Page from the War Diary

From: 7 Heavy Regiment Secret Operational Instruction No 2. Dated 5th September 1939.

(a) Examination Service

(i) Examination Service at Singapore will begin to function at 1200 hrs Wednesday 6 Sep.

ii) Examination Bty 6 in bty at SILOSO will carry out the role of Examination Battery in accordance with instructions already laid down.

From: 7th Heavy Regiment Secret Operational Instruction No. 5. Dated 9th September 1939

1. Degree of Readiness - Faber Fire Command

As from 12 noon Mon 11 Sep 39 the following arrangements will take effect with regards to Forts and Posts:-
F.C. POST AND F.O.PS
SILOSO BATTERY (Examination Bty)
SERAPONG BATTERY
BUONA VISTA BATTERY
to be fully manned ...... The degree of readiness of the above and for Fortress Systems will be in accordance with 7 Hy Regt Operation No.2 para 3. ......

2. LIGHTS. The following Lights will be manned:-
Observation Light - TANJONG GUL
Fighting Lights - SILOSO 1&2
     SERAPONG 1&2 .......

7. One A.A. L.M.G. will be in position and manned at Forts SERAPONG and SILOSO and each C.B Bty on duty. Drums will not be filled but one box SAA will be readily accessible.

From: Sheet 2. WAR DIARY or SUMMARY OF INTELLIGENCE

SILOSO BATTERY. 19 Sep 39 1230 A Dutch Boat STRAAT MALAKKA declined to obey the instructions of the Examination Vessel until the battery fired a “heave-to” round across her bows.

From Faber Fire Command War Diary

8 December 1941 at 1545
For defence against low flying aircraft permission is granted to fuze 20 rounds of 6” Shrapnel fuzes 88 as follows. 50% at fuze 1.2 for engagements at 2,000x and 50% at fuze 0.1 for engagements at 500x.

Map of area11 February 1942.
“At 1200 hrs SILOSO and LABRADOR forts engaged enemy concentrations at the WEST end of the WEST COAST ROAD. (MR 7312) and JURONG RIVER position (approx 60 rounds HE expended) at request of I.M.I.B.”

Note: The map reference above is shaded in the image to the right. It is around the location of the Hong Leong Shopping Centre.

“At 1630 hrs SILOSO FORT, and central British Barracks area bombed from Air. Damage to Reserve Water Tank at SILOSO .....”

12 February 1942
Siloso engaged targets on the West Coast Road and fired on the oil tanks on Pulau Bukom to deny the oil they contained to the Japanese. Further land targets were engaged on the 13th.

13th and 14th February
The Siloso guns were turned on the oil installations on Pulau Bukom and Pulau Sebarok to the south west of Blakang Mati. This action was carried out in an attempt to destroy the installations before the Japanese could take them over. They also engaged land targets in the area of West Coast Road at 1100 on the 13th.

At 2115 on the 13th, a boat was, “observed approaching the Western Entrance Contrary to orders. Two rounds were fired and it was sunk. Subsequently it turned out that the occupants were stragglers of the AIF, one of whom reached the shore, wounded and was sent to Hospital”.

On the night of 13/14 February 1942, a ship was detected outside the minefields protecting the approach to Keppel Harbour. Information about this ship, stating that no British ship was in the area, was signalled from Fort Canning to C.C.M. Macleod-Carey, Second-in-Command of 7 Coast Artillery Regiment, who was in his Command Post on Mount Faber. Macleod-Carey ordered the searchlights at Labrador, Siloso and Serapong to sweep the area for the ship. A vessel of some 8,000 tons was quickly illuminated by the searchlights. It was then challenged by means of an Aldis lamp, but failed to respond with the correct identification signals. A naval rating, using a copy of ‘Jane's Fighting Ships’, identified the vessel as being a Japanese landing craft carrier, and the 6-Inch batteries at Labrador and Siloso were ordered to open fire. Hits were registered almost immediately on the ship and it sank within a few minutes. This was what the guns had been designed for, and they performed exactly as required. MacLeod-Carey’s version of events has been criticised for being incorrect, and it has been stated that no large ship was sunk, only a Tongkang (wooden trading vessel). The Fort Record Book states, “Japanese Troop Transport Engaged and Destroyed”. A handwritten account authored in captivity records,

“A sea target which was not identified by *words indecipherable* drifting slowly from West to East inside No 2 minefield between P. SEBAROK and St. John's West. This target was quickly set on fire and sunk. The A.F.C. reported to the F.C that this ship was a suspicious vessel with a big front and built up bridge. This was confirmed by PWSS. I am of the definite opinion that this craft was a drifting Tongkang with oil drums on board which had been tied to the wharf on P. SEBAROK (Middle Island) and broke loose when the denial of the Oil Tanks on the Island was carried out......”

Siloso No.2 GunOn the 14th February at 0415 Hours, as recorded by Lt Col. H.D. St. G. Cardew, Royal Artillery, the Commander of 7 Coast Regiment, HQFD gave the order for the guns on Blakang Mati to be ‘spiked’ to prevent them falling into Japanese hands. At 0500 Hours the gunners destroyed the Siloso guns blowing the breeches off them with 40lb explosive charges. The photo on the left shows the Siloso No. 2 Gun with its Breech blown off by a gelignite charge. Part of the concrete splinter cover can be seen above the gun. The 12-Pounder at Siloso Point was tipped in to the sea. The CASLs were also destroyed.

The Fort Record Book contradicts the above. According to the Record Book, the guns were in action against land targets in the morning, and the Battery was destroyed at 1630 hours.

After the fort was denied to the Japanese, the men were withdrawn to Fort Connaught.

History 19919-1942