World War II Sites and Memorials

Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, during World War II. On 15 February, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival signed the truce agreement in the boardroom of the Ford Factory at Bukit Timah, thus surrendering Singapore to the Japanese forces. Thousands of civilians and Allied troops were killed or wounded during the war and the 31/2 years of Japanese Occupation. These harrowing years remained deeply etched in the minds and hearts of the civilians, Allied troops and their families who were taken as prisoners-of-war. Yet their collective spirit strengthened their determination to live and survive.

The Japanese surrender in Singapore took place on 12 September 1945 in City Hall, where thousands of Singaporeans and Allied soldiers crowded The Padang to witness the event. This marked the end of the Japanese Occupation and closed the chapter of World War II in Singapore. The heroics and poignant memories of the people who served the Allied forces and resisted the Japanese domination have not been forgotten. These historic World War II sites and memorials serve to remind later generations of the battles fought and the hardships that the people suffered during the war years.

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Battle Box

Tucked into the hillside of Fort Canning is The Battle Box, the largest underground command centre of the British Malaya Command Headquarters during World War II. Comprising 22 rooms linked by a corridor, this complex is bomb-proof and was also capable of recycling its own air supply. The Battle Box has undergone extensive restoration and through the use of special audio-visual effects, and high-quality animatronics, visitors are able to relive the morning of 15 February 1942 when Singapore fell to the Japanese.

Open:
10am - 6pm (Tue - Sun and public holidays). Last entry is at 5pm.
Admission:
SGD 8 adults, SGD 5 children (under 12 years)
Approximate Touring Time:
1 hour
Location:
51 Canning Rise Singapore 179872
Tel:
(65) 6333 0510
Fax:
(65) 6333 0590
Getting There: Take the MRT to Dhoby Ghaut Station (NS24) and walk uphill past Park Mall and towards Fort Canning Road.

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Changi Chapel and Museum

The Changi Museum was relocated to its new home on 15 February 2001. It replaces the former Changi Prison Chapel and Museum (built in 1988) that had to make way for the expansion of the Changi Prison. In honouring the spirit and commitment of those who rose from the depths of adversity, the Museum inspires future generations to come and deepen their appreciation of the heroic and inspirational stories that took place in Changi. The Changi Museum is dedicated to all those who lived and died in Singapore, in particular the Changi area, during the dark years of World War II.

Through documentation of significant events of the Japanese Occupation, the Museum functions as an important educational institution and resource centre. As for the Prisoners-of-War (POWs) and their families, it is a site that allows closure of the many emotional scars of the war years. The Changi Chapel, housed within the open-air courtyard of the new museum, is a representative replica of the many chapels that were built during World War II. Today, it stands as a monument for those who would not buckle under Japanese rule, and who kept their faith and dignity in the face of seemingly hopeless odds.

Letters, photographs, drawings and personal effects in the museum tell a horrific story of over three years of war and imprisonment for more than 50,000 civilians and soldiers in Changi. From the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 till the Japanese surrender in September 1945, life was a daily struggle against humiliation, loss of freedom, hunger and disease. Yet it was here, where conditions were at their worst, that we hear of stories that were heroic, touching, and most of all, inspirational. The highlight within is a series of magnificent wall paintings called The Changi Murals, painstakingly recreated from the originals painted by Bombardier Stanley Warren. Visitors are also able to view screenings of videos such as 'Changi Through The Eyes of Haxworth' and 'Elizabeth Choy'. Tucked in a quiet corner of the museum is 'The Changi University', a research area that houses a collection of rare books and literature depicting life during the war years.

Next to the museum is 'The Bark Cafe', an open-air restaurant where one can relax, unwind and enjoy fine dining with family and friends. The restaurant offers a range of food based on cosmopolitan cuisine; ala carte menus and a good range of beverages are available. There are Sunday services conducted by various church groups at the Changi Chapel every Sunday at 9.30am and 5.30pm. Visitors are welcome to join these services.

Open:
9.30am to 4.30pm (daily unless otherwise advised)
Admission:Free.
Approximate Touring Time:
1 hour
Location:
1000 Upper Changi Road North, Singapore 507707
Tel:
(65) 6214 2451
Fax:
(65) 6214 1179

Email:
changi_museum@pacific.net.sg
Website:
http://www.changimuseum.com
Getting there: Take SBS bus 2 from Tanah Merah MRT station (EW4). Alight at the bus stop right in front of Changi Chapel and Museum (after Changi Women's Prison/Drug Rehabilitation Centre). Click here to view MRT route map. 

(Visitors wishing to view the Changi Murals at nearby Changi Camp have to write in to the Public Affairs Department, MINDEF at fax: (65) 6764 6119 for approval.)

More information:
In-house tours are available to visitors (at SGD$6.00 and SGD$3.00 per adult and child respectively) with the first tour from 10.00am and the last tour at 3.45pm. Group tours/bookings can also be arranged by contacting The Changi Museum Pte Ltd at tel: (65) 6214 2451.

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Civilian War Memorial

Also known as the "chopsticks", this structure was built to honour the civilians killed during the Japanese Occupation. The four white pillars measure 10 metres in height and symbolise the Chinese, Eurasians, Indians and Malays who died in the war. A memorial service is held at this site on 15 February every year to commemorate the Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942.

Location:
Memorial Park, Beach Road
Getting There:
A short walk from City Hall MRT Station (EW13/NS25).

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Fort Siloso

When the British colonised Singapore in the 1870s, the new harbour (Keppel Harbour) saw the expansion of activities that risked being rampaged by invaders and pirates. It was decided that a fort would be sited at the western end of a small island called Pulau Blakang Mati (now known as Sentosa), so Fort Siloso, the first of such fortification, was born. A series of forts were built in the following years. There was at a time, when up to 12 coastal artillery batteries guarded Singapore’s shores. Today, Fort Siloso remains as Singapore’s sole preserved coastal fortification. During World War II, actual 6-inch guns were deployed at Fort Siloso to defend the Singapore Harbour. However, these failed to defend Singapore from Japanese invasion, as the Japanese launched a full-force land attack, in contrary to a naval invasion that the British had anticipated. The fort was used as a Prisoners-of-War camp during the Japanese Occupation and later became a transit camp for the Royal Naval and Marine personnel when Singapore returned to British rule in September 1945.

In 1975, Fort Siloso was opened as a historical site-cum-gun museum. It was restored and re-opened in 1993. It currently holds one of the largest collections of real guns in Asia. Some of the guns on site were originals which have been salvaged while others include those found on other gun batteries in Singapore. Marvel at the amazing array of guns and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Fort Siloso as you venture through the tunnels and lookout points, featuring fibreglass soldiers in action in their barracks, cookhouse, tailor shop and guard house, amongst others.


Open:
9am - 7pm (daily). Last admission at 6.30pm.
Admission
: SGD 5 adults, SGD 3 children
Approximate Touring Time
: 1 hour 30 minutes
Location
: 33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa Singapore 099981
Tel:
(65) 6275 0388
Fax:
(65) 6275 0161
E-mail:
administrator@sentosa.com.sg
Website
: Fort Siloso (http://www.sentosa.com.sg/a_fort.htm)
Getting There:
Take Sentosa Bus from the World Trade Centre Bus Terminal or Tiong Bahru MRT. On Sentosa, take the monorail to Station M3 or by bus on Blue or Green Lines and transfer to Fort Train.
Accessibility for the physically disabled at Fort Siloso:
Rental of wheelchairs are available free of charge. However, you are advised to contact Customer Service at Tel: (65) 6275 8306 for prior arrangements. A handicapped toilet is located near the entrance of the Fort.

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Johore Battery

The Johore Battery is a gun emplacement site that consists of a labyrinth of tunnels that was used to store ammunition to support three monster guns that could fire 15-inch shells. Built by the British in 1939 for the defence of Singapore, the guns were the largest installed outside Britain during WWII. The guns were destroyed before the surrender of the British army and the tunnels were sealed up after the war. Their location remained a secret until the Singapore Prisons Department rediscovered them in April 1991.

Today a replica of the monster gun and 15-inch shell sit at the Johore Battery.

Open:
9am - 5pm (Mon to Fri)
Admission:
Free
Approximate Touring Time:
30 minutes
Location:
Cosford Road, off Upper Changi Road North.
Tel:
(65) 6546 9897
Getting There:
Take SBS Bus 2 from Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4) and alight at the bus stop opposite Selarang Camp. Alternatively, take a taxi.

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Kranji War Memorial

Kranji War Memorial honours the men from Britain, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India, Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who gave their lives for freedom in World War II. Marked graves of 4,000 servicemen who died during the Japanese Occupation stand in neat rows on manicured lawns. Another 24,000 names of soldiers and airforce men who died but whose bodies were never recovered are inscribed on 12 columns.

Kranji War Cemetery began as a hospital burial ground during the Japanese Occupation and became a military cemetery after the war. Bodies of servicemen buried in other parts of Singapore were exhumed and reburied here. The area is also the burial ground of Singapore's first two presidents.


Open:
7am - 6pm (daily)
Location:
9 Woodlands Road
Getting There:
Take SBS bus 170 from Rochor Road or take the MRT to Kranji Station (NS7) and it is a 5-minute walk away.

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Reflections at Bukit Chandu

Go back in time to 1942 when 1,400 soldiers of the Malay Regiment made their stand against 13,000 Japanese soldiers, choosing death over dishonour. Allow Pepper's Ghost to bring you through the Battle of Pasir Panjang and walk through the Galleries displaying exhibits of photographs, maps, dates and information detailing the Defence of Malaya and life in the Malay Regiment. Set amidst the lush greenery of Bukit Chandu (Opium Hill), this interpretive centre is a memorial to the last moments of these brave soldiers of WWII and a place to reflect on their courage, the cost of war and the price of peace.

Open:
9am - 5pm (Tue - Sun)
Admission:
Adult SGD2, Child (under 6 years old) SGD1, Family (admits 5, max 2 adults) SGD5
Approximate Touring Time:
2 hours
Location:
31-K Pepys Road, Singapore 118458.
Tel:
(65) 6338 7978
Fax:
(65) 6339 3583
Getting There:
Take SBS Bus 10, 30, 51, 143 or TIBS Bus 176, 188. Alternatively, take a taxi from Buona Vista MRT Station (EW21) or Redhill MRT Station (EW18).
Website:
www.s1942.org.sg/bukit_chandu/directory.htm

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  Information provided by Singapore Tourism Board.

 

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