R.I.P. – Kranji War Memorial and Cemetery

September 9, 2010 at 1:21 am | Posted in itchy backside | 1 Comment
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Normally Itchyfingers would just zip past the Kranji Reservior area after each visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – too hot and hungry to explore further. This day we finally decided to stop by to take a look.

I was expecting a long walk from the main road, but was surprised the park was so small. The only interesting thing was the plaque about the site.


Plaque describing the Kranji Beach Batttle – on the morning of 10th February
1942, Japanese Imperial Guards landed when the tide was low. Stucked in the
mud and  caught in oil slicks created by Allied troops, the first waves of
Japanese troops were burnt when the oil was set on fire. However, for fear of
being cut off by the Japanese landing from the west at Sarimbun and Jurong,
the Australian troops and DALFORCE volunters were ordered to withdraw
south, thus allowing the Japanese to land and consolidate their invasion of Singapore

Apparently, I had mistaken the site as the Kranji War Memorial. Itchyfingers decided to look at the map for the location of the Kranji Memorial site and pay it a visit.


There were only the old-fashioned words “State Cemetery” on the side and
nothing on this tall gate structure. A bit unusual we thought…

And then there was the familiar sight that we recognised from photos and tv…


The Kranji War Cemetery


Their name liveth for evermore... The Kranji War Memorial is dedicated to the
men and women from United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Sri Lanka, India,
Malaya, the Netherlands and New Zealand who died defending Singapore
and Malaya against the invading Japanese forces during 1939 – 1945 World
War II


It comprises the War Graves, the Memorial Walls, the State Cemetery
and the Military Graves


The mass grave…Itchyfingers were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of
graves, all very well-maintained


One couldn’t help but feel solemn here…


Gosh…24,000 names, 24,000 people sacrificed!


Rows and rows of names of allied servicemen, whose bodies were never
found,
inscribed on both sides of 12 columns of the Memorial Wall


“The War Memorial represents the three branches of the military – the Air
Force, Army and Navy. The columns represent the Army, which marches
in columns, the cover over the columns is shaped after of the wings of a plane,
representing the Air Force, and the shape at the top resembles the periscope
of a submarine, representing the Navy”


A close-up of the periscope-like structure

The Kranji War Cemetery is the final resting place for Allied soldiers who perished during the Battle of Singapore and the subsequent Japanese occupation of the island from 1942-1945 and in other parts of Southeast Asia during World War II.


A closer look showed that the engravings on the graves were very different.
This person was from the artillery. Only 25 years old!


Only 26 when he died…


“He voluntarily died for his country. Ever remembered.”


The plants in front of the graves were different too. Wonder if it’s because
the deceased still had relatives visiting and doing maintenance?


Didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but the tiger engraving reminded me of
Tiger Beer logo…


From the Royal Signals. So many passed away at such young age!


Even a nurse wasn’t being spared…


This looked very much like the scouts logo…

We were wondering if these graves were just symbolic or there were actual bodies buried under each…Then we spotted graves like this…


…that said, “Buried near this spot.” Does that mean that this is not the
original burial site and the body had been moved here with the others?
Wiki said that, “Military servicemen buried elsewhere in Singapore were
exhumed and reburied at the memorial.”


According to Wiki, more than 4,400 allied servicemen in marked graves
were laid out in rows, which means to say that they were all buried right
underneath the earth here!


Over 850 of these graves are unidentified, like this one…


These three graves were closer together than the others and had the words
“Believed to be” followed by their names. Maybe they were identified by
their personal belongings?


Most of them were lower ranks servicemen as they were very young. This
one was a captain


This name sounds familiar…:o


A cute Changeable Lizard warming himself under the setting sun…


We began to look for the youngest and oldest of these servicemen…


We thought he was among the oldest…


Before finding this 68 year old volunteer engineer!


Only 19 years old, from New Zealand…


Then we found this one! A chinese young man from Singapore sacrificed
at 18 years old! We didn’t find anyone younger…


The clouds formation was dramatic…

It was near the 6.30 pm closing time so we made our move. I like the place as it was very peaceful and quiet. There were only three other small groups of visitors besides Itchyfingers, and I was glad none of them had screaming kids with them…


Sign in four official languages asking visitors to behave respectfully. Wonder
why isn’t there Japanese…
:p When we just arrived, we saw a middle-aged
lady with her three big dogs about to leave. Not sure of the species, but I
hoped she was just walking them outside the memorial park and not inside,
though the big doggies looked very well-behaved…

It was also when we were preparing to leave that we saw these other signs at the side. Would have missed them if there were other cars parking in front..


A commemorating sign that we nearly missed


A map showing the direction of the Japanese’s advance into Singapore 😦


Timeline of what happened…

While I was photographing the plaques, Tisu Boy had another discovery…


At the other side of the entrance was a lonely grave…


And we realised it belonged to Singapore’s second President from 1971 to
1981, Dr Benjamin Henry Sheares. We had forgotten that the great man
was resting here…Itchyfingers paid our respect before leaving

It was only when I was writing this that I found out that Itchyfingers had missed the grave of our first president, Inche Yosuf bin Ishak. Well, I guess we would have to pay the Kranji War Memorial and War Cemetery another visit the next time.

May all those who sacrificed their precious lives during the wars rest in peace.

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  1. The youngest fallen was an Indian teenager, 16 yrs old.


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