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The fascinating wartime archive of an RAF airman with Japanese heritage who escaped three times from PoW camps has been put up for sale by his family.

Warrant Officer Percy Sekine’s mother was British and his Japanese father worked for The Mitsui Bank in London.

He was a black belt in judo when he volunteered as a 19-year-old for the RAF at the outbreak of the Second World War.

He bailed out of a Hampden bomber at 3,000ft over the Netherlands in 1942 after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire.

But his two pilots could not escape in time and died when the aircraft crashed.

Warrant Officer Sekine was captured five hours later and taken to a PoW camp, but then escaped by climbing over the wire fence.

He was recaptured and put in Stalag 383 in Bavaria, where he set up a judo club, created a dojo and put on tournaments.

After the war, he went on to captain the British judo team during the 1950s and 1960s and was once pictured showing off his moves in the Daily Mail. 

Now, his family is selling his archive with auctioneers Rowley’s, of Ely, Cambridgeshire. The archive is expected to fetch up to £1,000.

It includes previously unseen photos of life in Stalag 383, including his judo group.

Other images are of fellow airmen and him playing golf with former fighter ace and fellow ex-PoW Group Captain Douglas Bader, who he befriended in later life. 

The fascinating wartime archive of a half-Japanese RAF airman (pictured during the war) who escaped three times from PoW camps has been put up for sale. Warrant Officer Percy Sekine's mother was British and his Japanese father worked for The Mitsui Bank in London

The fascinating wartime archive of a half-Japanese RAF airman (pictured during the war) who escaped three times from PoW camps has been put up for sale. Warrant Officer Percy Sekine's mother was British and his Japanese father worked for The Mitsui Bank in London

The fascinating wartime archive of a half-Japanese RAF airman (pictured during the war) who escaped three times from PoW camps has been put up for sale. Warrant Officer Percy Sekine’s mother was British and his Japanese father worked for The Mitsui Bank in London

As well as his initial escape, Warrant Officer Sekine made two other bids for freedom – once going under a wire fence and once through it. 

While at large he joined the queue at a mobile German soup kitchen whilst still wearing his RAF battledress and enjoyed a meal before continuing his escape.

But he was apprehended for a second time when he walked past a squad of German soldiers in the town of Bad Tolz in Bavaria.  

Warrant Officer Sekine became a renowned judo expert post-war, training the comedian Tommy Cooper and Formula One driver Stirling Moss as well as Royal Marines at his Hammersmith dojo.

He gained the captaincy of the British judo team despite the fact that he weighed only 9.5stone and was just 5ft 6in tall. 

Warrant Officer Sekine’s wife Hana was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi, who first brought the martial art of judo to Britain in 1918. 

Included in the soldier’s archive is a picture of his father-in-law.  

Warrant Officer Sekine, who had a wife and son, died aged 90 in 2010.

Warrant Officer Sekine bailed out of a Hampden bomber at 3,000ft over the Netherlands in 1942 after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Above: The former soldier's old uniform, along with images and letters that are also being sold off at Cambridgeshire auctioneer Rowley's

Warrant Officer Sekine bailed out of a Hampden bomber at 3,000ft over the Netherlands in 1942 after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Above: The former soldier's old uniform, along with images and letters that are also being sold off at Cambridgeshire auctioneer Rowley's

Warrant Officer Sekine bailed out of a Hampden bomber at 3,000ft over the Netherlands in 1942 after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Above: The former soldier’s old uniform, along with images and letters that are also being sold off at Cambridgeshire auctioneer Rowley’s

Warrant Officer Sekine spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany. Pictured: The airman is  seen in his flight suit second from left alongside his flying colleagues

Warrant Officer Sekine spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany. Pictured: The airman is  seen in his flight suit second from left alongside his flying colleagues

Warrant Officer Sekine spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany. Pictured: The airman is  seen in his flight suit second from left alongside his flying colleagues 

Warrant Officer Sekine set up a judo group while imprisoned at Stalag 383 in Germany. Pictured: The airman is seen third from left among fellow members of his judo group

Warrant Officer Sekine set up a judo group while imprisoned at Stalag 383 in Germany. Pictured: The airman is seen third from left among fellow members of his judo group

Warrant Officer Sekine set up a judo group while imprisoned at Stalag 383 in Germany. Pictured: The airman is seen third from left among fellow members of his judo group

Warrant Officer Sekine's 'judo group' in the PoW camp Stalag 383 in August 1943. Warrant Officer Sekine, who had a wife and son, died aged 90 in 2010

Warrant Officer Sekine's 'judo group' in the PoW camp Stalag 383 in August 1943. Warrant Officer Sekine, who had a wife and son, died aged 90 in 2010

Warrant Officer Sekine’s ‘judo group’ in the PoW camp Stalag 383 in August 1943. Warrant Officer Sekine, who had a wife and son, died aged 90 in 2010

Warrant Officer Sekine became a renowned judo expert post-war, training the comedian Tommy Cooper and Formula One driver Stirling Moss as well as Royal Marines at his Hammersmith dojo. Pictured: Members of the former airman's judo school

Warrant Officer Sekine became a renowned judo expert post-war, training the comedian Tommy Cooper and Formula One driver Stirling Moss as well as Royal Marines at his Hammersmith dojo. Pictured: Members of the former airman's judo school

Warrant Officer Sekine became a renowned judo expert post-war, training the comedian Tommy Cooper and Formula One driver Stirling Moss as well as Royal Marines at his Hammersmith dojo. Pictured: Members of the former airman’s judo school

Warrant Officer Sekine's judo abilities led to him being featured in a 1965 edition of the Daily Mail

Warrant Officer Sekine's judo abilities led to him being featured in a 1965 edition of the Daily Mail

Warrant Officer Sekine’s judo abilities led to him being featured in a 1965 edition of the Daily Mail

Roddy Lloyd, of Rowley’s, said: ‘After the war Sekine followed his mother’s occupation as a diamond polisher in Hatton Garden, but the lure of judo was too much.

How Percy Sekine’s father-in-law brought judo to Britain

Warrant Officer Percy Sekine’s wife Hana was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi, who first brought the martial art of judo to Britain in 1918.

The combat system, which is now hugely popular across the world, was introduced to the UK when Koizumi opened Europe’s first martial arts club, the Budokwai. 

The club, which still exists, was based in Lower Grosvenor Place, near Buckingham Palace 

Judo had been developed in Japan in 1882 by a professor, Jigoro Kano.

Koizumi died aged 79 in 1965 and is believed to have taken his own life. 

Warrant Officer Percy Sekine's wife Hana was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi, who first brought the martial art of judo to Britain in 1918

Warrant Officer Percy Sekine's wife Hana was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi, who first brought the martial art of judo to Britain in 1918

Warrant Officer Percy Sekine’s wife Hana was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi, who first brought the martial art of judo to Britain in 1918

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‘He became an instructor and competitor, set up his own club in Hammersmith and trained the Royal Marines.

‘He represented and captained the British judo team through the 1950s and 1960s and although he was just 9.5 stone and judo didn’t have weight categories he remained undefeated.

‘In the 1960s he became the British judo team manager and was the first Briton to be appointed to the exalted rank of seventh dan in the martial art.

‘Among the items for sale are his Royal Air Force dress tunic and photographs and letters relating to his time in the war.

‘Pictures include one of his air crew in which Percy has noted which ones were killed or captured.

‘There are never-before-seen photographs from a PoW camp, one showing “my judo group” at Stalag 383.

‘There is also ephemera relating to him and his wife Hana, who was the daughter of Gunji Koizumi – the “father of British judo”.

‘Included are judo belts and other items including a cup and a picture of him with fellow former PoW Douglas Bader with whom he played golf.

‘Percy was an irrepressible character. He escaped and was captured three times in the war and made his mark on the sport of judo afterwards.

‘At his judoka he trained a number of notable people including Tommy Cooper and Stirling Moss.

‘He was training people at his club until he was into his 80s.

‘Collectors of wartime memorabilia and of judo items will be interested in these items, relating as they do to a remarkable man who straddled the British and Japanese cultures with ease.’

The sale takes place on May 7.

Warrant Officer Sekine’s judo abilities led to him being featured in a 1965 edition of the Daily Mail. 

The report detailed how the Reverend Kenneth Wade, the then Dean of Bocking in Essex, had seen off a ‘6ft thug’ by using judo skills.

‘Within seconds he had suffered a dislocated shoulder and was soaring through the air above the Dean’s head with the greatest of ease,’ the report said. 

Warrant Officer Sekine is seen during the war holding his flying helmet as he poses in his pilot suit

Warrant Officer Sekine is seen during the war holding his flying helmet as he poses in his pilot suit

Warrant Officer Sekine is seen during the war holding his flying helmet as he poses in his pilot suit

Judo ephemera that belonged to Percy Sekine, including belts emblazoned with his name and the trophies that he won. Also seen is a cartoon of the martial experts expert

Judo ephemera that belonged to Percy Sekine, including belts emblazoned with his name and the trophies that he won. Also seen is a cartoon of the martial experts expert

Judo ephemera that belonged to Percy Sekine, including belts emblazoned with his name and the trophies that he won. Also seen is a cartoon of the martial experts expert

A letter from the Red Cross to Percy Sekine asking for info on the other members of his shot-down crew

A letter from the Red Cross to Percy Sekine asking for info on the other members of his shot-down crew

A letter from the Red Cross to Percy Sekine asking for info on the other members of his shot-down crew

A judo cup naming Warrant Officer Sekine as the captain of the British judo team. The war veteran went on to open his own dojo

A judo cup naming Warrant Officer Sekine as the captain of the British judo team. The war veteran went on to open his own dojo

A judo cup naming Warrant Officer Sekine as the captain of the British judo team. The war veteran went on to open his own dojo

Warrant Officer Sekine also became friends with fellow former fighter ace and PoW Douglas Bader. the pair are picture together in later life

Warrant Officer Sekine also became friends with fellow former fighter ace and PoW Douglas Bader. the pair are picture together in later life

Warrant Officer Sekine also became friends with fellow former fighter ace and PoW Douglas Bader. the pair are picture together in later life 

Warrant Officer Sekine was then quoted alongside an image of him showing off his moves.

He said: ‘But anyone – man, woman or child – should be able to give a thug a good run for his money within six months of taking up judo providing they practise. 

He described how ‘thirty girls’ were taking his judo classes at his dojo and added that they ranged from ‘girls of 12 to models, secretaries, nurses a film make-up artist and a newspaper reporter.’ 

After ‘hoisting’ Mail reporter Harry Weaver into the air ‘by way of demonstration’, the fearsome veteran added: ‘I pity the stranger who puts his arm around any of them and says: “Hello, dear.” 

Source: dailymail

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