This striking study of the Indian soldier Ram Lakhan, was sketched by artist/soldier James Brown at Thazi junction, in Burma, whilst on the troop train heading south towards Taungoo in June 1945. They formed part of the continued push by the allied forces against Japan through Burma which started in earnest in the April with the headlong rush for Rangoon which was motivated by the dual need to reach the city before the onset of the monsoon, expected in mid-May, and the impending withdrawal on 1st June of US Army Air Force transport squadrons supplying the 14th Army. Ultimately successful, Rangoon fell without a fight to a combined airborne and amphibious invasion in the first week of May. So too did Taungoo, after a race to take it by both British and Japanese troops successfully resulted in the 5th Indian Division catching the Japanese in complete disarray.
Ram Lakhan was a young sepoy with the Royal Indian Army Service Corps whom Brown appears to have befriended and ultimately depicted during their journey through Burma on operations. He lost his life on 2nd July 1945 and is commemorated on the Delhi/Karachi war memorials. After the war James Brown seems to have worked as an architectural artist and the designs by him for the Coventry Swimming Baths of 1963 are with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.