Singapore’s best-preserved 19th-century fort, Fort Siloso, was gazetted as a National Monument, fortifying its place in Singapore’s built heritage.
The historic site that stands as a testament to Singapore’s war years and rich military history will be accorded the highest level of protection, with 11 fort structures that collectively tell Singapore’s defence story. This marks the first time that a site with structures is gazetted as a National Monument.
In commemoration of its role in the Battle for Singapore which marks its 80th anniversary this year, Fort Siloso was officially gazetted on Total Defence Day (15 February).
The National Heritage Board (NHB) made known its intention to gazette Fort Siloso on 17 January 2022.
The site was accorded immediate protection as a proposed National Monument, following the amendments to the Preservation of Monuments Act in 2021. NHB then engaged with key heritage stakeholders and also welcomed public feedback on the proposed monument.
7-inch Rifled Muzzle-Loading (RML) Gun Emplacement with Shell and Cartridge Store
This gun emplacement dates back to 1878 and is still intact today. It had shell and cartridges stores underground. Bomb damage due to air attacks during WWII was visible at the emplacement, though the damage was subsequently restored in the 1990s.
6-inch Quick-Firing (QF) Mark II Gun Emplacement
The “6-inch QF Mark II Gun Emplacement” is found above “Tunnel C Complex”. There were two gun emplacements that held two 6-inch QF guns before they were moved. Shells would be sent up the hoist from the tunnel to a hatch.
Tunnel C Complex
“Tunnel C Complex” was a magazine which served both gun emplacements above ground. A magazine is an underground structure which stores shells and cartridges for military use, and in this instance, they were sent up to the guns above via the two ammunition hoists.
Battery Command Post
The “Battery Command Post” was where the Battery Commander was located. The post had a clear view of the oil installations on Pulau Bukom and the western sea lanes into the Harbour.
These casemates were strong underground chambers built to provide accommodation, office and storage space. They were designed to be shellproof and faced away from the sea to protect it from hostile naval firing.
Tunnel B Complex
Similar to the gun emplacements in Cluster 1, the gun emplacements in this location were serviced by an underground magazine which is known as “Tunnel B Complex” today.
6-inch Breech Loading (BL) Gun Emplacement with Underground Magazine
From this location, the personnel in the past had a good view of the sea in front, and of Labrador Battery and the Pasir Panjang area on Singapore mainland behind.
Tunnel A Complex
In 1885, Tunnel A Complex consisted of Submarine Mining Post (present day Observation Post), Electric Light (Searchlights) and Engine Room. The powerhouse complex was later upgraded, extended and expanded with more rooms to store ammunition, and a watch duty area to improve the complex’s security.
Fire Director Tower, 12-Pounder QF Gun Emplacement with Magazine and Searchlight Posts
The Fire Director Tower formed part of a coast artillery command which directed guns of increased range and accuracy. Its height and location at Siloso Point commanded a clear view of the western entrance to Singapore.
64-Pounder RML Gun Emplacement
This was the site of twin Lewis machine guns that were installed during World War II as anti-aircraft armament.
Sergeants’ Mess and Officers’ Mess
This site features two long buildings – one used to house the barracks and officers’ mess; and the other most likely housed a laundry room, cook house and tailor.
As a gazetted monument, Fort Siloso will continue to serve as a social and community space enjoyed by Singaporeans, as well as a tourist attraction.