This gold cigarette case was given to Major John George Wylde in 1933 by members of the Selangor Battalion of the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force (FMSVF) in 1933.
Wylde joined the Green Howards in 1915 and was wounded during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After the First World War he continued to serve with the regiment. He joined the permanent staff of the FMSVF in the 1930s. He retired in 1936 but re-joined the Volunteer Force in 1939. He was taken prisoner when the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese in 1941. He died in a prisoner of war camp on the 10th July 1942, aged 51. He is buried at Kranji cemetery, Singapore.
The Japanese despised the act of surrender. And although they had signed the Geneva Convention, they had never ratified it. Prisoners were held in appalling conditions. Many prisoners died through the brutality of their captors. But the climate, and the lack of adequate food and medicine, meant that thousands more died from diseases such as cholera, dysentery and malaria.