Previously thought to have been lost in the final days of the war, the document sheds light on the Japanese surrender of Singapore that took place a week before the official surrender ceremony.
The Japanese surrender agreement signed aboard the HMS Sussex is the latest artefact displayed at the Changi Chapel and Museum (CCM). The document is a timely addition to the exhibition at CCM this September, as we commemorate the Japanese forces’ unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers 76 years ago.
The document is displayed at CCM on a six-month loan from National Museums Scotland, which received it through a donation.
Many would be familiar with the Instrument of Surrender signed by Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander in Southeast Asia, where the official surrender ceremony was held at the Municipal Building (now called City Hall) on 12 September 1945. The signing of this document officially ended the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.
However, the terms of surrender for Singapore had been negotiated and signed a week earlier on 4 September 1945 aboard the HMS Sussex at Keppel Harbour, which effectively marked the end of the Occupation in Singapore and Malaya.
The surrender agreement was a chance discovery by assistant curator with the National Museum of Singapore, Rachel Eng, who was conducting research on Singapore's history in the National Museums Scotland's collection. The original documents were often said to be challenging to locate and only copies of the various texts could be found. This discovery is a testament to the research that curators undertake when piecing together Singapore’s history.
The National Museum of Singapore, which manages CCM, is also exploring the possibility of presenting a reproduction of the surrender agreement at CCM after its loan period.
Photo Credits: Changi Chapel and Museum
The artefact is available for viewing at CCM. Visitors are required to pre-book their museum admission tickets ahead of their visit in view of limited gallery capacity.