Flag, National, British, Union flag

Catalogue number
  • FLA 2449
Display status
IWM London
  • whole: wool
  • whole: nylon net (dyed)
  • whole: Length 2620 mm, Width 1330 mm
Alternative names
  • full name: Flag, National, British, Union flag
  • simple name: Flag, National

Purchase & License

This flag was carried by Brigadier Newbigging at the surrender of Singapore in February 1942, and kept secretly in Changi Prison by Major, later Colonel, Cyril Wild. On the walk to the Ford Factory Major Wild was carrying the white flag and they were accompanied by General Percival and Brigadier Torrance (BGS). The Film Archive holds footage of the surrender JYY 60 and the Photograph Archive has photographs MH 26539 - MH 26541. For further information see Clifford Kinvig's 'Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore' (London: Brassey's, 1996). See also Major C. H. D. Wild's (GSO2 III Indian Corps) 'Note on the Capitulation of Singapore' Department of Documents, ref. 66/227/1. The Fall of Singapore was the biggest defeat suffered by British and Commonwealth Forces during the Second World War, when 130, 000 armed forces personnel surrendered to the Japanese. Winston Churchill described it as the 'greatest disaster and capitulation in British history'.


“This flag bore witness to one of the blackest defeats in British Military History. It was carried by Colonel C.H.D. Wild (O.C.) at the capitulation of Singapore to the Japanese on 15th February 1942. Afterwards at considerable personal risk he acquired the flag and took it with him when imprisoned in the notorious Changi Jail. There he and other prisoners courageously managed to conceal it from their captors for three and a half years. On 12th September 1945 the Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia invited Colonel Wild to hoist this same flag over the surrender of the Japanese forces And so the wheel came full circle. Colonel Wild (R 1921-1927) was tragically killed in an air disaster and his flag was laid in Charterhouse Chapel by his brothers as a memorial to him and a memento of the two historic moments to which he and the flag had borne witness. Domus non immemor.”

Physical description

flag, pole Union Flag in bunting. The flag is in generally poor condition being only about eighty percent complete. The metal pole is in two parts that screw together, and is painted in gold paint.

History note

This flag was carried by Brigadier Newbigging who was in General Percival's party during the surrender of Singapore in February 1942. It was the largest surrender of troops in British history. Major Cyril Wild, who held onto the flag after the surrender negotiations, was ordered by the Japanese to hand it over, but told them that it had been burnt. Instead, he concealed it in Changi prisoner of war camp throughout the period of captivity. It was then produced, and hoist by Lord Mountbatten at the Singapore Town Hall on the day of the formal Japanese surrender. It was subsequently presented by Mountbatten to the Municipal Commissioners of Singapore and displayed within the Town Hall for a number of years. In 1965 it passed to the IWM through the Foreign Relations Office, and was loaned to Charterhouse, Wild's former school. In 2002 it was returned to the IWM for conservation reasons.

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Fair Dealing

All Rights Reserved except for Fair Dealing exceptions otherwise permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended and revised.