Singapore’s role in World War II is often underrepresented in world history, but the fact is that the island country was actively involved in the war. As one of the Allied nations, Singapore fought in opposition to the Axis powers, namely Japan.
A few relics still survive in Singapore to commemorate its part in the war, not the least of which is Fort Siloso on Sentosa Island.
Fort Siloso is the only remaining coastal artillery battery in Singapore, of which there were once twelve. These twelve gun forts comprised the so-called “Fortress Singapore” and were crucial in the defense of the island against invasion from the sea. Today, visitors can attend Fort Siloso, which is now home to a museum, and explore some of the original tunnels and secret passageways that once made the fort so important.
Though closed after World War II ended, Fort Siloso was reopened as a visitor center in 1975, one of the first war sites in Singapore to open to the public. It now contains a fascinating maze of passages as well as Singapore’s biggest collection of World War II paraphernalia. Life-sized models depict how soldiers utilized Fort Siloso to maintain Singapore’s security and display the contemporary technology of the time. Interactive displays and even authentic smells have been carefully recreated to give visitors a keen sense of what life was like for the brave soldiers who tended the fort.
Fort Siloso is the only military site open to tourists on Sentosa Island, and makes for a wonderful activity to fill a few hours learning about Singaporean history. The fort is open between 10 am and 6 pm everyday. Guided tours are offered free-of-charge on the weekends at 11am and 4pm, and last about an hour and a half, making this tour of Fort Siloso the perfect pre-lunch or dinner activity.
Entrance fees are extremely reasonable, at just SGD$8 for adults and SGD$5 for children and its location on Allenbrook Road in Sentosa is very accessible by public transport or car. Grab the Sentosa Bus from Seah Im Interchange near Harbourfront MRT station on Singapore Island. Once on Sentosa, take the Blue or Red Line buses to Fort Siloso.
Photo Credit: Choo Yut Shing