Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fort Siloso: The Only Preserved British Coastal Fortification in Singapore

Three NAKED facts

NF#1: Built by the British in the 1880s to protect the western entrance to the Singapore harbour, Fort Siloso is the only preserved British coastal fortification in Singapore today. The name 'Siloso' supposedly comes from a Filipino word 'Seloso', which means a jealous person. The original name for Siloso Point was 'Sarang Rimau', or 'The Tiger's Lair', as it was said that tigers used to roam in the area.

Question for Visitors: Have you hear about the story that the Singapore Guns were facing the wrong way (south) when the Japanese attacked Singapore from the north during World War II?

NF#2: This is not true. The guns were not facing the wrong way, but the forts themselves were wrongly located for an attack from the north. The British had assumed that the defense in the north will be well-covered by Peninsular Malaysia. According to records, most of the forts, including Fort Siloso, took part in the battle.

NF#3: The fort complex is often incorrectly described as a tunnel complex, though in actual fact there are no real tunnels at the Fort, but underground chambers. There were stories that there are undersea tunnels that join Sentosa with Labrador Park. However, no one has been able to proof this so far. There are lots of natural caves along the coast of Sarang Rimau though.

Too Much Information:

The Fort was a POW Camp until the end of World War II. When the Japanese surrender in 1945, Fort Siloso returned to British occupancy, and in September that year, it was initially used by the Royal Navy.

The fort was opened to the public as the Singapore Gun Museum in 1975, and the buildings, underground complexes and gun emplacements both wartime and from the early days of Siloso are very well preserved, although some areas were changed to allow ease of access by tourists.

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