LEFT: Hatch on the rear of the Emplacement for a Quick Return Lift.
There were three types of Ammunition Lift in the Magazine; Quick Return Lifts, Ladder Lifts and Band Lifts. The Quick Return Lifts raised and lowered ammunition to two hatches, one at each end of the rear face of the Emplacement. They were on each side of the entrance stairs. Ladder lifts were used to raise shells to a hatch at the rear of each gun. They had a slope of 65°. Band Lifts raised Cartridges to a hatch at the side of each Gun. These were vertical.
All of the lifts were manually operated by means of cranks. In the days before electric power, operating the hoists was hard work, more so in the Singapore climate.
LEFT: Crank for a Ladder Lift. The handle is connected to a cog connected to a larger reduction cog, which is attached to a drum which drives a belt of thick links rather like a bicycle chain. The whole assembly drives a continuous belt, similar to a hand rail on an escalator. One man turns the handle, and another places Shells on the belt for transport to the emplacement.
The displays you see in the Magazine are unfortunately incorrect. Where figures in the Magazine are seen handling shells, in reality they would have been handling cartridges. Where figures are seen handling cartridges, they would have been handling Shells. Although the displays are incorrect, they do convey the work done by men in the Magazine. As can be seen, there is not a lot of working room. Neither was there a great deal of light. Shells weighed around 45Kg, so both carrying shells and operating a hoist would be hard work.
Men working at Siloso would have been members of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery. The will in the main have had sedentary work in many of the businesses in town. As such, hard physical work may not have been easy for them, particularly in a Magazine.