Wallet carried by my father through WW2

Contributed by Bill Haylock

Wallet carried by my father through WW2

I found this battered and stained wallet after my father died. Inside, the card in his neat handwriting, said; "This is the only thing I managed to keep through the war. It went through all the PoW camps and I carried it in action."
The action was the defence of Singapore - one of the greatest British military blunders of WW2. He and his comrades in the Cambridgeshire Regiment held a ridge for several days against the Japanese onslaught, until their officers ordered them to surrender. The British commander had capitulated.
So began an appalling ordeal of captivity and slave labour, which many of his comrades did not survive. They were put to work on the so-called "Death Railway" linking Thailand and Burma. The PoW camps he refers to were labour camps along the course of the railway, fetid places in the jungle where malaria, dysentry, starvation and brutal beatings destroyed tens of thousands of lives.
I wonder what he carried in his wallet. A photo of his young wife he had left in England, perhaps. Whatever it was, it must have been important to hold on to, when he had nothing - no proper clothing, no other mark of identity or connection with his family, home and previous life.

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