We are now #11 in Singapore – and still the top museum in Singapore

TripAdvisor rating 11th

Dear visitors to the Battlebox – thank you very much for your wonderful reviews. The Battlebox has achieved another milestone – it has climbed one spot to become #11 out of 792 “things to do in Singapore” on TripAdvisor!

Of course, it is still the #1 museum in Singapore on TripAdvisor too.

Your compliments and feedback continuously spur us on to give the best in our tours and service.

Despite the odds and the challenges, we will continue to do our very best to ensure your visit to the Battlebox is a fruitful and memorable one.

Once again, thank you for your support – your ticket price goes entirely towards paying for the maintenance and survival of the Battlebox as a crucial historical site in Singapore.

Please keep the reviews and feedback coming in!

Erroneous information about the Battlebox

Battlebox entrance 2 resized

We are aware of many visitors coming to the Battlebox Visitor Centre with erroneous information about the Battlebox – wrong opening hours, wrong website, or being unaware that one needs to enter the Battlebox through a guided tour happening at fixed times every day. You may have acquired such erroneous information from an old guidebook or third-party website which has not been updated.

This is because the current management of the Battlebox took over the place only several years ago, and is not affiliated with the previous management of the space. Now, we are in the laborious process of tracking down all guidebooks and websites presenting incorrect information about the operations of the Battlebox, and trying to get them to make the necessary corrections. In the meantime, please refer to the section on this website titled Visitor Information, for correct information about the operations of this historical site.

Thank you for your kind understanding!

If you have any queries about the Battlebox and the Battlebox Visitor Centre, feel free to drop us an email at enquiry@battlebox.com.sg.

If you have a guidebook or chanced upon a website presenting erroneous information about the Battlebox, we will like to know what it is so that we can reach out to the right parties to make the right clarifications. Please also drop us an email at enquiry@battlebox.com.sg.

Once again, thank you!

A tip when taking a taxi to the Battlebox Visitor Centre

Battlebox entrance 2 resized

We have received feedback from our visitors that many taxi drivers in Singapore are not aware of the location of the Battlebox, how to drive there, and even what the Battlebox is in the first place.

If you are taking a cab to the Battlebox Visitor Centre, we suggest telling your driver this: “Please drive to the roundabout outside the Hotel Fort Canning”.

More drivers are aware of the Hotel Fort Canning and where it is on Fort Canning Hill, so there is a better chance they can find their way there. When you are heading up the hill, please remind them to stop at the roundabout next to the entrance of the hotel, instead of heading into the hotel grounds itself.

The Battlebox Visitor Centre is right next to the roundabout (below). There, you can get your Battlebox tour tickets, find out more about the Battlebox and Fort Canning Hill, or just enjoy the air-conditioning and cool down from the tropical heat outside 🙂

Visitor Centre

“Allied nations jointly mark 75th anniversary of the fall of Singapore in ceremony”

Published online by ChannelNewsAsia, 15 February 2017

Byline: Loke Kok Fai 

SINGAPORE: While many have never experienced the horrors of war, they must never forget the lessons learned and the commitment and sacrifices of their forefathers in protecting the country and its way of life, said the chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs Vikram Nair on Wednesday (Feb 15).

Mr Nair was speaking at a ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore during World War II. The event marks the first time former Allied nations such as Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom and India are working together with Japan to organise a commemoration ceremony in the spirit of reconciliation.

“This commitment to remember the horrors of war and to defend Singapore is at the core of Total Defence,” said Mr Nair. “It is when every Singaporean is resolved to play their part, and contribute to keeping Singapore strong on all fronts, that we can be confident of safeguarding our nation and our home against different threats and challenges that come our way.”

The ceremony also honoured the sacrifices of military personnel who fought in Malaya and Singapore during the war and subsequent Occupation, as well as civilians who had lost their lives.

Among the 700 people present at the ceremony were members of the Singapore Armed Forces’ Veterans League, war veterans or former civilian internees and overseas WWII veteran associations such as the Malayan Volunteers Group and Australia’s 2/10th Field Regiment Association.

Japanese Ambassador to Singapore Kenji Shinoda said it was always painful for him and the Japanese people to look back and think about what happened in Singapore 75 years ago.

“I express my feelings of profound grief and heartfelt condolences. I believe that such feelings are shared by the overwhelming majority of Japanese,” said Mr Shinoda, who also laid a wreath at the ceremony.

Members of the Japanese community also laid paper cranes folded by students of The Japanese School Singapore. The cranes symbolise the wish to heal the wounds of war, and continue on the road of reconciliation.

A commemorative plaque for the anniversary was also unveiled by Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Lieutenant General William Rollo. This will be eventually be mounted inside the Battlebox on Fort Canning Hill – the former underground command centre of the Malaya Command during the war, and the place where the decision to surrender was made in 1942.

Why We Commemorate – Mr Jeya Ayadurai’s Concluding Remarks for the Commemoration Ceremony for the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore

Good Evening,

Mr Vikram Nair, our Guest of Honour
Your Excellencies, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners present
LG Sir William Rollo, Commissioner, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, Australia’s Vice Chief of Defence Force,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would be remiss if I did not mention our very special guests – former civilian internees and war veteran: Ms Olga Henderson, Mrs Vilma Howe and Captain Ho Weng Toh. You are the living representatives of the millions who fought and endured the Pacific War.

On behalf of the Committee (whose members are reflected on the back of your programme booklet), I thank you for your presence today – for by doing so, you honour a sacrifice, though aged by the passage of time, remains no less significant than the day it was committed 75 years ago. A sacrifice made by men and women of many nations.

Today, we commemorate a battle that was fought 75 years ago, not with the desire to glorify war, for in truth there is little in war that is positive. On the contrary, war ultimately reflects the folly of man and his failure to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, war remains an aspect of the human condition, an affliction that is unlikely to find a cure.

So why do we commemorate today?

1. To Honour Our War Dead

Around us, lies the reason. Here lie the graves of 4,500 military personnel. And behind me, are chiselled columns adorned with the names of 24,000 men and women – individuals who were denied their last rites or a funeral that would have given solace to their families, as their remains were never found or identified.

It is they, and millions like them, whom we remember today.

We commemorate, to honour our war dead, for in them we find a reprieve for Mankind. While war highlights Man’s worst attributes, war also reflects the nobility of the human spirit. The sacrifice made by the armed forces amplifies Man’s higher ideals – his innate ability to lay down his life for the protection of others – to be selfless, to make the ultimate sacrifice for Nation, Brothers-in-Arms, Home and Family.

2. To Honour Those Who Serve in Our Armed Forces Today

And through them, we honour the men and women who don a uniform to protect our societies today – they earn our respect and gratitude for their willingness to risk all to defend the vulnerable.

These ceremonies are particularly important for a young nation like Singapore, for they foster a “culture of remembrance”. They nurture an appreciation of the service rendered by thousands of National Servicemen and active/regular officers and men who serve in the Singapore Armed Forces.

3. To Bring Nations Together

Lastly, one of the high objectives of the committee was to set an example on how war commemorations can be a positive force in bringing nations together. This does not mean that the facts of history should be hidden or viewed as inconvenient.

Remembrance ceremonies should help forge greater international pathways to peace. They should heal, rather than freshly re-kindle, old wounds of a past conflict.

In that light, as a Singaporean and Southeast Asian, I had recommended to the Commonwealth members of the committee, that the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore afforded an appropriate opportunity to invite official Japanese participation in the committee. It was heartening to see unanimous support from the Commonwealth members for this view.

Japan has been an exemplary nation in the 72 years following the end of the Pacific War. A peaceful, liberal democracy, she was the engine of economic growth for many East Asian countries.

It takes courage and perseverance to forge new pathways in international relations. The invite by the committee and the Embassy of Japan’s acceptance of it to join the committee, is a significant development. It is a symbolic but important message to the world on how war commemorations can be a tool for peace.

A ceremony is a transient event. I do believe however in using something that is transient to create a permanent good outcome. I think we have achieved some of that today.

Ladies and gentlemen, by being present today, you have helped us achieve part of this greater vision.

Thank you.

Jeya Ayadurai
Chairman, Committee for the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore
Director, The Battlebox and The Changi Museum

Japan Joins the Former Allies in Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore

POST-EVENT MEDIA RELEASE, 15 FEBRUARY 2017

More than 700 VIPs, invited guests and members of the public from former World War II combatant nations came together in the spirit of reconciliation on Wednesday, 15 February 2017, to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.

Side by side, Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Japan, Australia, India and Britain – some of the former enemy combatants in Malaya and Singapore in 1941 and 1942, now close friends – laid wreaths at the CWGC Kranji War Cemetery.

This symbolic gesture, the first of its kind in a commemoration ceremony, was the result of former Allied nations, spearheaded by Singapore, working together in committee with Japan.

The Commemoration Committee recognises the fact that all nations have suffered in World War II, and after 75 years, former enemies have moved and are moving into the future as firm partners in peace.

In all, diplomats and representatives from 12 countries paid their respects at the Ceremony, which was open to the public and broadcast live to multiple TV stations in Australia and New Zealand.

The 12 countries included Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States, China, Brunei and the Netherlands.

Chairman of the Commemoration Committee, Mr Jeya Ayadurai, emphasised the importance of reconciliation amidst remembrance. He said: “One of the high objectives of the Committee was to set an example on how war commemorations can be a positive force in bringing nations together. This does not mean that the facts of history should be hidden or viewed as inconvenient.

“Remembrance ceremonies should help forge greater international pathways to peace. They should heal, rather than freshly rekindle, old wounds of a past conflict.”

Sharing his sentiment was Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Kenji Shinoda. He said: “I bow my head deeply before the souls of all those who perished and fell victim to the battles and hardships here 75 years ago.

“We must never repeat the horrors of war again.”

Diversity in Commemoration and Reconciliation

In keeping with the spirit of reconciliation, students of the Japanese School Singapore made 2,000 tsurus – paper cranes symbolising peace and reconciliation – which members of the Japanese community laid at the Ceremony.

Members of the Japanese community also turned up at the event, just as they did in September 2015 during the Commemoration Ceremony for the 70th Anniversary of the End of the Pacific War.

The diversity of the Ceremony is reflected in its organisers, the Commemoration Committee – it comprises Singapore and the Commonwealth nations, Japan, public and private sector bodies, and youth organisations.

The Catafalque Party was made up of Singapore National Cadet Corps officers and Australian soldiers from Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB).

The buglers playing the Last Post for the Ceremony were from the Singapore Armed Forces, and an Australian from RCB; the bagpipers playing The Lament were from the Gurkhas of the Singapore Police Force and RCB.

The readers of poems for reflection on war and peace were from Singapore (Singapore Civil Defence Force), and the British, Australian and Canadian High Commissions. Even the musical accompaniment was a Singaporean string trio, Grace Notes, while the choir was from Dulwich College.

Veterans and Current Defenders Honoured – Unveiling of a Commemorative Plaque

The Ceremony also honoured the sacrifices of all military personnel who had fought in Malaya and Singapore, civilians who had lost their lives during the War and subsequent Occupation, and current defenders of Singapore.

Unveiled at the event was a Commemorative Plaque for the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, dedicated to the 137,000 men and women of Malaya Command (the army which defended Malaya and Singapore during World War II), and Singaporean men and women in uniform today. A Commissioner of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Lieutenant-General Sir William Rollo, had the honour of doing so.

The Plaque will be mounted inside the Battlebox, a former Underground Command Centre in Fort Canning Hill for Malaya Command during WWII, the place where the decision to surrender Singapore was made on 15 February 1942.

On that day, the fateful decision was made to surrender Malaya Command and its 120,000 men and women to the invading Japanese. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill later called the surrender “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”. The event sent shockwaves around the world as Singapore was previously known as an “impregnable fortress” and the “Gibraltar of the East”.

Witnessing the Plaque unveiling were members of the Singapore Armed Forces’ Veterans League, and overseas World War II veteran associations such as the Malayan Volunteers Group and Australia’s 2/10th Field Regiment Association.

Also present were two former civilian internees in Singapore during World War II, Ms Olga Henderson and Ms Vilma Howe; the pair were aged only 10 and 12 respectively when they were incarcerated. Seated with them was Captain Ho Weng Toh, 97, the last surviving Flying Tiger in Southeast Asia. The Flying Tigers were American Volunteer Group pilots who fought the Japanese in China during World War II.

Guest-of-Honour Vikram Nair, Member of Parliament for Singapore’s Sembawang Group Representation Constituency and Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs, said: “We remember and honour our pioneers who endured the war, and helped to build Singapore to what it is today.

“The war instilled in them a deep resolve to protect what they called their own. (Hence) it is fitting that we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of National Service this year. This is a sacred and important duty that all Singapore Sons (and Daughters) have to carry.”

The solemn Ceremony also featured, among other things, silent prayers by religious leaders for the war dead, and an observance of two minutes of silence. A Remembrance Bell was rung five times to signify each year of the Pacific War from 1941 to 1945.

The Ceremony was brought to a rousing end by the singing of Singapore’s National Anthem, Majulah Singapura, a fitting reminder that the defence of Singapore today lies in the hands of Singaporeans.

For photos of the event, check out the Battlebox’s Instagram page here.

Battle of Singapore promotion

Surrender

To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore on 15 February, the Battlebox is having a special promotion for its Story of Strategy & Surrender™ tour. From 15 to 28 February 2017, enjoy a special price of $15 for an Adult tour ticket (usual price $18)!

To enjoy this special price, you need to register for the tour beforehand. Please email enquiry@battlebox.com.sg and include the phrase “LEST WE FORGET” in the email head or body to enjoy the promotion. This promotion is open to all visitors and spaces are limited, so register today!

Validity date: 15-28 February 2017

Tour time slots (subject to availability):
Mondays: 1.30pm, 2.45pm, 4pm.
All other days: 9.45am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2.45pm, 4pm.

Terms and conditions:
– This promotion is valid from 15-28 February 2017 only and is subject to availability.
– Please register at least 24 hours in advance.
– This promotion is limited to four Adult tickets per registration, and all names of the tour participants are to be listed in the email.
– Registration is confirmed only after you have received a confirmation email from the Battlebox Team. Please come at least 15 minutes before the start of your tour to the Battlebox Visitor Centre to make payment and collect your tickets.
– This promotion is not valid with other discounts, vouchers or membership privileges.
– The Battlebox Team reserves the right to close a particular slot without advance notice.

Commemoration Ceremony for the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore

75th anniversary Poster

Next Wednesday, 15 February, will be the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore during World War II – an event that changed history.

On 15 February 1942, Malaya Command, the Allied army which defended Malaya and Singapore during World War II, surrendered to the invading Japanese 25th Army in Singapore.

To mark this historic occasion, the Commemoration Committee for the 75thAnniversary of the Fall of Singapore will be organising a Commemoration Ceremony on Wednesday, 15 February 2017, at Kranji War Cemetery at 4.30pm. 

This will be the first time former Allied nations, including Singapore, are working together with Japan to organise a Commemoration Ceremony in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.

The Ceremony will honour the sacrifices of all military personnel who had fought in Malaya and Singapore during the War, civilians who had lost their lives during the War and subsequent Occupation, and the contributions of men and women in uniform who safeguard Singapore’s security today.

The Ceremony is open to the public, so all are welcome.