In the Report of the Singapore Commission (General Sir Webb Gillman) of 1927, it was recommended that Pulau Tekong Besar should be armed with two 6 Inch Guns on Pyramid Hill. In 1931 it was stated that a three gun 9·2 Inch Battery on Cemetery Hill was desirable for the island as well as the 6 Inch Battery. Despite this, only a two gun battery was then considered. Later, a three gun three gun battery was approved.
A narrow gauge railway was constructed and carried the gun parts and equipment from a jetty at Ladang. It would later be used to bring ammunition to the guns.
LEFT: Probably the No.1 Gun in 1938. Ventilators for the Magazine are in the foreground.
The battery was constructed and given the name ‘Tekong Besar Battery’. The battery was designated as a Counter Bombardment Battery. That is to say that its purpose was to engage large warships at range. The guns emplaced were three Mark X 9·2 Inch BL Guns. These were mounted on 35° Mark VII Mountings. The design of the gun emplacements was said to be the same as that at Fort Connaught.
Also constructed were two Battery Observation Posts, one of which was in Johore at the top of Bukit Pengerang, a Battery Command Post, and a Battery Plotting Room.
Accommodation and offices were constructed close by. The Battery was given the code name ‘TEAK’, and came under Changi Fire Command.
RIGHT: An aerial view of the Tekong Besar Battery and the accommodation buildings.
“5.2.42: JOHORE (15 inch, 2 guns), TEKONG (three 9.2”) and SPHINX (Two 6”) fired on WEST JOHORE BAHRU and mainland North of PONGOL Point. 2 enemy aircraft engaged by AALA fire from PENGERANG”
“6.2.42: TEKONG and SPHINX registered targets on P.UBIN and mainland north of P. UBIN. Later same batteries engaged an area N.W. of PONGOL Point.”
These were just two of the times that Tekong Besar engaged Japanese forces.
The approximate expenditure of ammunition by the Tekong Besar Battery was given as being, 70 Rounds of H.E. and 200 Rounds of A.P.
On the evening of 14th February 1942, on the orders of the C.F.D., the Tekong Besar Battery was spiked. The No.2 Magazine completely detonated, destroying the Emplacement and Magazine leaving a large crater, “about 50 yards (45·7m) wide and 20 yards (18·3m) deep”, with the Holdfast of the gun lying at the bottom. The Japanese occupied Pulau Tekong and Pengerang on the 22nd February.
A Holdfast was a circular arrangement of long bolts buried in concrete to which a gun mounting was fastened. The quantity and length of the bolt was dependant on the type of gun being mounted.
Substantial remains of the Tekong Besar Battery still exist, but the area is MINDEF land and is not accessible.
Tekong Besar on Google Earth. The land to the south of the Battery has been reclaimed.