|2nd Lieutenant John Melville Scott Shelton
Federated Malay States Volunteer Force, 1st Perak Battalion. Serving with the 135th Regt. of the Royal Artillery.
John was the son of the Rev. Shelton of St. Michaels, (died April 1946). He had four sisters, Mary Elizabeth Beaufoy, born 1904 and Norah Patricia Eileen, 1905, and two other sisters.
Federated Malay States Volunteer Forces. A "Compulsory Service (Volunteer Force) Ordinance 1940" was passed in June 1940 in Singapore and almost immediately thereafter in FMS and Johore, Kedah and Kelantan, covering ages 19 - 55, in a potentially large sweep of nationalities. An Ordinance immediately following it was for "Volunteer Training", empowering widespread call-up for training purposes. But on 2nd July 1940, the Governor Sir Shenton, responsible to Secretary of State for the Colonies, (and who had been ordered to maintain high output earnings for the dollar-short UK), used his powers to proclaim that the Compulsory Ordinance would apply only to every male British subject and British protected person. He reduced the age range to 18 - 41. In practice, only Europeans were called up. At the surrender of Singapore there were more than 18,000 Volunteers in the armed forces, most of who were imprisoned as military personnel, although some were imprisoned as civilians along with many non-native women and children who had not been able to escape from Singapore.
Shelton was born in 1911 at Ampthill, Bedfordshire. He went to Malaya in 1930, and according to the 1935 & 1940 Directories he was an Assistant Planter, at the Tapah Estate, Perak. His wife Anne was evacuated to Hanworth, Middlesex. He was killed after being captured in Singapore. According to the diary of Ronnie McArthur, of the 2nd FMSVF / Argylls, he was bayoneted after being captured while wearing a civilian shirt. From www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.uk
He was killed the day before the surrender of Singapore, when fighting was hand to hand through the streets, when most units split up, and stragglers with no supplies. He is listed on the Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore.
Before 1939, the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands. On the evening of 9 February, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand to hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal. After the fall of the island, the Japanese established a prisoner of war camp at Kranji and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands. After the reoccupation of Singapore, the small cemetery started by the prisoners at Kranji was developed into a permanent war cemetery by the Army Graves Service when it became evident that a larger cemetery at Changi could not remain undisturbed. Changi had been the site of the main prisoner of war camp in Singapore and a large hospital had been set up there by the Australian Infantry Force. In 1946, the graves were moved from Changi to Kranji, as were those from the Buona Vista prisoner of war camp. Many other graves from all parts of the island were transferred to Kranji together with all Second World War graves from Saigon Military Cemetery in French Indo-China (now Vietnam), another site where permanent maintenance could not be assured. The Commission later brought in graves of both World Wars from Bidadari Christian Cemetery, Singapore, where again permanent maintenance was not possible. There are now 4,461 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated at Kranji War Cemetery. More than 850 of the burials are unidentified. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
His name was not originally carved on the Woburn Sands War Memorial in 1947, as there was confusion as to whether the Federated Malay States could be classed as H.M. Forces.
Woburn Reporter, 18th November, 1952
Woburn Reporter, 19th January, 1954
Woburn Reporter, February, 1954