Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Singapore History 101 - Part 4

Today we will take a short trip to Labrador Park. This park used to be called Labrador Battery, built in 1878 by the British. Labrador is located at the southern tip of Singapore, at the mouth of the Keppel Harbour. The British built here to defend the harbour. Command posts, observation positions, machine-gun posts, and ammunition storage bunkers were well concealed under thick, jungle vegetation.

In 1942, guns at Labrador Battery fired on advancing Japanese forces coming from north of the park. England assumed that Japan would attempt an invasion of Singapore from the south via the sea. However, Japanese soldiers came across bridges from Malaysia (north of Singapore) on bicycles. The British had no defense against this unexpected entry point. The guns at Labrador were not very effective pointed north due their flat trajectory. The Japanese did occupy Singapore during World War II.

Many relics from the battery remain at the park. Singapore keeps them to remember that wrong military strategy can lead to ruin. Winston Churchill called the fall of Singapore "the greatest disaster to British arms which our history records."

Here you see our group at the end of the park. The island in the background is Sentosa Island. It also has a fort, Fort Siloso, that was used to defend the harbour at one time.

Here is the group outside the tunnels used to house ammunition and troops when the park was an operational battery.

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