World War 2 sites in Singapore – Part 2
In an earlier post, we had recommended some well known World War 2 museums and memorials. However, there are other lesser known sites scattered around the island, some of which are marked only with a plaque. Here’s some other sites you should explore.
Bukit Batok Park Memorials
The Bukit Batok Memorials were 2 memorials built by the Australian prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation. The memorial for the Japanese war dead (Syonan Chureito) was a tall tower while a shorter cross was erected in the memory of the Allied was dead. Both of these memorials were built at the top of Bukit Batok hill and a series of steps led to the top. Unfortunately, during the impending defeat of the Japanese, the memorials were destroyed to prevent them from being desecrated by allied soldiers. Today, all that is left are the steps up the hill and a marker by the NHB marking the spot. The memorial is close to the Bukit Batok nature park, where you can enjoy a nice walk. Alternatively, you can also check out the former Ford Motor Factory nearby.
Old Ford Factory
The former Ford Motors Factory, located along Bukit Timah Road, was an important motorcar plant in its heydays. However, it is famous today for being the place where on 15 February 1942, the British armed forces in Singapore formally surrendered to the invading Japanese. The board room in which the surrender took place is currently preserved. During the war, the factory was used by the Japanese army for producing vehicles for their use. It was later operated again as a manufacturing plant till 1980, after which it was converted into a museum. Today it contains maps, oral history accounts and documents about the life during the occupation. The garden of the building shows the common crops grown by residents at that time.
War Memorial Park and Esplanade Park
The War Memorial Park in the city area contains the civilian war memorial. It was built to honour the civilian victims of the World War 2. The structure consists of 4 tall pillars (which look like chopsticks) pointing at the sky. Together, these four pillars represent the major communities in Singapore affected by the war. At a walking distance from this park is the Esplanade park which contains other world war memorials such as the Cenotaph (dedicated to British soldiers for their service in both wars) and the Lim Bo Seng memorial (dedicated to Lim Bo Seng, a prominent Hokkien businessman who was instrumental in building a network to gather intelligence about the Japanese forces).
The Battle Box
Want to experience an underground military complex? Check out the Battle Box, which is an underground bunker in Fort Canning. During the Battle of Singapore, it was used as a command centre by the besieged British forces and it was here that the decision to surrender was taken. Today it has been converted to a museum and offers an authentic experience of the fateful days of 1942. Please note that visits are by guided tours only and it is helpful to book the tours in advance to avoid disappointment!
War history not your thing and you prefer something else? Check out our other suggestions!