Bicentennial Tour: 200 Years of Defending Singapore—Mutinies, Massacres & Fortifications - 24 Aug
Price: S$80 / ticket
Singapore’s multi-faceted history reaches back over 700 years. The arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles on behalf of the British East India Company (EIC) in 1819 marked a turning point that set the island on a new trajectory, and launched it onto the global stage, which necessitated a defense strategy.
On this special military tour we will explore the fascinating story of Singapore's history of defence and the legacy that still influences our small country to this day.
Starting at Labrador Park, we'll explore the reasons behind the fortification and protection of the island in the early to mid 19th century, discussing two exisiting structures — Fort Pasir Panjang and its Sentosa based neighbour Fort Siloso. We'll also look at their role in defending Singapore in 1942.
A short drive will bring us to the Alexandra area to explore its multi-layered role in Singapore's defences starting with the early 20th-century Alexandra Barracks and the 1915 Sepoy Mutiny. We'll then move forward to the strengthening and modernising of the area in the 1920s and 1930s through the construction of nearby Gillman Barracks, which we will visit. Then we move on to the Alexandra Hospital to remember the February 1942 massacre which took place there.
Next we'll drive up Tanglin Road to see Phoenix Park and explain its role as the site of the Army Land HQ for SE Asia, after which we will pass through the Ridley Park former British Army Officers' residential area to explore the Dempsey neighbourhood. There we will discuss the importance of its past as the Tanglin Barracks, and see its firing range, barracks and Loewen Hospital, plus discover its role in the Mutiny of 1915. In more recent times, its significance to the Singapore Armed Forces, not least as a registration centre for National Service.
Our tour will end at Fort Canning to look at its many roles in both the rule and defence of Singapore — from pre-colonial times as Bukit Larangan to the site of the early colonial look out and communications centre as Flagstaff Hill, to the construction of a fort (complete with still remaining cannons!) that gives it its present name. Finally we will look at its importance in the 1920s and 30s when brand new military buildings such as the present day Fort Canning Centre and Hotel were constructed. The final stop will be to tell the story of its underground bunker, now known as the Battle Box, where you may separately join one of the afternoon tours offered there.