In 1975, work began to rebuild Changi Air Base into an international airport. This would replace Paya Lebar as Singapore’s International Airport, Paya Lebar not being considered as suitable for expansion for many reasons. Land reclamation required for the expansion, and building work would destroy visible remains of the gun batteries built by the British. In 1978, the No.3 Emplacement of the Johore Battery was demolished. There were now no visible signs of the Battery.
LEFT: The remains of the Shell Store with the Handling Room beyond.
RIGHT: The Burster of the Engine Room. The doorway was the entrance passage to the Engine Room/Magazine complex.
A Burster was a concrete shell surrounding an underground area. As the name implies, the Burster was designed to absorb incoming fire, thus preventing any penetration of the area inside.
LEFT & RIGHT: The Gun Well.
Lloyd Lease, where Abingdon Road and Cosford Road RAF Married Quarters were, was demolished when the Singapore Prisons Service took over the area for an expansion of prison provision. In April 1991, whilst doing some area cleaning work, the No.1 Emplacement of the Johore Battery was partly uncovered. Further clearance was done and an investigation in to what exactly had been uncovered was launched. It was not long before it was realised that the site of the Johore Battery No.1 Gun had been uncovered. The magazine was flooded and was pumped out, explored, and photographed.
LEFT: The No.1 Engine Room.
RIGHT: A flooded entrance shaft to the Magazine.
LEFT: A plan of the No.1 Magazine.
RIGHT: The Replica 15 Inch Gun.
The Magazine was sealed once again, but its outline was created in concrete directly above it on the surface behind the gun well. A replica 15 Inch Gun was manufactured and placed where The No.1 Gun, on its Singapore Mounting once stood.
The new historical site was officially opened on 15th February 2002 as part of a programme commemorating the 60th anniversary of the fall of Singapore. The opening was witnessed by 200 returning POW and their families and friends.
Whilst the No.3 Emplacement has been destroyed, and the No.1 Emplacement still has its Magazine and a replica gun, what of the No.2 Emplacement?
The Trunnion Height (swivel point of the barrel) of the No.2 Gun was 50 feet. The height of the ground where the gun once was, is a close match for the ground level of the gun. Comparing modern and period maps and photographs, would seem to indicate that the area has not been demolished in the manner of the area of the No.3 Gun. In addition, there is no reference I can find in the press to any demolition work.
There is a large ‘hump’ on the ground where the Gun was. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, there is every reason to believe that the magazine is still there.
It would be nice to be able to do a ground survey there and establish if there is anything still there.