World War 2 sites in Singapore – Part 1
Did you know that Singapore suffered a lot during the World War 2? At the start of the World War 2, Singapore was an important British military base in Southeast Asia. It was considered heavily fortified and was termed as an “impregnable fortress”. However, once the Japanese began the Malayan campaign in December 1941, the situation rapidly deteriorated. By February 1942, despite heroic efforts to defend it, Singapore fell to the Japanese. The next few years under Japanese occupation were hard and many residents had to endure hardships, before Singapore was finally liberated.
The war years are documented in multiple museums, memorials and parks spread across the island. Take a break from the usual things to do in Singapore and explore some of the sites we think are worth visiting.
Changi Chapel and Museum
The Changi Chapel and museum commemorates the allied prisoners of war at the Changi Prison. The storyboards in the gallery contains information about life during the occupation. Artefacts from the occupation are also displayed. One of the highlights is the Changi Murals – a set of paintings originally painted during the war years which was later rediscovered. Outside the museum is a replica of the actual chapel built by the allied soldiers after being taken prisoner. There is guided tour available for those who want to learn about the occupation years in detail.
Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Housed in colonial era bungalow, the Reflections at Bukit Chandu is a museum dedicated to the Battle of Pasir Panjang. Located close to the actual battle site, it tells the story of the Malay Regiment which continued to fight despite being heavily outnumbered. The story of Adnan bin Saidi, who led the regiment, is particularly inspirational. The audiovisual shows retelling the history are worth experiencing! You can also explore the grounds of the bungalow which is home to a beautiful curated garden.
Kranji War Memorial
Located in Northern Singapore, the Kranji War Memorial is dedicated to the allied soldiers who lost their lives while defending Singapore. This solemn monument consists of a Commonwealth War Cemetery and 4 hilltop memorials. The largest of these is the Singapore memorial containing the names of those who died while fighting in Southeast Asia. Every year on Remembrance Sunday, a memorial service is held in honour of them. Also located nearby are the Kranji Military Cemetery and the State Cemetery where the first 2 presidents of Singapore are buried.
Located on the island of Sentosa, Fort Siloso was one of the original forts guarding Singapore’s harbour. Built in the 1880s, it housed coastal gun batteries intended to defend against an attack from the sea. During the world war 2 however, Japanese forces attacked from the north and the guns had to be turned and used inland against the invading forces. In recent years, it has been converted to a museum and various other coastal guns are also displayed here. For the history buffs, there are special guided tours available. Do checkout the Fort Siloso Skywalk and enjoy a walk among the treetops!