No regular Battlebox tours for the morning of 25 May only

thewarbulletin-battlebox

The Battlebox will be closed to regular The Story of Strategy & Surrender tours on the morning of Wednesday, 25 May.

That means the usual 9.45am and 11am tours will not take place.

This is to allow school groups to visit the Battlebox en-masse.

The Battlebox will be open again to regular tours in the afternoon, for the usual 1.30pm, 2.45pm and 4pm tours.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Educating the next generation on our history is one of our sacred duties, and that is what we will be doing on the morning of 25 May!

Anzac Day

poppy

To our friends from Australia and New Zealand – have a blessed Anzac Day.

May the sacrifices of all men and women in war never be forgotten.

Anzac Day (25 April) is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.

25 April is the date of the start of the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign in 1915 during the First World War, in what is now northwest Turkey. The campaign saw the deaths of more than 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders, and marked the birth of national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand.

Lest we forget…

The Battlebox will still open on Labour Day

thewarbulletin-battlebox

For Singapore, 1 May (Sunday) is a public holiday – Labour Day. Since the public holiday is a Sunday, the following day, 2 May (Monday), is also a public holiday.

For both days, the Battlebox and Visitor Centre will be OPEN for business as usual, with five tour slots on Sunday, and three slots on Monday, as per normal. Please come and visit us!

However, for the 2.5-hour Of Graves, Guns & Battles tour, it will NOT be held on 2 May (Monday). This tour will resume on 5 May (Thursday).

Cheers!

Call for research material

walk to ford factory

We are constantly working hard to improve the Battlebox experience and acquire fresh artefacts, archival material and wartime oral accounts, in order to attain more information about the Battlebox during WWII, and also to better tell the story of how and why Singapore fell in 1942.

If you have anything to contribute or share with us, be it original artefacts, old documents or wartime experiences, please email the Battlebox research team at eisen@shc.com.sg.

Thank you very much!

The Battlebox will reopen in phases

thewarbulletin-battlebox

Welcome to the Battlebox!

After closing for a couple of years for renovations and infrastructural works, the Battlebox reopened with a soft launch on 13 February 2016.

In Phase 1 of reopening, the bunker will be open for English-language guided tours by a team of professional docents.

The official launch of the Battlebox will take place on 28 June 2016. More details will be revealed at a later time.

After that, Phase 2 of the reopening of the Battlebox will kick in, allowing the admission of free-and-easy visitors together with multimedia guides. We will also progressively install more exhibits and artefacts.

Phase 3, around the end of the year or in early 2017, will see us introducing 3D and 4D experiences depicting air, land and sea battles over Malaya and Singapore.

It’s an exciting time to work at the Battlebox!

 

Getting it right: Our TripAdvisor page

tripadvisor

The Battlebox’s TripAdvisor page has been receiving very good reviews so far – and we have YOU to thank for all your kind words of support and encouragement so far!

Please note, however, that our page’s name is “Battlebox” – ONE word. There is another TripAdvisor page out there with the name “Battle Box” – two words – and that is NOT the correct page, run by us. Please do not leave reviews or feedback there.

Thank you!

 

An FAQ in 60 seconds

thewarbulletin-battlebox

The Battlebox is a former WWII-era underground command centre inside Fort Canning Hill, a hill in the heart of Singapore City.

It was there that the British made the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942.

Today, the Singapore History Consultants organises daily guided tours into the Battlebox to 1) relive the strategies and battles that led to the decision to surrender; 2) show you how a WWII underground command centre functioned in the past.

See below for more information on the tours, and how to get tickets. Thank you and have a great time reliving history in the Battlebox!

“Fall of Singapore retold at Battlebox museum”

Published in The Straits Times print edition, 18 February 2016

Byline: Melody Zaccheus

The British delegation on Feb 15, 1942, was a picture of dejection. The team, including interpreter Cyril Wild, had been sent to surrender to the invading Japanese forces at the Ford Factory in Bukit Timah.

Spotting the media filming the event, Major Wild, looking distressed and ashamed, chucked aside the white flag he had carried to the meeting.

This fleeting but poignant World War II moment is on show at the Battlebox museum in Fort Canning.

The footage is part of a new tour rolled out by the Singapore History Consultants aimed at giving visitors a deeper understanding of the frame of mind the defending forces were in, and the events that led to the largest military defeat of British and Commonwealth forces in Britain’s military history.

The 1936 Battlebox bunker itself, which has undergone a year-long $300,000 makeover, was the site where British commanders had gathered at 9.30am that morning to weigh their options.

The group included Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, who commanded the forces of the British Commonwealth at that time.

It took all of 15 minutes for them to decide to surrender as they had been cornered by the Japanese across land, air and sea.

Mr Razeen Chan, the director of research and consultancy at Singapore History Consultants, said: “The Japanese had 600 superior airplanes compared to the British’s 181 aircraft. The invading forces had pounded Singapore hard…”

The guided tours at the Battlebox, priced at $18 for adults and $9 for children, will take visitors through facts and figures such as the strength of the Japanese infantry, as well as the effort and money poured into the defence of Singapore.

The 9m-deep underground labyrinth was the nerve centre for military operations during WWII. It is slated to officially reopen on March 28.

The first round of works had addressed issues such as leaks. New generators and an air-conditioning system have been installed too.

Singapore History Consultants director Jeya Ayadurai said it is hoping for “government support” in rolling out additional improvements to the space.

This includes an additional $100,000 in funding to provide multimedia guides, and another $350,000 to fit the place with 3D and ambient technologies over the next two years.

Visitors can sign up for sneak previews of its tours from now till March 20.

The effort to breathe new life into the bunker ties in with the National Parks Board’s move to rejuvenate and draw more visitors to Fort Canning Park, which it manages.

Traces of an ancient Malay kingdom as well as gravestones of Singaporean pioneers lie there.

Mr Jeya hopes the authorities will look into protecting the area as well as awarding the historic bunker national monument status.

He expects the bunker to draw between 40,000 and 44,000 visitors in the first year.

Briton Peter Stubbs, 71, an amateur historian, who went on a tour on Tuesday, said he hopes the operator will add more depth to the experience as well as stories about key characters such as Lt-Gen Percival. “He was always seen as someone useless but he was quite a brave soldier,” he said.