Fort Connaught 1922
Fort Connaught Commander in February 1942: Major J.W. Hipkin, R.A.
Fort Connaught was on the eastern side of Blakang Mati (Sentosa). It began life as Blakang Mati East Battery in 1878. It was armed in similar manner to Fort Siloso with three 7-Inch RML Guns and two 64 Pounder RML Guns. By 1886, the two 64 Pounders had been removed and were later replaced by two Mark IV 9·2-Inch Guns on Barbette style carriages. A similar gun was emplaced at Fort Siloso and two more at Fort Pasir Panjang. The 7-Inch guns remained for a few more years.
Following a visit to Singapore by the Duke of Connaught in 1890, the Battery was renamed Fort Connaught in his honour. Two 6 Inch QF Guns were added to the Fort’s armament and remained there until after the Owen Committee’s report of 1907 when they were transferred to Fort Silingsing on nearby Pulau Brani.
In 1910, a Mark X 9·2-Inch Gun was added to the Fort’s armament. This was mounted on the central knoll of the Fort. The two Mark IVs remained in service for another two years before being removed.
RIGHT: A 1922 plan for a proposed revision to the armament by adding a second 9·2-Inch Gun
During the 1930s, the Fort was completely rebuilt and was armed with three Mark X 9.2-Inch Guns on Mark VII high-angle mounts. A Battery Observation Post was built at the top of Mount Serapong, and a Battery Plotting Room was built deep underground into the northern side of Mount Serapong.
Fort Connaught is reported to have fired all its ammunition at the advancing Japanese during February 1942. The guns were spiked before the British surrender and the Fort passed into history. Post war aerial photos show the three guns still facing the Japanese line of advance.
LEFT: A 9.2-Inch Gun at Fort Connaught circa 1941.
11.2.42: Connaught Fort (9·2” at 1430 ordered to put down concentrations of fire on to JURONG and ULU PANDAN Villages on JURONG ROAD. (Approx 36 Rds HE expended on these tasks). Enemy had reached line JURONG ROAD
12.2.42: During the afternoon further land targets on the JURONG ROAD and BUKIT TIMAH AREAS were engaged by CONNAUGHT Bty on instructions from CBO Attached III Corps. About 60 Rounds were expended on these targets many of which had been previously registered by Silent Registration.
14.2.42: At 0715 hrs B.C. Connaught destroyed N1 and N2 Guns followed at 0815 hrs by N3 Gun. The Rangefinding Instruments were destroyed at the O.P. later........
There were no events of importance to record until January 18th, when there was a heavy Air Raid on Blakang Mati and a large number of Bombs fell on Serapong Hill and in and around Connaught Fort...... Two Bombs fell very close to the O.P. on SERAPONG HILL, the splinters of one penetrating the Steel Shutters of the O.P. wounding one man inside......
...... Others fell on the roadway behind each gun causing craters, but with the exception of N.2 where two casualties occurred to men in the Gun Turret. (1 killed 1 wounded). The only damage to the Guns was one broken oil pipe on N.2.
in his 1946 report on Singapore and Penang coast Artillery, Colonel F.W. Rice recommended the re-arming of Fort Connaught. This recommendation was never acted on. The spiked guns and equipment were removed and the Fort abandoned.
1950 Aerial photo of Fort Connaught
With Sentosa developed for leisure purposes, most of the Fort has vanished. A lot of the land from what once was the hill on which Fort Connaught was has been removed to create the Tanjong Golf Course.
The No. 1 Gun Emplacement and its Magazine were completely destroyed during the creation of the golf course.
There would seem to be significant remains of the No.2 Emplacement. Evidence on the ground would certainly indicate substantial underground remains. However there is no access to prove or disprove this. The The underground Power Room for the Fort was adjacent to the No.2 Emplacement, and there are remains of this.
The No.3 Gun Emplacement with its Magazine and the Battery Control Tower have survived. They are on golf course land and are surrounded by vegetation. The Battery Observation Post has also survived. This is located at the top of Mount Serapong.
ABOVE: A 9.2 Inch Coastal Artillery Gun on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, England. This particular gun was originally emplaced in Gibraltar, but is the same as those found at Fort Connaught And the Tekong Besar Battery. The gun at Mount Imbiah was an earlier model without the automated loading facilities.
Centre left in the right-hand photograph is the hydraulic ram which would be swung over in line with the breech. A shell would be placed in the ram and it would push the shell and charge into the breech.
Fort Connaught Plotted On Google Earth
There will be a margin of error in the plots for the No.1 and No.3 Guns in the image above. The reason for this is that Google Earth being an aerial photo, does not give a proper plan view.