Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Guns at Changi and Labrador Singapore


1942. What?  Singapore will fall to the Japanese? The British, upper lipped and all, were confident that Singapore was a impenetrable fortress. The Japanese would come from the sea. All efforts will be made to protect Singapore Harbour from the sea. All guns were to point South. The Royal Artillery was one up in coastal batteries in Singapore. The 7th and 9th Coastal Artillery Regiments were to be equipped with 15 and 8 inches coastal guns, whilst the standard RA coastal and CB guns were only 9.5 inches.
The British commanded all Coastal batteries, Search Light Batteries and Observation Batteries  from Changi Fire Command HQ. The gun batteries were at Changi, Pasir Laba, Labrador and Fort Siloso( Pulau Belakang Mati)

Gun Platforms in Changi

Gun Platform in Labrador

Tunnels like this linkup to all the gun platforms

But the Japanese came from across the causeway in Johore.

Colonel (Rtd) Leslie Terh and I visited the gun positions in Changi and Labrador to see for ourselves the monster guns as they were called.

The 15 inch gun is really awesome. 16.5 metres barrel, an impressive range of 30 km and a shell weighing 800 kg. It will sink any ship with its armour piecing warhead. The guns in Changi were placed on rail tracks traversing 270 degrees. Whilst the guns in Labrador were fixed seawards. The shells would have to be loaded using hydraulic lifts.

Each gun was placed in a solid embankment with tunnels for ammunition and administration.

Our visit had actually triggered my immediate interest in the coastal guns. I googled for more information and I was amazed that there are lots of websites and blogs about these batteries and the guns. It is also very interesting that the 15 inch guns at Changi were called Johore Battery because the guns were paid for by the Sultan of Johore in 1939.

Johore Battery

 The question in mind now is, shouldn't the Johore Battery be included in our own gunner  history? Why only the Balakang Mati Battery? Should we not do more research on the Johore Battery?

Let us do more honour and justice to the Johore Battery as with Lt Adnan from the Royal Malay Regiment.

Thanks Leslie for showing me around. Lets visit Fort Siloso next.

Allen Lai

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