Viceroy of India Presentation Cigarette Case, Circa 1943
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11.5cm (4.5in) x 8cm (3in)
The hinged case with gilt interior, the front engraved with the conjoined double-W monogram (as found on the gates of Balhousie Castle, Perthshire) of Field Marshal Lord Wavell beneath a viscount’s coronet. Wavell succeeded Lord Linlithgow as Viceroy of India in 1943, having been raised to the peerage as Viscount Wavell of Cyrenaica and of Winchester, in the county of Southampton earlier the same year. In fitted case and containing period embossed presentation card.
One of Wavell's first actions as Viceroy was to address the Bengal famine by ordering the army to distribute relief supplies to the starving rural Bengalis. He attempted with mixed success to increase the supplies of rice to reduce the prices. During his reign, Gandhi was leading the Quit India campaign, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was working for an independent state for the Muslims and Subhas Chandra Bose befriended the Japanese.
Although Wavell was initially popular with Indian politicians, pressure mounted concerning the likely structure and timing of an independent India. He attempted to move the debate along but received little support from home. Eventually, in 1947, Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee replaced him with Lord Mountbatten. In 1947 he was created Earl Wavell and given the additional title of Viscount Keren of Eritrea and Winchester.