The Battle of Singapore: Special-Access Tours To Lesser Known Sites With Historical Significance



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Travel back in time to the Fall of Singapore in 1942, as the National Heritage Board’s annual Battle for Singapore returns with an immersive series of related activities and programmes.

Photo Credits: National Heritage Board (Photo taken pre-Covid)

Date: 12 Feb - 6 Mar 2022

Battle of Singapore is an annual National Heritage Board (NHB) programme to commemorate the anniversary of the fall of Singapore through a series of activities and programmes to provide Singaporeans an opportunity to reflect on how our nation came to be, and how far we have come. 

This year's edition is especially significant as we mark 80 years since the fall of Singapore in 1942. Battle for Singapore 2022 will include special access tours to lesser-known sites that hold historical significance in our nation’s World War II (WWII) history. Explore WWII sites such as 179 Piccadilly (Former Station Headquarters of Royal Air Force Seletar), Old Changi Hospital and Dempsey Hill, where vestiges of the war remain hidden in plain sight amid the ever-modernising Singapore landscape. Families may also visit the NHB’s Museum Roundtable (MR) members such as Changi Chapel & Museum, Reflections at Bukit Chandu, and Former Ford Factory to discover the stories of WWII. 

More Information & Registration 

Vsit Battle for Singapore 2022 for more information and to sign up for the programmes. Registration for tours and programmes commences 10 February 2022, Thursday, at 10am, on a first-come first-served basis.

Battle of Singapore 2022 Programmes

The diverse programme line-up will consist of a total of more than 70 tour runs,
programme sessions and activities offered by NHB in partnership with MR members, citizen historians and heritage enthusiasts.

Here are some of the highlights that families can look forward to. 

179 Piccadilly Tour

Date: 12* 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 February, and 5, 6* March 2022
Time: 10am – 11.30am, 2pm – 3.30pm
Price: $10 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian
(* Afternoon session only)

179 Piccadilly was the Station Headquarters and one of the earliest permanent buildings at Royal Air Force (RAF) Seletar. During WWII, the squadrons of planes based at RAF Seletar defended Malaya and Singapore, and the building was targeted by Japanese air raids on the airbase. It was subsequently occupied by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Japanese Occupation. This tour of 179 Piccadilly will uncover the lesser known stories of the airbase including Singapore’s pre-war aviation history as well as the role of the RAF and the dynamics of airpower in the lead up to the Battle of Singapore.

Transport will be provided from an MRT station located nearby to the site and back. Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com.

WWII Walking Tour by Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital Heritage Gallery

Date: 13, 20 February 2022 [English Tour]
Date: 26 February, 5 March 2022 [Mandarin Tour]
Time: 9am – 11am
Price: $5 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

WWII was a period filled with heartwarming acts of mutual help and thrilling scenes of survival. During the Japanese Occupation, one of the Sook Ching screening centres was located at Jalan Besar. Prior to that, it was a major fundraising site for the Sino-Japanese War. Join Lee Kok Leong in this morning walk from Lavender MRT to Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, where he will share more about the lesser-known facts about the Jalan Besar neighbourhood during WWII, including where Mr Lee Kuan Yew was believed to have hid
from the Japanese after he was ordered to be screened. 

Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com.

Dempsey Hill Tour (Former Tanglin Barracks)

Photo Credits: National Heritage Board

Date: 12 February, 5 March 2022
Time: 9am – 10.30am
Price: $5 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Dempsey Hill is now a destination for its culinary offerings. But did you know that it has a military history dating back to the mid-19th century? The grounds contain a number of reminders of its much-storied military past, including that from WWII. A former military hospital on the grounds contains a tale of great fortune and conversely, misfortune, and in the former garrison church, a story of great fortitude.

Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com. More details on the gathering point will be sent to participants upon registration.

Gillman Barracks Tour

Photo Credits: National Heritage Board

Date: 12, 19, 26 February, 5 March
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Price: $5 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Did you know that Gillman Barracks was the site of a fierce battle during the battle for Singapore in February 1942? Presented by Friends of the Museums (FOM), this tour traces the rich heritage and history of Gillman Barracks, which once housed the British Army’s military men and their families. Through anecdotes as well as structures that still stand today, uncover the site’s colourful pre-war and wartime history. Take this opportunity to also learn about later developments such as its conversion into a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training ground and subsequent transformation into an arts hub.

Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com. More details on the gathering point will be sent to participants upon registration.

Alexandra Hospital Tour

Date: 19, 26 February 2022
Time: 10am – 11am, 1 pm – 2pm
Price: $5 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Take a guided walk in the historic campus of Alexandra Hospital at 378 Alexandra Road and learn about the hospital’s beginnings under the British colonial administration as well as its fate shortly before Singapore fell on 15 February 1945. Find out more about its state during and after the Japanese Occupation and take a glimpse of the long-standing structures while listening to little-known stories based on accounts of veterans and their families. 

Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com. More details on the gathering point will be sent to participants upon registration.

WWII Japanese Administration in Singapore Walking Tour 

Date: 20, 27 February 2022
Time: 4pm – 5pm
Price: $5 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Have you ever wondered what life in the heart of the city was like during the Japanese Occupation? Join this tour to learn more about the WWII history of some of our beloved buildings in the Civic District and the different nodes of the Japanese administration that were set up in Singapore under the Japanese Occupation.

During this hour-long walk you will also be introduced to some of the figures who shaped the lives of Singaporeans during the war and learn about the Japanese plan to transform the city into a “nerve centre” of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. 

The tour will start at Raffles Place MRT (Exit A), Ground Level and end at the Civilian War Memorial. Registration and more details at https://bsg2022.peatix.com.

The Happiness Box Story Narration 

Date: 19 February 2022
Time: 3pm – 3.30pm, 4pm – 4.30pm (2 sessions)
Venue: Changi Chapel, Changi Chapel and Museum
Price: $10 per adult-child pair. Suitable for families with children aged 5 and up. (Admission fees to CCM apply separately for non-Singaporeans/Permanent Residents)

Find out more about the inspirational story behind the creation of The Happiness Box, a tale originally written in 1942 for the children who were interned in Changi Prison, in this engaging narration of the picture book The Happiness Box: A Wartime Book of Hope by Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean, presented by the Storytelling Centre Limited.

This will be followed by a dramatised re-telling of the original book by David Griffin and Leslie Greener (based on the adaptation by Bryony Marks), where three best friends – a lizard, a monkey and a frog – find a magical box and journey through the jungle to discover the secret of happiness.

Each ticket admits one child and one adult (parent or grandparent) only. Interested parties can register at https://CCM-happinessbox22.peatix.com.

Letters from Blakang Mati 

Date: Every Saturday & Sunday (beginning 19 February 2022)
Time: 10am – 12.30pm
Venue: Fort Siloso
Price: $32.10 per pax

Learning comes to life through a guided puzzle hunt that gamifies exploration and challenges wits as guests uncover Fort Siloso through an immersive tour experience. With the help of Pepper our dinosaur mascot, guests will uncover letters written for the wartime generals as they explore Fort Siloso. 

Pepper's Grandfather, Paprika used to be a mailman in the army. He has requested for your help to retrieve several letters hidden around Fort Siloso and finally hand them to their intended recipients. The letters will reveal first-hand accounts of Singapore in its various stages of war.

Interested parties can register at https://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/things-to-
do/events/letters-from-blakang-mati/. This tour is part of SentoSights, a series of 10+ sustainability and heritage themed tours at Sentosa. 

Curator Tour of Dislocations: The Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942 

Date: 26 February 2022
Time: 3pm – 4pm
Meeting point: Exhibition Gallery 1, Basement Level, National Museum of Singapore
Price: $15 per participant, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by a parent/guardian

Join our curator on an exclusive tour of Dislocations: The Memory and Meaning of the Fall of Singapore, 1942, as they share their insight on the objects and stories on display, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the exhibition came together.

Interested parties can register at https://dislocations-curatortour1.peatix.com.

Interactive Storytelling: Timmy & Tammy Talking to Grandpa about the War

Date: 12 March 2022
Time: 10.15am, 2pm, 3.30pm (45 mins per session)
Venue: The Salon (Level 1), National Museum of Singapore
Price: $10 per adult-child pair. Suitable for families with children aged 5 to 9.

In this storytelling session based on the popular children’s book Timmy & Tammy Talking to Grandpa about the War, children will learn about banana money and food ration cards that were used during the Japanese Occupation in Singapore, and speak with Great-grandma, who lived through WWII. After the session, explore the National Museum’s Surviving Syonan gallery in your own time with the help of a list of highlights. 

Each ticket admits one child and one adult (parent or grandparent) only. Limited to 21 adult-child pairs due to Safe Management Measures. 

Interested parties can register at https://familyfunnms.peatix.com.

Twinned Tour: Battle of Pasir Panjang and Reflections at Bukit Chandu 

Date: 12 February 2022
Time: 9am – 11.30am, 11.30am – 2pm (2 sessions)
Price$20 per participant, participants must be aged 13 and above. Ticket price includes a multi-sited tour as well as one piece of RBC merchandise per person.

Explore both Reflections at Bukit Chandu (RBC) and key sights of Pasir Panjang and Kent Ridge, and find out more about the last stand of the Malay Regiment during WWII in Singapore, as well as the story of Bukit Chandu itself. 

The tour starts at Kent Ridge, where heritage researcher Sarafian Salleh will trace the route taken by Japanese imperial forces and the 1st Malay Regiment led by Lieutenant Adnan Saidi during the Battle of Pasir Panjang in 1942. Continue on to a docent-guided tour of RBC, which presents a multi-faceted look at Bukit Chandu and Pasir Panjang, while inviting participants to reflect on our nation’s wartime experience and the brave sacrifice of the soldiers. 

Interested parties can register at https://RBC1-pasirpanjang22.peatix.com. More details about the meeting point will be shared with participants upon registration.

History through Comics: Lieutenant Adnan and the Last Regiment

Date: 13 Feb 2022
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Multipurpose Room, Level 2, Reflections at Bukit Chandu
Price: $10 per participant. Ticket price includes sharing session, workshop, and
one set of colouring materials per person. Suitable for 11 years and up

Hear from Danny Jalil and Zaki Ragman, the creators of Lieutenant Adnan and the Last Regiment as they share about the inspiration and creative process behind this engaging comic book. Then, get a chance to tell your own story about the Malay Regiment through the medium of comics in a hands-on workshop guided by Zaki Ragman.

Interested parties can register at https://RBC-comic22.peatix.com.

When it was Syonan-To Dramatised Tour 

Date: 12, 26 February 2022
Time: 12pm and 2pm
Venue: Singapore Discovery Centre
Price: $10 per person (Members), $12 per person (non-Members).  Suitable for 5 years and up

It is 1942 and Singapore has fallen to the Japanese. Singapore is renamed Syonan-To, meaning “Light of the South Island”. Lives are plunged into chaos and you must beat the odds to survive. You meet a pair of fellow survivors who ask you for your help to locate a missing sister and other essential items for survival. Would you be able to survive the Japanese Occupation? Would you be able to help them out? 

Interested parties can register at https://www.sdc.com.sg/when-it-was-syonanto/.


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This article is prepared by

Jiarong Yu
Daddy to 2 adorable little ones. Misses them the moment they are not around, regrets missing them the moment they are around.

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