Siloso Point gun emplacement from the sea
The Director Tower and Twin 6-Pounder

The Gun Director Tower at Siloso Point. In front of the Director Tower is a Twin 6-Pounder Gun.

The original name for Siloso Point was ‘Sarang Rimau’, or ‘Tiger's Lair’, as tigers were reputed to have once roamed in the area. The underground complex at the Point is often incorrectly described as a tunnel complex, even in the Fort's literature. In fact, there are no real tunnels at the Fort. What are called ‘tunnels’ by some, including in the Fort’s literature, are the Magazines and underground areas.

Plan of the Fort in the 1880sThe Underground areas at Siloso Point and the Gun Emplacement there were constructed in three distinct stages over many years.

RIGHT: The first underground area was for for the Submarine Mining Establishment, and was constructed when the Fort was originally built. A sloping path led down from the Engine Shed to the Establishment. The Victorian Engineers, who constructed this first underground area knew that they needed to protect the Mining Establishment from incoming fire.

LEFT: A plan of the Test Room and Observation Post for the Submarine Mines. These rooms still exist and are at the top of the staircase leading down to the Siloso Point gun emplacement.

The second phase of expansion came when the plans in 1885 for a 9·2-Inch BL Emplacement were produced. A new power generation plant would be required for new equipment. The new construction would be underground near the Submarine Mining Establishment. The path would be excavated for new underground buildings. A new path leading to the new underground areas and Mining Establishment would also be required.

1885 plan of the underground complex RIGHT: Drawn from 1885 plans showing the proposed construction of an underground area at Siloso Point. This area would provide new Engine Rooms, a Boiler Room and Coal Stores. The new 9.2-Inch Gun requiring electrical power for traversing and for raising ammunition from the Magazine below it.

The men working underground keeping the steam boilers supplied with coal would have had an unenviable job in the heat of Singapore. As indeed, would any man working in the Engine Room.

The Electric Light Emplacement is shown as being temporary, however it also also appears on an 1896 plan of the Fort.

1911 plan of the areaLEFT: By 1911 the temporary Electric Light Emplacement had gone, and two new Electric Light Emplacements had been constructed to replace it.

Several Infantry Posts and two Maxim Machine Gun Emplacements were also in place to defend the Fort.

During the 1930s, the underground complex was further enlarged, and more modern oil-fired electrical generating plant was installed. Oil storage facilities for the generators was added beside the entrance to the underground complex. Major works were undertaken at the tip of Siloso Point to accommodate three Electric Light Emplacements and a Twin 6-Pounder Gun Emplacement with Director Tower and Magazine. As things turned out, there was no Twin 6-Pounder available and the Gun Emplacement was modified slightly in 1941 by installing a 12-Pounder Holdfast in the gun well, and mounting a 12-Pounder QF Gun.

After WWII, a Twin 6-Pounder was mounted in the emplacement. This gun, and two others at Berhala Reping and Batu Berlayar were adapted for anti-aircraft use.

Plan of the Siloso Point underground complex and gun emplacement

When the Fort was restored during the 1990s, the Power Room was partitioned. A false wall projecting out in to the passage was also added near the stairs leading up to the old Submarine Mining Station. This gives the visitor a completely false impression of what the room looked like when in use.