of bloody-minded determination not to give up in the face of an implacable enemy. 

This biography is written by Philip Toosey's grandaughter Julie Summers who is a writer, historian and broadcaster with a particular interest in the Second World War.