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

101 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!

  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

      • 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:

    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.
    Does anybody knows which building does it refer to?

  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:

    Thank you.
    Cheers :)


  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.

    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.


  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)

  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.

  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.

    • 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

    • 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?

      • 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


        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

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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

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