On the 4th Nov 1937, in a final approval for the AMTB defences of Singapore, two Twin 6-Pounder Batteries on Pulau Tekong Besar were listed. They were a two gun battery on the East of Tekong Besar and a one gun battery on the West coast. These became Calder Harbour and Ladang Batteries respectively.
At Ladang there was to be:-
1 Twin 6-Pounder Gun Emplacement, a Gun Director Tower, a Magazine, a Stores and Shelter block, two 30° fixed DELs, An Engine Room and an Engine Room Stores Block
The works were due to be completed within nine months of 1st November 1938. The building works may have been completed on time, but no armament was forthcoming for Ladang. The European war breaking out on 3rd September 1939, meant that priority for weapons was given to British Home Defences and places such as Malta.
LEFT: A building at Ladang.
A cipher from the War Office in London to the G.O.C. Malaya on 28th August 1940, stated, “Owing to necessary diversion of 6-pdr. twin equipments to Home requirements impossible forecast date of provision for Singapore. But installation of 6-pdrs. at Home will release 12-pdrs. four of which should become available for shipment to Singapore by end of October for installation in the interim. Cable Map references and trunnion heights of selected sites for their installation”.
T he G.O.C. Malaya on 30th September 1940 sent to the War Office, “Sites selected for 12 pounders are Twin 6s, one Ladang, two Berhala one Labrador south”. On 30th January 1941 the War Office sent by cipher to G.O.C. to Malaya, “One 12-Pounder to be mounted at Ladang, 2 Changi outer, 1 Labrador”.
RIGHT: The area covered by the DELs at Changi Inner, Changi Outer, Pulau Sejahat and Ladang.
By March 1941, the Emplacement at Ladang must have been modified for the 12-Pounder. On the 5th March 1941, a cipher from G.O.C. Malaya to the War Office included the moving around of Twin 6-Pounders and 12-Pounders. Two 12-Pounders displaced from Berhala to allow two Twin 6-Pounders there were to sited, one at Labrador and one at Siloso. “This leaves Ladang with one 12-pdr equipment which is considered sufficient for the moment”.
Ladang had a fairly quiet war and the 12-Pounder did not see action. But, as often happens in war, there are humorous moments. From the Changi Fire Command War Diary: 12-12-41 0056 LAD (Ladang) report sentry fired one round S.A.A. (small arms ammunition) having observed a body moving on the beach. SARJ (Sejahat) reports hearing shot. Patrols sent out from LAD. Large dog probably cause of trouble. The nearest Ladang got to action was on the 5th February 1942, when the War Diary HQ Fixed Defences reported that around four bombs were dropped near Ladang.
Demolitions were carried out at Ladang during late afternoon on 14th February and the gun was spiked. The gun was left in the emplacement during the war, but was beyond repair. The gunners remained at Ladang until the Japanese finally arrived on Pulau Tekong on 22nd February 1942.
LEFT: Damage to the Director Tower photographed in 1946.
RIGHT: The Magazine in 1946.
Ladang was never re-armed.
ABOVE LEFT: The Emplacement with old guns on each side and in the gun emplacement.
ABOVE RIGHT: A Japanese Naval Gun in the 12-Pounder Emplacement.
Two of the guns on display are are 8-Inch 68 Pounder ML Guns of British Origin. The other two are Japanese, a Field Gun and a Naval Gun.
Ladang on Google Earth. Ladang is today on MINDEF land and is not accessible to the general public.