Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Memories @ Old Ford Factory

December 18, 2008

The lush green surroundings evokes a sense of tranquility. The sound of rustling bamboo swaying with the wind. The occasional tunes of chirping birds can be heard from the trees. A sense of calm prevails. But 66 years ago at this same place, the feelings felt by those who trudged up this same path to the building were vey much different. The building was the Ford Motor Factory located at Upper Bukit Timah Road. The feelings of those present were that of the victors and the vanquished. The historical event was the signing of the surrender papers which took place on 15th Feb 1942 during World War II. The British surrendered to to the Japanese invading forces which led to a three and a half years of Japanese occupation of Singapore, once known to be the “Gibraltar of the East”, an impregnable fortress.

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^ No.351 Upper Bukit Timah Road.

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^ The pathway leading up to the former Old Ford Motor Factory.

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^ The building was gazetted as a national monument on 15th Feb 2006 by the Preservation of Monuments Board.

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^ Defence of the impregnable fortress by Allied troops comprising of military forces from Britain, Australia, New Zealand, as well as from the local community.

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^ The battle of Bukit Timah begins…(click on photo to enlarge and read)

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^ A bit of history of the old Ford Motor factory.

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^ Led by Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita (also known as the Tiger of Malaya), commander of the 25th Japanese Imperial Army, the invasion of Malaya (Malayan Campaign) began on 8th Dec 1941 with the amphibious landing of the Japanese army at the northern coast of Malaya at Kota Bahru. Simultaneous landings were also made at Pattani and Songkhla (Thailand). The Japanese army advanced southward along the eastern and western coastal routes of the Malay Peninsular. Within two months, they were at the gates of the impregnable fortress – Singapore. Here’s a link providing a more detailed account of the Battle of Malaya.

Why did Japan adopted an expansion policy? Read more from the following two photographs below. v

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^ Replicas of grenades used during the Malayan campaign.

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^ Replica of a pistol used by the Japanese army.

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^ A cloth cap and a bayonet which can be attach to the rifle used by Japanese soldiers.

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^ The surrender party and the Union Jack. Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, GOC of Malaya, second from right in the photo led the surrender party.

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^ Entering the Old Ford Motor Factory.

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^ At the “Surrender Table”. Lieutenant-General Yamashita (seated at the centre) thumped his fist on the table demanding the unconditional surrender of Singapore.

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^ Transcript of the dialogue at the surrender table.

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^ Tables and chairs of the “Surrender Chamber”.

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^ The “Surrender Chamber”.

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^ Lieutenant-General A.E. Percival (GOC of Malaya) signing the surrender.

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^ At 6.20pm on the 15th Feb 1942 (Chinese New Year), Singapore the last bastion of British stronghold, fell to the Japanese.

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^ The Inside Story. The Japanese army supply lines were actually thinly stretched along the Malayan Peninsular. Lt-Gen Yamashita knew that if there were to be any further delay in the capture of Singapore, not only will he be unable to sustain the ongoing battle, but worst still, could be push back by the Allied forces. The Japanese army were already outnumbered which some say is 2:1. His only gamble, to give Lt-Gen Percival the ultimatum. Surrender Singapore or face continual artilllery bombardment on the island regardless of civilian casulties/deaths. His demand, the unconditional surrender of Singapore.

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^ When Lt-Gen A.E.Percival signed the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese on 15th Feb 1942, a new order begun. The Japanese flag was hoisted over Cathay Building (the tallest building at that time) as a visual symbol of the presence of the new rulers. Singapore was renamed Syonan-to, meaning “Light of the South Islands”. For three-and-a-half years after this day, the lives of many were changed as the Japanese occupation of Singapore began. Fear was skillfully used by the Japanese military forces as well as the Japanese Kempetai to weed out anti-Japanese elements and to maintain order among the allied prisoners and the civilian population. Beheading was one of the means to instill fear and secure compliance. The head of beheaded persons would be propped up on a stake and put up at public places for all to see. Such will be the punishment for anyone who oppose Japanese rule.

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^ The purge known as “Sook Ching”.

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^ A Japanese soldier plunging his rifle bayonet into the body of the person to ensure nobody is alive.

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^ The Japanese Kempeitai. The building in the photo is Cathay Building, the Kempeitai HQ during the Japanese Occupation.

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^ Do you recognise this building which was one of the many buildings used as a Kempeitai gaol during the Occupation? Here’s a link to fellow blogger who wrote in his blog “2nd Shot” about the building at the “Junction of Smith Street and New Bridge Road”

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^ Allied POWs interned at Changi and other locations during the Japanese Occupation. Scarcity of food coupled with the lack of medical supplies led to many who suffered from malaria, dysentery and other diseases.

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^ A birth certificate issued during the Japanese Occuption shown on the left. On the right is the reissued birth certificate under the Colony of Singapore in 1949.

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^ Food ration coupons which entitled the holder to collect a stipulated quantity of essential foodtsuffs like rice and sugar etc. Civilians were encouraged to grow their own crops such as tapioca which was the common diet diet during Japanese rule.

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^ Cinema ticket. Presumably attended by the wealthy and influential during the Occupation.

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^ Banana money, lottery tickets, cheque book, from Ban Hin Lee Bank.

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^ The Empire Strikes Back. Plans to retake the occupied territories under Japanese rule were underway.

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^ Mr Tan Kah Kee (b:1874 d:1961) and Mr Lee Kong Chian (b:1893 d:1967). Two prominent merchants who contributed immensely to fund raising efforts for the China Relief Fund.

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^ Force 136. Who were they?

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^ Force 136 carried out undercover operations that disrupted Japanese military operatons and provided intelligence that greatly assisted the Allied forces to retake Malaya.

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^ Members of Force 136.

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^ Elizabeth Choy (b:1910, d:2006), war heroine of Singapore.

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^ Lim Bo Seng’s diary on display.

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^ A Japanese sword given to Force 136 member, Mr Thiam Sien Yen, by the British in recognition of his contributions to anti-Japanese resistance efforts during the Japanese Occupation.

On 6th Aug 1945, the first of two atomic bombs was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Carried by a B29 Superfortress bomber aircraft piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets of the 393 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), the atomic bomb codenamed “Little Boy” devastated Hiroshima. Three days later on 9th Aug 1945, the second atomic bomb codenamed “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki from the Superfortress piloted by Major Charles Sweeny from the same squadron. This brought a quick end to the Second World War.

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^ The Japanese surrender party led by General Itagaki Seishiro walking up the steps of City Hall.

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^ An excerpt of what happened during the signing of the Instrument of Surrender by the Japanese forces.

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^ Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander (South East Asia Theatre) signing the document accepting the surrender of the Japanese forces.

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^ General Itagaki signing the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Field Marshal Count Terauchi Hisaichi.

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^ The Instrument of Surrender signed by General Itagaki and Lord Louis Mountbatten on 12th Sep 1945 formally ended Japanese rule in South East Asia.

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^ The surrender of Japan saw many Japanese soldiers rounded up to carry out public repairs and reinstatement works.

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^ Fences that once surrounded Old Parliament House are now used as…

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^ …an installation art in the gallery for its symbolic meaning.

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^ The “Talking Map”. Discover more when you are in this section of the gallery.

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^ The old Ford Motor Factory. A building of historical significance.

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^ Books about the Syonan years available on sale at the reception desk.

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^ A film presentation in the AV theatre on the Japanese Occupation and the struggles faced by those who survived. A must-see.

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^ Take a quiet stroll along the Syonan Garden Footpath.

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^ The Syonan Garden Footpath is lined with decommissioned weathered railway sleepers. The rough surface of the footpath symbolises the ardous journey of the Bahau (Fuji Village) and Endau (New Syonan) settlers had undertaken to establish the two farming settlements outside Syonan during the Japanese Occupation.

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^ Directions and distance to historical landmarks.

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^ Beautiful floral that lined the pathway to Old Ford Factory.

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^ A mirror of ourselves.

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^ What we can learn from history.

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^ A sculpture bearing the Chinese characters “He Ping” (hanyu pinyin) which means “PEACE”.

Links for further browsing: Memories at Old Ford Factory and the Japanese Cemetery Park in Singapore.

It was a memorable visit to Memories at Old Ford Factory. A worthy trip to learn about the past, at the present, for the future…lest we forget.

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F-35 JSF, Singapore expressed interest

July 9, 2008

An article published in TODAY newspaper which describe Singapore’s interest in possibly buying up to 100 of this 5th generation fighter aircraft. One of the world’s most advance multi-role fighter aircraft which can operate in any environment in attacking moving targets. Here’s the scoop.

Singapore has shown interest in possibly buying up to 100 of the stealthy, multi-role F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft over coming decades, said the general in charge of the programme for the Pentagon.

Said Air Force Major-General Charles Davis, the Pentagon’s programme chief: “The Israelis have said they’d take up to 100 aircraft. The Singaporeans have said basically the same thing.” Embassy spokesmen for the two countries had no immediate comment. The world’s most advanced fighter jet, the supersonic F-35 is designed to attack moving targets in any environment.

It uses stealth technology to prevent detection by radar or infrared sensors. Development of the super-fighter was co-financed by Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway. Singapore, as a security cooperation participant of the multinational programme, has access to proprietary information, including flight simulations. Israel is currently the only nation involved at this level, one rung down from the nine JSF programme partners.

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, in a previous comment on the F-35 JSF, said the plane was “a potential candidate” to meet the air force’s “longer-term requirements for a multi-role fighter”. The United States currently plans to buy a total of 2,443 F-35 models. Hundreds of others may be sold overseas to replace a range of fighters, including Lockheed Martin F-16s and Boeing F-18s. It is the costliest US arms programme ever at a projected US$299 billion (S$407 billion). The conventional version is projected to cost about US$68 million a piece. ~ AGENCIES

WASHINGTON: The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which Singapore has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing 100 in quantity, is expected to be the world’s premier strike aircraft through 2040. The stealthy F-35 Lightning II, as it is called, will redefine the concept of multi-role strike aircraft.

It is the first-ever aircraft designed to replace four existing aircraft from three US services. These are operational fighters such as the US Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and the “tank-killing” A-10 Thunderbolt, the US Navy and Marine Corps’ F-18 Hornet and the Marines’ AV-8 Harrier “jump jet”. In addition to stealth, speed and manoeuvreability, the fifth-generation F-35 has increased range and carries a greater payload than the fighters it is replacing. It is able to simultaneously fight at least eight enemy planes and, at the same time, lock-on to as many as 16 enemy ground targets. Also, it can track literally hundreds of targets for 360 degrees and at tracking distances that far exceed the distances of existing fighter aircraft.

The multi-role, all-weather day-and-night fighter and attack air system is designed to operate as a Short Take-off and Vertically Land (STOVL) aircraft from land bases and from the next generation of aircraft carriers. Its new AIM-9X air-to-air missile can perform high off-boresight shots without turning the aircraft’s nose towards the target. Its Aesa radar allows the aircraft to invade, blind or fool enemy sensors and radar at ranges of up to hundreds of kilometres. The JSF will take on the mission of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

A fleet of F-35s will be able to conduct missions deep into enemy territory to take advantage of physics, by being nearer the targets, while deepening the areas of surveillance. The F-35 Lightning II’s first successful flight was in December 2006. The pilots who fly the super-fighter have nothing but accolades for the aircraft. Said Lockheed Martin’s chief test pilot Jon Beesley: “This is the plane that, because of its stealth, will be able to go in and kick down the door on the first day of a war.” ~ AGENCIES

F-35 JSF Aircraft Specifications

Must wear helmet is it?

June 30, 2008

When I read about the article published in Channel News Asia on Red Berets win Best Combat Unit once more, it brings to mind the early days of National Service. As I learnt, Commandos usually wear the jungle hat during training whereas helmets are worn during live-firing exercises and at ranges, SOC (Standard Obstacle Course), parachute jumps, heli and cliff rapelling, all these being part and parcel of training safety regulations.

The helmet has come a long way since the early days of soldiering in Singapore. In the past, the helmets comes in three parts – the inner liner made of hard plastic material; the outer protective cover made of steel with the chin-strap; and lastly the camouflage cloth cover that is used as a wrapping cover over the steel pot to provide the camouflage effect. A thick piece of black rubber band is usually placed along the rim of the helmet to secure the camouflage cloth. It also serves the purpose of allowing you to secure leaves, lallang, and a wide variety of flora and fauna so as to break the outline of the soldier’s form inorder to blend in with the surroundings to remain undetected by the naked eye. Those who happen to accidentally have a flower or two, pinned on your helmet will probably earn you some push ups from the field instructor. A walking flower in the middle of the jungle is definitely a presentable target in the cross-hairs of your enemy.

Photocredit: National Archives of Singapore.

For those who served National Service before the kevlar helmet was introduced, you will probably have some stories to tell about the steel pot helmet. This humble helmet serves many purposes from the various army stories I gathered. Other than the primary objective of protecting the head, it can be used as a container to collect rain water; Act as a scoop to gather river water to bathe oneself; boil water using the outer steel pot in case if you forgot your mess-tins; a pillow for your head when you sleep, though it is sure to give you a neck ache in the morning; trench-digging if you forgot your changkul and spades; and perhaps many more purposes during your stint in National Service.

Who knows? The next generation of helmets will enable all the military purposes to be fulfilled and perhaps even come with a variety of added appplications. You may catch the latest movie when you pull down the sun-screen visor to view your favourite movie in the HUD (Heads Up Display) with built-in stereo as you stand-down while in the jungle. Just hope you don’t hear your Segeant screaming through the intercom “You soldier! Who say you can sleep. KNOCK IT DOWN…TWENTY”

Dec 8, 1941 Outbreak WWII

December 8, 2007

December 8, 1941 – The United States declares war on Japan
On this day, as America’s Pacific fleet lay in ruins at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt requests, and receives, a declaration of war against Japan. Leaning heavily on the arm of his son James, a Marine captain, FDR walked haltingly into the House of Representatives at noon to request a declaration of war from the House and address the nation via radio. “Yesterday,” the president proclaimed, “December 7, 1941-a date which will live in infamy-the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.” Roosevelt’s 10-minute speech, ending with an oath-“So help us God”-was greeted in the House by thunderous applause and stamping of feet. Within one hour, the president had his declaration of war, with only one dissenting vote, from a pacifist in the House. FDR signed the declaration at 4:10 p.m., wearing a black armband to symbolize mourning for those lost at Pearl Harbor. On both coasts, civilian defense groups were mobilized. In New York, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia ordered the rounding up of Japanese nationals, who were transported to Ellis Island and held in custody indefinitely. In California, antiaircraft batteries were set up on Long Beach and the Hollywood Hills. Reports on supposed spy activity on the part of Japanese Americans began pouring into Washington, even as Japanese Americans paid for space in newspapers to declare unreservedly their loyalty to the United States. The groundwork was being laid for the tragic internment of Japanese Americans, thought a necessary caution at the time but regretted years later as a hysterical and bigoted response.

A day earlier on Dec 7, 1941, the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour was bombed. Bombing of Pearl Harbour

The Japanese are coming!!

December 6, 2007

66 years ago on this day of Dec 6, 1941, Royal Australian Air Force reconnaissance aircrafts spotted Japanese cruisers, destroyers, troop-carriers along the coast of Malaya. Over the next few days will see the outbreak of World War II with the Japanese invasion of South East Asia and ultimately, the fall of Singapore (known as the “Gibraltar of the East”) in the weeks to come. Read more about what happened on Dec 6, 1941 at This Day In History (Dec 6, 1941)

A place called “HOME”

November 28, 2007

Came across a fellow soldier’s webpage. It brought back wonderful memories eventhough it has been more than 20 years ago when I was in that Home

For the Jumpers

November 22, 2007

Airborne School

HALO Parachute Jump

Navy Seals Parachute Jump

Joint Airborne Jump – 1st Force Recon & 82nd Airborne

US Army Paratrooper Jump

Special Ops Night Jump

Bad Jump Exits

A moment in NS history

April 19, 2007

Reminiscing the good old days of National Service

Elite Warriors

January 31, 2007

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Guess what these guys do when they are high up in the air …… have a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening).
Or perhaps have a HAHO (High Altitude High Opening)

Click below to view
British SAS
SAS in Iranian Embassy Siege London
British Paras
US Army Rangers
US Navy Seals
Seal Snipers
Force Recon and 82nd Airborne
German GSG-9
French Foreign Legion
Legionnaires in Green Hell
Army Pathfinders
RED ON STAND IN THE DOOR….GREEN ON…GO!!!