Tanglin Barracks

From a nutmeg plantation to a military camp established in the mid-19th century, the region of Tanglin has transformed much throughout its history.

Intended for accommodation for the European troops, Colonel George Chancellor Collyer gave the approval for the construction of Tanglin Barracks in 1861.

The military camp consists of three main blocks (71 to 73) along Loewen Road. The design of the military barracks contains a mixture of colonial and local flavours, with huge roofs that provide good ventilation during hot and humid weather.

The government renovated and strengthened the structure of the large military barracks in 1934, but preserved the square pillars and their French roof tilings.

The Ministry of Defence and the Central Manpower Base were located here from 1972 to 1989. The camp has also previously housed important military facilities such as The Medical Classification Centre, Officers’ Personnel Centre, Naval Training Department and SAF Careers Centre.

By the early nineties, Tanglin Camp was decommissioned and handed over to the former Land Office before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took over in 2001.

After the former Land Office took over the camp, some parts of Tanglin were leased out to the private sector. Sensing a great potential in this region in 2006, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) came up with a lifestyle theme for this site, where wine, fine dining, education and arts businesses flourished together. It is now known as the Tanglin Village, which also includes the Dempsey Cluster and the Minden Cluster.

One of the exhibition sites of the Singapore Biennale 2006 was held at Tanglin Camp. Several art items, such as painting and artistic furniture, were displayed at the 71st to 73rd blocks of the military barracks.

Most of the roads in Tanglin were named after the military barracks’ commanding officers of the pre-independence era. Ridout, Lewin, Harding, Sherwood, Dempsey and Malcolm are some of the examples.

Like Seletar, Sembawang and Portsdown, there are also many black and white colonial houses in Tanglin, especially in the Dempsey region. These houses were built in the 1920s mostly for the accommodation of the military officers and their families.

Published: 31 January 2011

Updated: 08 August 2013

160 Responses to Tanglin Barracks

  1. Derek Smith says:

    Does anyone have any maps or photographs around 1955 – 57 of the long defunct Royal Signals Tape Relay Station complex & Sampan Cinema on what was then Barrack road, but is now Harding road. The only refererence left is the ” White Rabbit Restaurant ” which was formerly the Military Ebernezer Chapel. – . Amazingly neither the British Army nor the Singapore archives have proven very useful so far ! – Any information or suggestions will be gratefully accepted. – Best regards Derek Smith

    • Hi Derek, I’m not sure if there are any better alternatives than the ones you have mentioned (esp the Singapore Archives)…
      perhaps you can make a trip to the National Library and see if they can source the items you want..

    • cliff turner says:

      Sorry I cannot show you any pictures of Tanglin barracks but we had Church Parade there
      in 1954 We were with the R A O C CORPS based at Kranji singapore at 443 B A D

      The only picture that I have is on PARADE

  2. John Lim says:

    Hi, I would like to ask how could we get to the abandoned buildings as indicated on the top 4 pics of this article? Would really appreciate it if someone could indicate it on the map. Thank you!
    Best,
    John

  3. John Lim says:

    GREAT! thank you!

  4. john .patrick west formerly queens royal surrey .regiment . tanglin barracks. regt. police says:

    excellent coverage of tanglin barracks. i wa based there , early 1962 to august 1963. great days

    • so was I, about 5 years old,, we live near the Guard room. The M.P.s would come out and arrest the old man who was feeding his cow on the grass outside the Guard room. One was not even allowed to walk on the grass.

  5. Bill Runnals says:

    I was serving with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Hong Kong and went to Tangling in 1969 for a 2 week judo course. As a corporal I was pit in charge of the class which consisted of about 50% Australians who were mostly twice my size not thrilled to see me in charge. After a bit of diplomacy on my part all was well – they were great lads.

    Fond memories of Buguis Street, happy days!

  6. yue yeong kwan says:

    I worked in the Ministry of Defence in the Dempsey cluster from 1974 to 1976, and again from 1979 to 1981. whilst the buildings were not efficiently functional, the open spaces and matured landscaping made the working environment extremely pleasant. the Tanglin Officers’ Mess situated in an enclave in the Minden area was a really nice place to unwind with duty-free Tiger beer after a hard day’s work and an evening jog. I have very fond memories of Tanglin barrcks.

    • Tan Peng Ann says:

      Hi Yue Yeong, How are you? i was there 1976 to 1978 and again 1986 to 1988. This was Dempsey. Was also at the ‘White House’ for about 2 years. Stayed in the officers mess too. Then also at Loewen Camp for 3 years. Now recalling, I spent almost a good 8 years in the complex. I visited this site to gather some info for my book. Nice to know you visited.

  7. Peter Dunlop author "Street names of Singapore" says:

    Derek, do you remember he swimming pool behind the chapel? I think that there are still remnants of steps leading up from the road

    • I remember the swimming pool and the camp cinema, and the steps that ran up to them from near where our MQ terrace was that looked out over a grassy slope and over the main road out of the city and a corner entrance to the Botanical Gardens. [We also lived for a while in Dempsey and MacPherson Roads] My father was stationed with the R.Sigs at GCHQ. We were in Singapore 1949-52 and I remember [although very young] the Maria Hertogh Riots of late 1950 and into 1951 – we sheltered a young female Eurasian teacher in our MQ until the worst of it had blown over. I remember at one stage my dad coming home with loaded Sten and a .38 revolver. My first school was Tanglin Infants. It was a wonderful part of my life – as was the 3.5 years in Hong Kong in the middle to latter 1950s. Three to four week cruises at the taxpayers expense, and at a time when the Royal Navy still had many ships including cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers. Oh Lord! My memory banks are giving forth – there is so much more – great days indeed!

      • Douglas Bagnall says:

        Hi Laurence,
        I have searched for many years, looking for anyone who attended Tanglin Infants 1949/51.
        Actually went back a couple of years ago, I am also a member of the old school at Tanglin.
        I have many memories and photos of old Singapore and still have friends out there. Would love to hear from you and anyone else who lived there. We lived on Whitchurch Rd, Wessex Estate, among other places. My father was WO11 Norman Bagnall at the Alexander Hospital/Gillman Barracks.
        Hope this finds you and anyone else who would like to get in touch.
        Douglas Bagnall
        Huddersfield
        England

      • John Overton. says:

        Hi my name is John Overton, lived in Singapore from 50 to 53 then went to Cyprus, went to Tanglin infants, wore white shirts and white shorts, with a badge on the shirt green background with a palm treee and a tiger and the saying, Manners Maketh man.
        still got my original school reports with the teachers names on them. lived in a big house on which was built on concrete pillars, lots of Chinese familys living under the house

        now live in Poringland , Norwich, Norfolk. dad was a civilan working for the Army.

  8. BeeLan says:

    hi
    anyone know where are the locaiton for black and white colonial houses in Tanglin area?
    i am doing a seminar paper about dempsey and i would like to use some of the pictures above.

  9. Not much has changed at Tanglin Barracks…
    (Tanglin Barracks in the early 20th century)

  10. shrnjnfr says:

    HI, i am doing research for my project related to dempsey hill area.
    i’ve read this article and it was said 9 buildings were used for tanglin barracks long time ago.
    http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_1591_2009-11-03.html
    Does anybody knows which building does it refer to?
    thanks

  11. Fiona says:

    Hello there! Great site! Just wondering if there has been any changes to this place recently? Would love to head down there for a photoshoot one of these days. Cheers!

    • Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

      For those who remember and are interested, there use to be a detention barrack there at Dempsey Camp, it was called Tanglin Detention Barrack, Smart Road

      • Laurence Skelton says:

        My father {in 1950-52 a sgt. in the R.Sigs.] was friends with an Australian military police sgt. who I would think was attached there. I have an old B&W photo of him with my father and young me on Changi beach.

      • hi mark i was in their me & a sapper went awol after a binge on mekon whiskey we were with 59sqn royal engineers in thailand, we were that pissed we didn’t know what we were doing ,when we got out we were the fitest soldiers you could get that was 1965-66 at the time i remember two gurka soldiers they had cut the ear of a officer their names were rackam & panther

  12. Tug Wiilson says:

    Was this place once a military prison, I am sure I was sent here around 1968 for doing a runner from the Royal Navy as a young sailor.

    • you would never forget being in their i felt sorry for the navy lads when we did them forced march’s even in their you got a laugh,at some one ,them cells ,i was in the end one up the stairs think it was 66

  13. Andreas says:

    Hi All,
    Anyone cares to walk the ground of these featured sites together?
    Thrilled to see these places, would like to capture them using my camera.

    When i say walk the ground, its not just this but also some other sites featured in the blog.
    Drop me a mail if you are keen:
    Andreastan_84@hotmail.com

    Thank you.
    Cheers :)

    Andreas

  14. Rushh says:

    Hi All, we are doing a documentary film about Tanglin Village history and the way it is being urbanise today. In this thread, I noticed that some of you are there in the past of Tanglin Village. I would be greatly appreciative if I could contact u to have a short interview regarding Tanglin Village.

    Anything you can contact me at rushh05@gmail.com or 83793426 if u are able to be interviewed by us. :) Thank you!

  15. JS Tan says:

    I did my NS here from 2000 to 2002. We vacated in mid-2002 to shift to Nee Soon. Have to say, serving NS here is definitely more enjoyable than anywhere else. But the walk from the bus stop to my camp is crazy!

  16. Jean Westerhout says:

    To whom it may concern

    I have found among my father’s possessions a small wooden plaque
    with a cobra insignia/emblem of a cobra in red, balck and gold trim. Underneath is th name ‘Loewen Road Camp’. I would like to donate it to the museum for the camp if it is of significance.

    I am in Perth Western Australia.

    Regards
    Jean Westerhout

  17. I don’t think there is any museum to this camp Jean. But I may be wrong, It would be nice to Know if there is.

  18. Simon says:

    Does anyone know if there is an old map showing the layout of the former Tanglin Barracks? I visit the Dempsey precinct quite often and always wonder what purpose all the buildings served in past years.

  19. Laurence Skelton says:

    As a young BritBrat kid I lived for a while in an MQ block on Dempsey Rd.

  20. Jill Faulkner says:

    My dad worked in the barracks in tanglin I went swimming there i belonged to the tanglin otter 64 to 67 visiting singapore in oct hope to visit tanglin

  21. Richard Hale says:

    “The Garrison Church at Tanglin introduced a voluntary service at 5.30pm on the first Sunday of each month. The church was a new building situated a short distance from the Mess house. The church is 100 feet long but 20 feet at each end is taken up by a chancel which is, we think, quite unique and was done in order to admit of its being used for the services of both churches, the congregation facing different ways according to which service is being held. A curtain will be put up to shut in the chancel which is not being used. At one end of the building is the altar of the Roman Catholic Church and at the other the communion table of the Church of England. The building faces north and south. It is built of brick on concrete foundations with a light hammer beam roof covered with shingle and cost about $7.900. The breadth is 30 feet and it has four large gothic windows on each side and four smaller ones on each side of the two chancels. The height to the eaves is 20 feet 6 inches.”

    This article appeared in the Straits Times of 28th February 1885 and may of course indicate the parsimony of the Army authorities who did not wish the expense of two churches. I incline to think that it showed a spirit of co-operation between two branches of the church. It appears that the building still exists, across the sports field from St George’s, and has recently been renovated after years of disuse, now surfacing as the ‘White Rabbit’ restaurant.

  22. Hi Jean, I was correct There seams to be a Black board rubber around when it comes to any thing history, There is a few FB pages that cover the past for those that do remember.

    • Jean Westerhout says:

      Hi Patric

      The lady who contacted me about the plaque for the research she is doing, has not followed up my request for an address to send the plaque. I have also loss the thread of her reply. Can you help please.

      Jean

  23. Richard Hale says:

    To nitpick, the first paragraph re Tanglin Barracks refers to mid 18th century – it should be mid 19th (1800 – 1899)

  24. used to guard all vehicle depots and base ammunition i can remember doing a stag on tanglin great memories.

  25. Loewen Road Camp, early 1980s


    (Photo Source: Selarang Camp Heritage Room)

    • Tan Peng Ann says:

      My office was right at the right hand ground level. I was there from 1980 to 1983.

    • Aurelia Ang says:

      Hi,

      Do you know if I can use this photo for a publication? If not, may I know where I can go to seek permission for this image?

      You can drop me an email if you need more information. It will be for a heritage brochure we are publishing on behalf of Dempsey Hill, STB and NHB.

      Thanks!

  26. shirley robey says:

    I was a child living at 13 Dempsey road from 58-61. Went to Tanglin school and remember sneaking up to the barracks and jumping on the soldiers exercise trampolines. I used to get lost their just gazing out across the valley. Great place full of nostalgia for me!

    • I was station in Hong Kong 1959 – 1962 in the APTC and we used to come to the PT School at Tanglin every August for a convention. I can’t remember where the gymnasium was located, maybe you do?

    • Hi Shirley, I live in Brisbane Australia now. I’m 78 and still have fond memories of our time in Tanglin. We used to go down to Bougis St., and sit back and watch all the antics.

      • Hello, Sorry I didn’t see your message as have been moving from London to France. I was only 5 or 6 at the time but it was directly behind our house… the gym was at hte front of the barracks, looking out over the valley towards the government building. I ha2 and thought ve the most wonderful memories of my time there. Arrived in London in 1962 to the smog. How long were you out there?

  27. http://www.dempseyhill.com/history.htm

    My parents ran a small shop in Dempsey from 1958 to 1970. My 12 years there left me fond memories.

    A very quiet place with lots of fresh air, Dempsey was very self-contained. The facilities in Dempsey included two churches, a kindergarten, a broadcasting station owned by the Gurkhas, swimming pool, theater, tailor, a few football fields, dancing hall, offices, Commander’s office, tennis court, basket ball court, golf club, landing field for helicopters, post office, POSB bank…you name it. I used to cycle from place to place after I finished my homework.

    My fondest memory was going to the post office to buy first day covers and saving $10 a month given by my brother. As I was one of the youngest living in Dempsey, the British soldiers doted on me. They gave me presents — big colourful books, chocolates, pencils, and so on. I was so thrilled to receive these presents; as an average Singaporean family then, we were far from being well off.
    Some houses were built for the British soldiers and their families, some were built for bachelors. A British family built a tree house on one of the big trees. In the evening, I would climb to the tree house and read my story books. I did not have many story books then, so I ended up reading my second brother’s Chinese books. As a result my command of the Chinese language was fantastic. My brother was in Pre-University, I was about nine years old.

    The British lived very well in Dempsey. They celebrated Christmas and Easter in a very big way. The British fancied cooking their food with butter. We could smell butter wafting from the kitchen all day. I should know. My uncle, who is still alive, was their favourite chef. Naturally, I had my fair share of tasty English food like roast turkey, roast potatoes and lamb chop.

    Dempsey. It’s so special to me. I will always cherish the memories.

    By Gina Ho

  28. Larry Skelton says:

    Robin, I was too young when I was in Singapore/Dempsey Road to understand about all those ‘Boogey Street’ goings on! Innocent I was at that time – seems so long ago, heck it was!

  29. harry says:

    Is this place is open space? Can go for outdoor photo shoot?

    • I think they will open up the barracks for annual events such as the Singapore Biennale. Otherwise, it’s a restricted place out of bounds to the public.

      Those houses along the road, though, are not bounded by fences or anything.

  30. Jenny Grover (Marsh) says:

    Lived at 25 Dempsey Road Tanglin 1964-66. My father was Roy Marsh. Went to Tanglin Infants then Pasir Panjan Juniors. Remember Magnolia Milk, Green Johnny who delivered fruit and Mr Hupp who delivered groceries. Also going swimming and to The Sampan Cinema. Sunday lunchtimes were spent at The Mess or Brit Club.

    • Aurelia Ang says:

      Hi Jenny

      Do you know where the Sampan Cinema was located? From the other comments on this thread, it seems like the cinema was along Harding Road (previously known as Barrack Road); but other than that, I can’t seem to locate the spot. :(

      • Jenny Marsh says:

        Hi Sorry was too young to remember exact location – was walked there from the Sgt Mess on a Sunday, with the other kids whilst our parents had lunch in peace.

      • Larry Skelton says:

        Much like Jenny, I too was very young when I went to the ‘Sampan’, way back in 1950-52. Our Indian servant would take my kid brother and myself, as did our parents. I recall seeing a B&W version of ‘The Three Musketeers’ there.

      • It was definitely along Barrack Road… you went up from Dempsey Road, past the barracks and the Naffi and it was just up there. I remember going to the cinema and losing my Mum’s engagement ring in the dark!

    • Diana Mendham (was Dee) says:

      I lived at 25 Dempsey Road, Tanglin from 1968 to 1971. My dad, RSM Ivor Dee, was stationed there. My brothers and I all swam for The Tanglin Otters. I went to Alexandra Junior School. Wonderful memories.

      • Jenny Marsh says:

        Oh wow that’s a great coincidence – I went to Tanglin Infants then Pasir Panjan Juniors – In my memory from childhood the house was large with ceiling fans in all the rooms – a separate lounge and dining room with a long kitchen leading out to the verandah. In the garden was a separate block for washing/ironing where our Armah lived. Upstairs I think it had 2 large bedrooms with 2 small ones leading off (may be wrong on that as I’ve lived in so many houses since!)
        Don’t suppose you found the strange Xmas tree we left behind – it was left from the previous occupants to us – it was really skinny with red berries on and covered in Angel Hair (fibreglass) which effected our skin and made us all itch well into January – funny the things you remember. Have so many memories

      • Alison says:

        Hi Diane yes I do remember the ice cream man as he used to give a lift to my house and then I used to buy an ice cream. I cannot remember where I lived but I know it was not far from the tennis courts and the sergeants mess facing the main road, if anyone can help. I uses to stay for ballet at school then gave it up for swimming. We used to have a pet monkey called Charlie. I remember sitting on the side if the stage when Aker Bilk came to play for the troops. My dad’s name was McLean and my mum also used to work on the camp. I remember that I had to have a cholorie injection for my birthday then went swimming.

    • Christine Pratt says:

      HI Jenny, I went to Pasir Panjang school at the same time as you. I was aged between 8 and 10yrs. Your postings bring back the same memories for me. Guess what, I am in touch with Bill Johnston, our old recorder teacher. I am seeing him in a couple of weeks. We lived on Wessex Estate and I too remember Sunday’s spent at the officers Mess and Blackamatti Island. My name then was Christine Harral. I was in Ms Heron’s class. Bill is in touch with some of the teachers from the mid 60’s today. email me if this rings bells. christine.pratt@ntlworld.com (I live in Swindon, Wiltshire today).

      • Andy Searle says:

        Hi Christine, I too was in the Tanglin Otters club, also Tanglin Tigers football club, we were there from 1966 to 1969, I think we lived on Harding Road, I remember going to Alexander school, my dad was a seargeant in the Royal Engineers and was actually stationed on Blackamatti, had some great picnics on there. I am going over to stay in Jahore for a month and plan many a trip over to Singapore. So many fond memories.

  31. Russell Tan says:

    Hey does anyone know if any of these colonial buildings are still around but not maintained? I’m doing an indie film for my project and I would really love the backdrop and ambience of an abandoned colonial building and it’s presence in my film. Best if there is not blocked off or under surveillance. Please do get back to me. Thanks :)

  32. Tan Peng Ann says:

    I have great memories of this camp. The Central Manpower Base of the Singpore Ministry of Defence was shifted there from Kallang Camp. I was the Commanding Officer of the Control of Personnel Centre occupying Blocks 6 and 7. That was 1976. I was in block 13 in 1986 and my department was shifted to the Cable car towers. Loenen Road Camp used to house the Singapore 9th Division. I was then there as the Division G1 in 1980. Those were the days.

  33. Laurence Skelton says:

    Hi Douglas,
    I currently live a few miles south of you in Sheffield. You say that your dad was at the Alexander Hospital – my mother as a patient experienced a ‘ghostly’ incident while there. According to a nurse they were common place and connected to the wounded and staff killed there at the beginning of the Japanese occupation. Do you remember the Maria Hertogh riots? Did you like me have a cobra slither over one of your bare feet, or play with a scorpion, thinking it was just a funny looking beetle? Ah, the days of youthful naivety, I was about 5 at the time.

    • Douglas Bagnall says:

      So good to hear from you Laurence and yes, I do remember the riots and also the raids on our local NAAFI, they still came down from the north in those days.
      Lots of memories, do you remember the lizards, if you touched the tail it fell off?
      I had my seventh birthday at Gillman, my father ran the catering at Alexander Hospital, could your mother have eaten some of his food, I wonder, still a small world.
      Would like to send some photos but not sure how to, any ideas?
      Douglas

      • jenny Marsh says:

        Hi I too spent my 7th birthday at The Barracks and clearly remember the chit-chat lizards that shed their tails. The first night we arrived in Singapore we stayed at the Seven Storeys Hotel and the chit chats were crawling over the walls in our room and my mum, sister and I were screaming our heads off and my dad tried to knock them down by throwing a cigarette packet at them. After a short time we lived quite happily with them in our house – amazing what you get used to!
        Jenny Marsh

  34. Diana Mendham says:

    Hi Jenny the house as you describe it is just how I remember it. I don’t recall the Christmas tree though but I was 8 when we first moved in. I remember the chit chats and the season of flying beetles in the house. I also recall a man called Teo (I think) who sold ice cream from the back of his motorcycle. Happy days. D

    Diana Mendham

    • Douglas Bagnall says:

      I wonder if this was the same guy who used an upside down plane to shave ice and add juice to make ice balls?
      I have sent some photos to be added.
      Douglas Bagnall

  35. Laurence Skelton says:

    I too remember the small ‘chit-chat’ gecko lizards, but wasn’t frightened of them, indeed saw them as ‘friends’ that helped to keep down the mozzie population. Did any of you get to see those massive ‘Moon’ moths? The second biggest in the world to the Atlas moth I believe. My kid brother got bitten by a grumpy old male monkey, got too ‘face to face with it while offering a peanut in the Botanical Gardens. He also ended up covered in those red ‘bully ants’ while crawling through some grass playing war games of some sort.

    I remember those 10 tonner Matadors that used to run us out to places such as Changi beach, and the desert island day out we had courtesy of some fast launches – and the beautiful clear water.

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Diana – I have a photo of the living room of ‘our’ MQ in Tanglin Barracks – obviously around Christmas time as there is a lit up tree between the doors to the kitchen and the doors to the ‘box room’.

  36. Laurence Skelton says:

    Oh, did any of you go out to Singapore [or Hong Kong] on the Orduna, Empire Fowey, Asturias or Nevasa? I remember seeing the swastika symbols on the anchors of the Empire Fowey – it was a ‘war reparations’ ship taken from the Germans. Later, while in the process of being scrapped the Asturias [tarted up] featured in the Titanic film ‘A Night to Remember’.

    • Diana Mendham says:

      Laurence – sadly I don’t recall that we have any photos of the house but I will have a look through to see as I have my parents photos. I don’t remember the ice balls Douglas, but Teo seemed quite elderly, probably weathered, but as a kid I thought he was quite old. We had weekly deliveries on a Sunday, I think, of comics, and a van came round selling “egg bread” which was yummy! I also remember monkeys getting onto the camp from the botanical gardens.

  37. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Laurence, we sailed to Singapore on the SS Orduna and came home on the Empress of Australia.
    I have sent some photos to be shown on this site.

    • Christine Pratt says:

      Hi Douglas, I think we lived in that same house in Whitchurch Rd in 1966- 1968. It was No.23 Whitchurch Road with an Armah shed at the front, lots of steps leading to the road and at the back, (as pictured) the balcony overlooked the railway and across the dip to Queens Town and the 24 storey flats that seemed like giants.
      I visited a couple of years ago and the house is still standing. As is Pasir Panjang School. I am in touch with Mr Johnson, my old recorder teacher.
      My name then was Christine Harral – My father was Rex James Harral and my mother ran the Wessex Estate Kindergarden.
      Hey Ho. Happy Days ! Christine. http://www.christine.pratt@ntlworld.com.

      • Douglas bagnall says:

        Hi Christine,

        Attached a couple of photos taken at no 23.

        Very nice to hear from you, I have lots of happy memories of Whitchurch road.

        I was only seven when we lived there in 1950 so to return in 2005 with my wife was quite emotional.

        Fortunately we still have many lovely Singaporean friends from that time who look after us on our return.

        Nice to know you lived in the same house as us, still have more photos of our time in Singapore.

        Google Earth have a new Map and you can browse street view images at the back of our house on Whitchurch Road now.

        Kind Regards

        Doug Bagnall

        Huddersfield

        Ps couldn’t` find your photos?

  38. Thanks to Mr Douglas Bagnall who has contributed his old photos:


    Our home at Whitechurch Road, Wessex Estate 1949-1951


    Me standing on same stretch of Changi beach 1950 & 2006


    Came on SS Orduna, returned on Empress of Australia


    My 7th birthday in front of house at Gillman above NAAFI shop, name not known

  39. Laurence Skelton says:

    Doug, if the voyage on the Orduna included ploughing through a tropical storm, it is more than possible you were on the same trip out as me. My mother was sea sick for most of the voyage.
    If that is you in the centre of the birthday shot it gave me an eerie ‘deja vu’ moment – as you were the spitting image of me around that age! By the time I was 7 years old we were back in Catterick. Two years later we were on the Asturias bound for Hong Kong.

  40. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Hi Diana,
    It must have been the same voyage, it is not too clear but I remember being scared.
    and yes that is me in the centre of the photo. Fond memories.
    I have been very fortunate in keeping friends, all these years, with the people who ran the local `Q Cat` café and shop, if anyone can recall it?
    Our house on Wessex Estate overlooked the valley up toward Sandes Soldiers Home (I have a photo from then, it is now the Temasek Club) where our lads rested from their injuries and we could hear the piano and hymn singing on Sundays very clearly from our house. the railway line was also close by and we would wave to the lads on board.
    Kind Regards
    Douglas Bagnall

  41. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Hi Laurence,
    Sorry about the name mix up, so nice to contact every one I get carried away.
    Douglas Bagnall

  42. More photos contributed by Mr Douglas Bagnall!


    Mother and me, I was told our boys where shot here by the invaders during war, any ideas


    At home with our house helper at Whitchurch Road Wessex Estate


    Overlooking railway from our house, taking our boys up to Johor Bahru


    Sandes Soldiers Home, seen from our home on Whitchurch Road.

    • Frances says:

      Hello, was this the view from Whitchurch Rd, Wessex Estate Singapore ?

      • Douglas Bagnall says:

        Hi Frances,
        Yes, this was the view in 1950, from what we called the front of 23, Whitchurch Road.
        It was a great place to play as a seven year old but it got me into bother because at that time snakes still enjoyed the area. To the right of the photo of me on my bike and left of Sandes home was what we would now call a smallholding, really lovely people lived in a traditional house and would make me very welcome.
        Doug Bagnall

    • Rachel Ng says:

      Hi Doug,

      I’m working on a community project, JalanJalan, with some of my friends. We’re creating a mobile app which helps users discover the stories behind different places in Singapore: https://www.facebook.com/jalanjalansg . We came across your pictures of Wessex Estate and we we were hoping to use some of your images. We would like to seek your permission to use the images and will credit you accordingly. Would you be alright with us sharing the photographs you’ve used?

      If you’d like to find out more about our app, feel free to ask us about it. Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!

      • Doug Bagnall says:

        Hi Rachel, yes go ahead and use them, if you require anymore photos (1949/51) let me know.
        I will send you a list of what I have. Doug Bagnall

  43. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Also of interest? I still have a tie and hat from the Singapore Cricket Club 1950, must have been my fathers, but not certain.
    Douglas Bagnall

  44. Laurence Skelton says:

    Do any of you old time BritBrats remember the night sounds, including the randy bullfrogs in the mating season? I remember going into one of the pillboxes on the edge Of Changi beach and as my eyes adjusted to the gloom I realised I was on close eyeball level with a massive one.
    Did any of you get to tap latex, like I did, or pick mutmeg, rambutans or lychees, mangoes or bananas?

    Did any of you see the late marque Spitfires being armed up to have a go at Communist insurgents – more likely to disturb the jungle foliage a bit. I also remember Lincoln bombers, Mosquitoes, Bristol Brigands [affectionately referred to as 'bucking bast*rds' by the crews] – also Fairy Fireflies that would fly in from visiting aircraft carriers.

    • Douglas Bagnall says:

      Hi Laurence,
      My memory isn’t as good as it used to be, so to be reminded of the many things you mention is truly heart warming.
      I do remember trees being cut for the latex and on our recent return visit my wife became seriously addicted to lychees, so much so we now buy fresh ones, when we can, over here.
      Just going through my old photos, me in a sampan off Changi beach, my sister working at the Alexander telephone exchange, inside the Alexandra hospital and also and looking at treasured possessions such as a Singapore cricket club hat and tie from 1950.
      We also had a monkey tied up in the back of the house, but it was very tame.
      Do you know I can still smell the kerosene burner used for cooking at the back of our house
      Douglas Bagnall

  45. Jenny Marsh says:

    Another vivid memory I have is Xmas 1964 – curfew/problems in Singapore at that time – and my mum and dad had put up the decorations and balloons in the house (Dempsey Rd) and in the night with the humidity and heat the balloons started popping and the next thing we knew a few soldiers with guns burst into the house thinking we were under attack. Rather embarrassing to say the least and certainly no more balloons that year!

  46. Diana Mendham says:

    Oh my goodness, yes I can also remember the things mentioned. Rambutans!! Just loved them. Do you remember walking along Orchard Road at night time with street vendors displaying their wares on the pavement and the scent of spices in the warm night air. I remember Tiger Balm Gardens and being frightened there because of the torture exhibits. I was too young for Bougi Street but my parents enjoyed it.
    Diana

  47. Laurence Skelton says:

    Diana – The torture exhibits were ‘depictions’ of the Chinese idea of Hell. There was a similar display in the Tiger Balm gardens in Hong Kong. I do indeed remember many of the sights and smells. Some nights were so warm and humid that the sweat poured off me, and sleeping was restless and the bed felt more like a warm bath.

    My dad was on duty at GCHQ when news came through [6th. Oct 1951] that High Commissioner Sir Henry Gurney had been ambushed and shot dead on the way to a meeting at Frazier’s Hill, Malaya. He was the one who then informed Whitehall. Their reaction was to beef up the numbers of SAS and send in the ‘Virgin Soldiers’.

  48. Laurence Skelton says:

    Oh, Jenny, the first night in Singapore, and for the next few weeks, including our first Christmas, were spent in the Eastern Hotel on MacPherson Road – I believe it has been extensively re-built since. Their food was good, and I remember a bomb site next door – or was it just behind? We used to have an old B&W photo of my kid brother and myself on that site, in ‘conductors’ outfits’ we got as Christmas prezzies.

  49. Patricia AlexanderNee Hay says:

    I sspent , in two tours, 5 very happy years in Singapore firstly as a member of the WRAC then married and lived in quarters in Barker Rd, then Bann Guan Park then Wessex estate. We`were married in The Church of Christ the King in Tangln in july 61. I vividly remeber the Sampan Cinema and the Pheonix Club across the road. Behind was the swimming pool, We had our wedding reception in the Brittania club which was across from the Raffles Hotel, Would love to swap memories with anyone who was there at the same time…Regards Pat Alexander..nee Hay

    • Morag (Mandy) McHardy says:

      Hi! I came across this page by accident. I was in the WRAC at Tanglin Barracks from 65-68. I’m almost 70 years old and this old memory of mine is not what it used to be. Going through all these posts though is really bringing back some memories! I remember the open air food stalls where we would eat Satay and drink beer!! Those were the days!

      • Lesley Annable says:

        I also was in the WRAC at Tanglin Barracks from 1965 to 1967, lucky you being able to stay for 3 years. I actually joined up in Singapore. A great time and still in contact with other girls whom were stationed there

  50. Laurence Skelton says:

    Hi, John Overton, your name seems to ring vague memory bells for me. Not sure whether it is you, or perhaps someone else of the same name. Dear Lord, where have all the years gone; it seems like it was another world. The world population was less than half that of today.

  51. Tom Atkins says:

    Tom.Atkins 7186@facebook.com I remember Tanglin Bks 1963/64

  52. Tony McAuley says:

    Hi, does anyone have any idea who Dempsey was and what he did to deserve having the place named after him? Dempsey is a Dublin name so likely serving in the British Army. As a Dempsey descendant I am extremely curious. I am also planning to be in Singapore in a month’s time so would be very keento visit the area.

  53. Laurence Skelton says:

    General Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, was indeed in the British Army, and he also had service links with Malaya.
    http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Dempsey

  54. chiara zuber says:

    hello I would like to know if the place is open for public or is it private property?

  55. HI All
    I just ran into this page when searching military bases in Singapore, my father George Harris was stationed in Singapore and I was born there in 1951, I was a twin and my brother unfortunately passed away when he was 9 days old complications with intestines, a common problem nowadays where survival rates are high. My Father was a WO1 in Royal Signals he was a quartermaster, my mother Violet Harris was out there with him, they had lots of us kids, Irene,Joan, George, Margaret, Dennis all born in England then us Twins born in Singapore.I am trying to find out where they lived, sadly they have both passed away, I have photo’s which I can put on here. would be great if anyone remembers them. I am going to Singapore in September and it would be great to track down some of the places we stayed. I have the hospital we were I was born and the cemetery my brother is in so thats 2 places I will be visiting for sure.
    Many Thanks

    • Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

      Hi Richard,
      The hospital (Military) is probably Alexandra Hospital which is now a civilian hospital (Junction of Queensway & Alexandra Road) and if I can remember correctly, if your twin was buried in a cemetery dedicated to military families, the graves were all exhumed and are currently at a civilian plot at the War Graves (Kranji, CWGC). Names and burials information are available with the Cemetery Office on site. If he was buried at Bidadari Cemetery, Serangoon Road, those were all exhumed as well, Name list is probably still available with the Housing & Development Board (Singapore).

      • HI Mark
        Yes my brother was exhumed and moved to Kranji some time in the 60’s, this was when the airport was rebuilt, so I think the original grave would have been near Changi. I am trying to find out where we lived, I am going through all the paperwork I have of my father’s to see if somewhere there is an address in Singapore, but no luck yet. He was in Royal Signals, a SQMS and was with FARELF ? but where exactly stationed I am not sure.
        I will keep searching prior to our visit to Singapore in September

      • Richard says:

        Hi
        After more searching found my fathers service book.
        My parents first stayed in Eastern Hotel, Tyrwhitt Road 24 sept 1949. this has been built up and after ‘walking’ down this road on google, it looks like the hotel is no longer there the road is.
        Also found an entry….27 June 1950 moved to 28c Wessex Estate Alexandra. no road name, was there road names then or did each block just have numbers.
        Any help would be very much welcomed

  56. Ian Ng Song Yuan says:

    Tangling Barracks has Changed into St James Church Kindergarten and all the restaurants. Sadly, the government want to take back the land where the kindergarten is sitting on. It looks so creepy in the olden days… Now very modern, but the government wants to take this school back. They now have one new campus, Leedon.

  57. Laurence Skelton says:

    Yes, Ian, time moves on. So much of my childhood has changed [and not just in Singapore and Malaya], but thankfully [at the moment at least], I still retain my memories. Including those of the local people. In the end it is people that are more important than places – even Tanglin [BFES] Infant School.

  58. Alison Barringer says:

    Hi Diana I was in Singapore from 1967 to 1969 and was in the otters and also went to Alexander junior school many happy memories

    • Diana says:

      Hi Alison, good to hear from someone who was there about the same time as me. I started Alexandra School in 1968 (aged about 8/9). I find it hard to remember names of teachers etc., due to the numerous schools I went to but do remember a lady teacher who always wore her hair in a high bun. Do you remember her? Did you live on the camp at Tanglin – I lived in Demspey Road. Very happy days, sad to know that so much of it has been knocked down, especially the school. Do you remember Teo the ice cream man on his motorcycle he was often at the swimming pool? As you say, many happy memories.

      • Yes, I remember him and I remember loosing my 5 cents so as I was looking for it a man gave me 5 cents to buy an ice cream and then got it back off my Dad later. 5 cents must have been a lot of money then. We lived in Dempsey Road near the Guard room.

  59. Laurence Skelton says:

    Richard – Regrettably, very little stays the same, of such is the march of ‘progress’. You say your parents were at the Eastern Hotel, Sept. 1949 – well my parents, my brother and myself were also there around that time – until around the New Year [1950]. It is very probable that we ate in the same dining room as they did, and your parents and my parents could well have chatted together. I remember that the chicken, sliced runner beans and chips were very nicely cooked.

    • Richard says:

      Laurence – HI, If you were there at the same time as my parents, there’s a chance you may remember a rather large family, 3 girls and 2 boys, the youngest my brother being around 7 and the others gradually getting older.I came along in April 1951. Can you remember what end of Tyrwhitt Road the Eastern Hotel was? I will be having a walk down that road in September just to be in places where my parents were when they were in Singapore.
      The 28c Wessex Estate has got me stumped, I think my father forgot to write the road when he put this address in his service book. Unless anyone can remember a rather large family moving in next door to them in June 1950.
      Just a long shot

  60. Richard says:


    This picture is of my brothers and sisters, the two lads in front on left and middle I assume are friends of my brothers, anyone see themselves?


    This picture is from my dads driving licence issued in singapore


    And this my mum holding little old me

    Anyone recognise the people in these photo’s ?

  61. Richard says:

    This is getting really difficult. When I think of ways to find out where we lived I thought easy just look on my birth cert, gives address of the informant of birth, bound to be my mum or dad, NO the informant was the CO of GCHQ, how did that happen? Also place of birth says BMH Singapore, so was that Alexandra Hospital or Changi ? I thought the military in those days where absolutely meticulous about everything, seems not on this occasion. As we lived on Wessex Estate as per my fathers service record book can I assume we, my twin and I, were born in the nearest hospital to where my parents lived, that would be Alexandra Hospital ? My brother never left Hospital and passed away 8 days later he was originally buried in a cemetery in Changi, now in Kranji, the mind boggles

  62. Laurence Skelton says:

    Richard – I was 4 going 5 when at the Eastern Hotel. I don’t remember that much about the hotel, except that there was a bomb site either next door to it or more likely just behind.

    BUT, dear Lord, shades of déjà vu regarding the photo of your brothers and sisters – and friends!
    Unless we have exact doppelgängers of the time and place, the lad at the front left is ME, and the younger lad front centre [beside me] IS MY KID BROTHER, Brendan.

    Your father’s image seems to ring a dull bell in the windmills of my mind.

    I will try to get a photo or three on this site in the coming weeks, including one that shows my brother and myself.

  63. Richard says:

    Laurence – WOW, a million to one chance that would happen, I can’t believe it, when we were younger we always asked who the two boys were and we told friends thats all !!
    OK, lets see how good your memory is :) what road did we live in, I am assuming we must have lived very close to each other, in my fathers service book it just says 28c wessex estate, I assume this was Whitchurch Road, or do you know different? I don’t have many photo’s of Singapore, when my parents passed away, they rest of brothers and sisters shared them out amongst their selves as I was serving in the army myself at the time and was away, but slowly got a couple over the years.

    Anyway take care, I still can’t believe it !!!!
    PS
    have you looked at this site :- http://lionraw.com/2013/03/15/white-bungalows-at-wessex-estate/
    Just a little about Wessex Estate may remind you of something

    Richard

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      The only places we lived at while in Singapore, apart from the Eastern Hotel, on MacPherson and Dempsey Roads and finally in a verandered MQ that was near a barrack entrance and over the main city road from a corner entrance to the Botanical Gardens.
      I don’t remember any house numbers, or recall the Wessex Estate.

  64. Richard says:

    Yes thinking about it, you were very young so probably wasn’t thinking about things like roads etc, I have looked on Google maps and Dempsey Road is across a main road from the Botanical Gardens, could this be what your thinking? So, the picture you and your brother are in, is that your house or our house I wonder? Did you go to school out there? maybe my youngest brother went to the same school, I think he would have been around 5 or 6.
    I have a couple more pictures of my brothers and sisters in a park so will put them on here as I would love to trace the area when we go in September and have a picture or two taken in the same spot. Also have a picture of my dad with a football team, my dad looks like he was the goal keeper, problem is not sure if it was taken in Singapore or Egypt, I think it was Singapore.
    Are you in the UK ?

  65. Laurence Skelton says:

    Richard – I live in Sheffield – I’ve spotted that you live in the London area.
    I first went to a kindergarten in Tanglin and then went to Tanglin Infants. The kindergarten was not far from the barrack gate I mentioned [as were a couple of MQs – all three raised a bit on stilts if I recall correctly. Dempsey Road is near the Botanical Gardens, but it doesn’t correlate with me being able to see the corner entrance from the front of the verandered terrace of MQ houses that was our last Singapore residence. I think the white house in the background of the group photo is more likely ‘yours’.

    ps. It is possible I played marbles in the school yard with your youngest brother. He might even have been in my class. I wonder if he remembers the plentiful and cool choice of milk, chocolate milk and orange juice [fresh not from concentrate]? Does he remember placing his head on his folded arms [on his desk] during the daily quiet time for us younger ones?

    pps. How do I transfer images from my flickr site to here?

  66. Christine (nee Harral) Pratt says:

    Wonderful! So wonderful to read these postings.
    I lived at No.23 Wessex Estatae Singapore 5 and went to Pasir Panjang, (changed to Wessex School) and then Bourne School. This was in 1965/6/7 I remember being in class on 06.06.06.
    I remember those days vividly. I am in touch with Bill Johnston, my lovely recorder teacher from Pasir Panjang and has located a number of us who were at that school at the same time. My father was in the RO and we used to spend Sunday’s on Blackamatti Island. I have two sisters, Judith and Katrina and a brother Bernard (who was sent home to Boarding School). For those of you who had younger brothers and sisters, my mum ran the Wessex Estate Kindergarten. Happy days. My happiest childhood days certainly.
    Christine Pratt nee Harral e: christine.pratt@ntlworld.co.uk or com
    Swindon. Wiltshire.

  67. Richard says:

    We live on Canvey Island, about half way between London and Southend, an Island on the Thames.
    My eldest brother George, he’s the one standing at the back with my sisters unfortunately passed away in 1999, and to be honest I haven’t seen or heard from my other sisters or brother since, quite sad really, but what can you do.
    My youngest sister, who was born in UK after my dad demobbed from army has the Photo Album of Singapore lots of photo’s of us all, but again I don’t know where she lives, we couldn’t get hold of her when my brother passed away.
    So everything I’m trying to do is from either memory of stories my parents told me when they were alive, or from records that I have that belonged to my father i.e. service record book and a few pictures that I have. If and when I find my brother name Dennis Harris, I will speak to him about Singapore and see what he remembers.
    I was reading your past posts, my dad was SQMS George Harris Royal Signals, so now we know the connection of our two families, your dad and mine probably worked together or at least worked in the same barracks

    You cannot post pictures direct onto this site as wordpress doesn’t allow that.
    But you can email them to the site owner …. yesterdayom@gmail.com and he will gladly post them on here for you as he did with my pictures, they were uploaded within a matter of an hour.

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Yes, Richard, it is a pity how fractured families can become over the years.
      Your dad almost certainly worked with my dad at [Signals section] GCHQ – my dad was a simple sarg. at the time. He later progressed to SQMS in Hong Kong and then to WOII when we were in Herford, [West] Germany. Our ‘home base’ and where my brother and myself were born was Catterick Camp.

      Thanks for the heads up on posting pictures. One of the photos I have shows my brother et moi pretending to pull an embedded torpedo or bomb [only pointy bit showing] out of the ground close to a GCHQ building.

      • David Smith says:

        Seen several mentions of GCHQ, Wasn’t that CK2 on the yoo chui kang road (spelling)? My late father was a GCHQ spook and we were in Singers from 1967 to 71.

  68. Richard says:

    When we returned from Singapore we lived at 45 Hambleton Road, Catterick Camp, Then my father left army in 1956 after 22 years service, he was offered a second lieutenant commission but my father turned it down as WO1’s who got commissions went straight to first lieutenant, the army’s argument was he was an SQMS and not RSM. My father said no, but forever had this anger in him, as he loved the service and didn’t want to leave. I only managed 12 years, not many places to get posted in my day and didn’t want to spend all my army life in Germany or Ireland, so left after 12

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Richard – When we came back from Singapore [on the Empire Fowey - ex-German ship Potsdam], we went very briefly to a bungalow in Somme Lines [now gone, and then were the first family in the then new build MQs [24, Cleveland Road that still exists albeit much modernised - including a double garage]. Do you remember the White shops, Sandys Soldiers Home, and Bluebell Woods? I went to school at St. Mary’s RC Primary in Richmond – now a block of flats. Do you remember the Unit kids’ Coronation party? My dad was at 3TR. [He did 25 years Regular army service and retained his Territorial [Royal Artillery - on the North East coastal guns - 6in. and 9.2s] number. It stuck out on the regimental listings.

      Did you go on the puff puffs from Richmond station? I went from there on our great adventures to Singapore, and in 1955 to Hong Kong.

  69. Richard says:

    I remember the white shops and was Sandys Soldiers home just about on the roundabout in the centre? I am sure my wife and I stayed there for a few days while they sorted us a MQ when we returned from N/Ireland that would be in the 70’s, and just a little further along the road was the hospital where my son was born. I was too young to remember the Coronation Party or the trains at Richmond, I would have only been about 2 years old. The very first memory I have was standing on the kitchen table watching my mother leave the house to have my sister in Sept 1953, we were living in Essex then, my dad was in Catterick finalising his demob, before that nothing. So my mum leaving me to have my sister must have left a major mark on me, poor soul that I was :)
    I do have flashes of Singapore, especially now that I have booked to go out there in September, we are staying in a hotel on Sentosa Island, one of the only hotels that has a beach (things you have to do for your partner to keep them happy) not sure if it’s my memory or me just remembering little things my parents told me when I questioned them, I seem to remember they wouldn’t volunteer anything, just answer the questions that were asked, Strange !!

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Richard – My brother and myself were born in the hospital you mention – which was in ‘mothballs’ for a while, but is being reinstated on the back of the planned expansions of the Camp. Sandys is a bit further along [away from the corner you mention] – I reckon you are thinking of the NAAFI Club {I remember it being built], which is close to that corner junction {Richmond one way, Hawes and Leyburn/ Barnard Castle another, and Catterick village and racecourse, and the A1 along past the White shops and beyond.

  70. Christine (nee Harral) Pratt says:

    Santonsa Island used to be called Blackamiti Island (sorry if spelling is wrong). Its a lovely place. Also, I used to go swimming at Sandy Soldiers home and remember their cherryade and iced buns that we used to look forward to after a swim. As I said before, we lived on Wessex Estate and I went to Pasir Panjang – 1966.

  71. Laurence Skelton says:

    Christine – I too, visited ‘Blackamatty’ as we kids used to call it. I also recall taking a trishaw ride across the Causeway from Singapore island to the Malayan mainland. I have also gone swimming at Sandy’s.

  72. Richard says:

    We are staying at the Rasa Santosa resort and spa, it is right over to the west of the Island. The Island is now like a holiday Island there is even a Universal Studio’s Theme Park just up the road from the hotel. Deep Joy :(

  73. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Hi,
    If you look back to my entry on this site, November 28-2013, I have included a photo of Sandys Home (now the Temasek Club) taken from our house, 23 Whitchurch Road, Wessex Estate in 1950. The home was used in those days as a rest home for wounded service personnel.
    The Singapore Home was opened in 1949 by Miss K. Leslie Symes to serve the British soldiers in the same tradition set out by its founder Elise Sandes. After nearly thirty years of Christian service, the Singapore Home was handed over to the Government in Dec 75.
    See, eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_1025_2008-12-01.html for more info on this home .
    Doug Bagnall
    Huddersfield

  74. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Richard,

    These are the names of the Roads at Wessex Estate, Woking Rd, Whitchurch Rd, Wesbourne Rd and Portsdown Rd. Does any of these ring your memory? Took a quick look on Google and caught a look see of 28 Woking Road, Wessex Estate. National Libary On Line (Old Newspapers) singapore has a Harris on the line up of a Signal”s Soccer Team in the 50s if you are interested go to, http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/. Changi Hospital is now closed and looking derelict the last time was there some six months ago.

    Mark Hamilton-Shimmen

  75. Richard says:

    Mark

    Thanks for that, I have followed your link, and searched to no avail, my father was in Singapore from 1949 to 1952 so if that soccer team is not in them years then it wouldn’t be him.
    I have also ‘walked’ the streets around Wessex Estate on google, for some reason you can not walk all the way round Whitchurch, there is a lorry with cones in the road, so when google did this road they couldn’t drive round, when i type in 28 Whitchurch it is showing, but can’t get to it. As I’ve said before, Whitchurch is just a distant memory I’m sure I heard my parents speak of, I could be wrong.
    With all the paperwork of my fathers I have and even my birth cert, there is just no road name, I have sent for a copy of my late brother’s birth cert to see if my mum or dad was the informant of birth, showing an address, just a long shot but keeping my fingers crossed. Also sent off for my Malay birth extract, I do remember having two birth certs, 1 British and 1 Malay. So I am wondering if the address will be on that, it’s a long shot again but won’t know unless I try. If we had the internet 40 years ago I would have had all this sorted by now !!

  76. Mr Peter Cunneen’s parents served in Singapore in the 1960s… Can anyone identify if photo 30 and 31 were taken at the Tanglin Barracks?

    http://remembersingapore.wordpress.com/a-match-made-in-singapore/

  77. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Richard,
    Went down to Wessex today and found 28 which is on Woking Road, it is a 3 storey apartment flat off Portsdown Road on a little hill facing an open field. All the buildings there were named and 28 wäs named “Namur”. As for BMH, I could only find a reference to its use with Alexandra Hospital, none found on or with Changi Hospital. There were two military cemeteries close to where you lived, Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan Cemeteries, Ulu Pandan had a War Dog Plot next to it.

    NO. 28 (NAMUR), WOKING ROAD, SINGAPORE


    Front of 28 (Namur) Woking Road


    Close Up View


    28 C is the flat with the white blinds and with lights on (Orange Globes)


    Woking Rd, looking towards Portsdown Road


    Another view of 28 Woking Rd


    Field in front of 28 Woking Rd


    Entrance to 28 Working Rd from Portsdown Rd

    Mark Hamilton-Shimmen

    • Richard says:

      Mark

      Many Thanks for the pictures, I just really hope when I get paperwork from British Registery Office it will confirm this is the building we lived in.
      As regards to the name of the building, I have been doing a little more research in this area and what I have read is the buildings were named after famous battles the British Army fought, have the names been changed? as I don’t recognise ‘Namur ‘ as being such. Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but I am sure I read that somewhere.

  78. Richard says:

    Mark
    And everyone else that have responded to my post’s, I would like to say thank you all very much.

    I have a very distant memory, I think I was somewhere between 12 and 15, so in the mid 60’s, my mother receiving a letter stating that the cemetery was being closed due to redevelopment, I thought this was for the airport for some reason, but after a little research the airport wasn’t redeveloped until later.
    Regarding ‘our’ house, in the picture I posted with the 6 kids in, I think this was taken outside our ‘house’ and again after careful study, in the top left background there is a much older building, a Church? I am sure that building won’t be there anymore.
    I am still waiting for the postman to bring me copies of my late brothers birth and death certs, and I am hoping my father or mother will be the informant with an address and not the C/O of the regiment as is on my birth cert.

    Again thank you all for your help and input on this for me

  79. Laurence Skelton says:

    Richard – Regarding ‘Namur’, there were a couple of sieges there 17th century and one in 1914.
    The British weren’t directly involved in the 1914 one, that was between the Germans and an outnumbered by 3 to 1 Belgian force and was a German victory.

    As for the earlier siege, in 1695, according to the wiki:
    ‘Although not awarded until 1910,[6] fourteen regiments from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales[7] bear “Namur 1695″ as a Battle honour including the Grenadier Guards,[8] the Coldstream Guards,[9] the Scots Guards,[10] The Royal Scots,[11] The King’s Own Scottish Borderers,[12] The Royal Irish Regiment,[13] The Welch Fusiliers,[14] the Queen’s Royal Surreys,[15] the East Yorkshire Regiment,[16] the West Yorkshire Regiment[17] the King’s Own Royal Regiment,[18] the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment[19] the Sunderland Fusiliers[20] and the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers.[21] Other regiments taking part included the Bedfordshire Regiment[22]

  80. Laurence Skelton says:

    ps. It was between a smallish French force and a larger one that included the British units. The French consequently got steamrollered.

  81. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Alexandra Hospital was British Military Hospital (BMH), Google History of Alexandra Hospital and Changi was known by several names since 1935, here again you can Google History of Changi Hospital for more details and interesting read.

  82. Richard says:

    HI All

    Just an update, I sent an Email to the war graves commission to ask if they had details of the cemetery my brother was moved from. And low and behold I got an answer this morning, he was originally buried at Pasir Pangjan cemetery and moved to Kranji in 1975. Looking on google maps, there is a large ferry terminal there now, but with open park area behind the terminal, just wonder if the park area was were the cemetery was, or was it were the terminal building is now.

  83. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Just a quick note, looking at some old info that I have, Pasir Panjang Military Cemetery (PPMC) was located at Dover Road. Will up date should I have a different location in future.

  84. Hi, additional info here… The Pasir Panjang Military Cemetery was moved to Kranji Hill in 1971, which became the military cemetery of Kranji War Memorial today (the memorial itself was unveiled in 1946).

    At the memorial, there is a plaque that says “It is important to note that this is not specifically a Christian site, but one for all religions. The men and women who defended Singapore, who fought in Southeast Asia after the fall of Singapore and who were POWs were British, Australian, Indian, Canadian, New Zealanders, Dutch and South African, as well as Chinese and Malay. Nearly 50% of those named on the Memorial were Indian. In the Kranji site – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Taoists and Buddhists, Confucians, Jains and Sikhs are all remembered. In the same way the graves have no hierarchy – Admirals are buried next to Able Seamen; Colonels next to Privates and Air Vice Marshals next to Pilot Officers. Men who lived and fought together are remembered equally, no matter their religion, nationality or rank.”




  85. Richard says:

    Hi
    Just another update, contacted national archives and got some information regarding Pasir Panjang cemetery, I now have the record showing plot number of grave of my brother, they also have a plan of the cemetery, I’m just waiting for them to get back to me with an ‘estimate’ of cost to photocopy and send? Estimate don’t like the sound of that.
    Also found passenger list of mum going to singapore in 1949 on SS Empire Halladale and the return trip with me on MV Empire Windrush in 1952 we docked in England 9 days before my 1st birthday. All this information and non have the address we lived on Wessex Estate, just that little piece in my dad’s Army Record Book.
    But will carry on searching

  86. Douglas Bagnall says:

    Hi Richard,
    Shame you are having to struggle, I am fortunate in still having friends in Singapore who knew me and my family from those days, we have since returned and learned a lot. We sailed out on the Empress of Australia in 1949, and returned late 1951 on the SS Orduna, I had my seventh birthday at Gillman Barracks, but most of the time we lived at 23, Whitchurch Road, Wessex Estate, my father was head Chef at Alexander Hospital during this time and I went to Tanglin Infants School. See above for some of my previous entries if you like. All the best with your search.
    Doug Bagnall
    Huddersfield

  87. Richard says:

    Hi Doug
    Yes I have read all post’s on here and other sites. It seems every time I find a document which would give me the clue’s I’m looking for someone else other than my parents were the informants, very frustrating!! I have also found that my brother was first buried at Pasir Panjang Cemetery, got that info from War Graves Commission. I have searched the web for Pasir Panjang Cemetery and have found two pictures of a grassed area with a white tiled building in background saying this area was once the cemetery the pictures were taken in 1995 so the area may have changed since then.
    As for the passenger lists on the ships, my mother has written the list on the outward journey with an address were they lived prior to sailing and the passenger list for the journey back has address of where they were going not where they lived prior to sailing.
    So I’m still trying to find where 28c Wessex Estate is probably Woking Road or was it Whitchurch Road, and where Pasir Panjang Cemetery was, I have Dover Road. What I need is an old map of the area prior to the cemetery being moved that should pinpoint it.
    Again thanks to everyone on here who have helped me so far and I still have until September to find as much as possible before our trip.
    I can see us going back again next year to carry on the search, well you have to don’t you :)

  88. Richard says:

    Could anyone help with this one. When I do a search for say former cemeteries in Singapore, there are quite a few sites with this heading and Pasir Panjang is mentioned, when you enter any of these sites you get a list of cemeteries and where they were and on all the lists I have found not one of them have Pasir Panjang in them. Was this cemetery known by any other name?
    Many Thanks

  89. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Yes you are right, there seems to be block on the Pasir Panjang Military Cemetery at Dover Road. No pictures no noting, when I did a search with National Haritage Board (Singapore) an article appeared but it requires permission to view from the either NHB Singapore or Housing and Development Board Singapore. You can try Using “Exhumation of Pasir Panjang Military Cemetery” when you do your search. Question is there someting about PPMC that we are not suppose to know??? Can anyone help? Would be good if you could include a picture, there seems to be pictures of Ulu Pandan Military Cemetery and Kranji only.

  90. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    Richard,
    Got this entry from actual Ship Document, believe this is your family when you left Singapore, tried copying the actual Document (page) but was not able to.

    UK, Incoming Passenger Lists 1878 – 1960

    Name of Ship: M.V. EMPIRE WINDRUSH
    Steamship Line: The New Zealand Shipping Co. Ltd.
    Official Number: 181561
    Port of Embarkation: Singapore
    Port of Departure: Hong Kong, China
    Port of Arrival: Southampton, England
    Date of Arrival: 10th April 1952
    Proposed Address in the UK: Hostel Accom, c/o ESO Southampton
    Country of Last Permanent Residence: UK

    Name Birth Occupation Age Official Number
    Mrs Violet Harris 1913 Housewife 39 181561
    Miss Eleanor Harris 1938 Student 14 181561
    Miss Joan Harris 1940 Student 12 181561
    Master George Harris 1941 Student 11 181561
    Miss Margaret Harris 1945 Student 7 181561
    Master Dennis Harris 1947 Student 5 181561
    Master Richard Harris 1951 Infant 11/12 181561


    Grave Marker of RM HARRIS
    (Don’t know if SOMS is an acronym)

    Name: R. M. Harris
    Event Type: Burial
    Event Place: Singapore, Singapore
    Cemetery: Kranji Military Cemetery
    Death Date: 27 Apr 1951
    Affiliate Image Identifier: 2671805
    Latitude: 1.41846
    Longitude: 103.75731
    Affiliate Create Date: 2012-12-03 18:21:11

    Source: Jesus Christ of the latter Day Saints Family History
    Mark Hamilton-Shimmen

  91. Richard says:

    Mark

    Yes thanks, I have both of these documents and pictures of each of the ships they sailed in, this has all been very interesting reading. I am just annoyed with myself for leaving this all these years, I really should have done this a long time ago. But better late than never, I find it very strange that there is no info regarding Pasir Panjang Cemetery, I have asked National Archives for the info they have and just waiting for their reply.
    Thank You

  92. Richard says:

    Here’s the link to web page showing the area of Pasir Panjang Cemetery in 1995
    http://albiefield.co.uk/Singapore_web/pages/Sing046.htm

  93. Mark Hamilton-Shimmen says:

    SOMS (Typo) on the Grave Marker, should be SQMS (Rank / Designation or Appointment)

  94. Richard says:

    I have a picture of stone taken some 5 years ago, the wording is weathered slightly more than this picture but the Q does have a small tail, looks like the wording has been repainted and the tail of the Q has been left off. Wonder if I can take a small pot of paint with me and put it right

  95. Was anybody in Dempsey Road between 1956 and 61? Or at the Tanglin primary school. I have a number of photos to dig out of the school, the nativity play, the house I lived in and a birthday party – my 4th I think so that would be in Nov. 1959. I also remember the grocer who used to come round and every one hid their dogs because there were rumours that the Malay ate dogs! Also, does anyone remember going to the Sgt.’s mess at Christmas and Father Christmas arriving by helicopter?

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