Prisoner of War Portrait of Lieutenant Mike Sinclair, DSO

Colditz Sketch of Lieutenant Mike Sinclair, The Red Fox

During WW2, within the forbidding walls of Colditz Castle, Lieutenant John Watton captured the indomitable spirit of fellow prisoner of war Lieutenant Mike Sinclair in this striking portrait. Sinclair, renowned for his relentless escape attempts, became an emblem of resistance against captivity, and was known to the Germans as Der Rote Fuchs – The Red Fox – for his cunning attempts.

The portrait itself was sketched by Watton shortly after Sinclair’s arrival at Colditz in 1942. Unlike Watton’s other portraits of POWs from that time, Sinclair’s gaze confronts viewers head-on with unwavering determination—a reflection of his steadfast refusal to yield to captivity.

Two copies of the portrait were produced, possibly as insurance against the destruction of one. This portrait was sent to London via the International Red Cross, where it was featured in the Illustrated London News alongside other POW portraits by Watton.

Item Details: Pastel and pencil on heavy gauge brown paper. Inscribed verso in pencil in the artist’s hand, ‘Escape from Posen May 41/ – recaptured and sent to Oflag IV C (Colditz) /Sender LT. J.F. WATTON 1442 / OFLAG IV C / LT A.M. SINCLAIR 60th RIFLES / After P[ublication] please send to Col. T.C. Sinclair c/o Lloyds Bank R. Section / 6 Pall Mall LONDON SW1’. Overall 52cm x 43cm. Framed and glazed.