Three features you should not miss at the Battlebox

The refurbished underground bunker features insightful tours that tell the truth behind Singapore's fall in 1942.

Nurul Amirah
Nurul Amirah

Published: 19 February 2016, 12:00 AM

To commemorate the 74th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, the Battlebox finally reopened on Feb 13 as part of Battle for Singapore 2016, allowing visitors to understand the grim stories of Singapore’s surrender to the Japanese.

Battle for Singapore 2016 is a series of activities organised by the National Heritage Board, telling Singapore’s war stories. As part of the preview, visitors can sign up for a one-hour tour, titled A Story of Strategy and Surrender: The Battlebox Tour.


Visitors will be greeted with a video that explains how Singapore was captured in World War II.


Previously the house to the Army Headquarters of Malaya Command, The Battlebox is the place where the General Officer Commanding of Malaya Command, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival, made the decision to surrender Singapore in 1942.

Here are three features you should not miss at the Battlebox:

1. Surrender Conference Room


This room depicted the solemn mood experienced by the British officers when they discussed Singapore’s surrender.


This room consists of 12 wax figurines of officers in the midst of a discussion, whether they should surrender Singapore to the Japanese on Feb 15, 1942.

In school, we have only been fed with information that the British surrendered Singapore to the Japanese without understanding the reason why.


You will be able to better understand the dilemma faced by the officers when they had to surrender.


In the Surrender Conference Room however, we do not only learn about the reasons behind the difficult decision to surrender Singapore.

We could almost “feel” the intensity of the discussion that once took place in the room as the guide explained about the discussion that took place.

2. Communication rooms


The telephone lines could reach all the way to Kuala Lumpur.


There were several rooms that served as the communications hub of the Battlebox, where information was received and sent to Malayan battlefields and the rest of the world.


Fun fact: The guide told us that the Army had no private military line. Classified information had to go through the civilians’ telephone line.


You will feel like you are in a war movie while touring these rooms, as you can imagine the officers giving orders and communicating with the outside world.

3. Engine Room


A view inside the engine room.


Imagine staying 9 metres underground—the air will definitely feel stuffy and the power supply may even be limited!

However, the engine room has generated sufficient electricity for the bunker, allowing operations to continue even if the power was cut off in the outside world. Also, there are plenty of ventilators that allowed fresh air to enter the bunker.


When you’re here, try to spot the diagram (above) which illustrates the movement of air around the bunker.


Apart from these key features, the Battlebox also presents three videos in separate rooms to educate visitors about the events that led up to the British surrender.


This is the fire escape route that led soldiers up to the ground, located nine metres above the bunker.


Unlike other exhibitions that focus on the Japanese occupation, visitors will get an insightful experience at The Battlebox as it provides an in-depth story about why we surrendered in the first place. History buffs should not give this museum a miss!

The Battlebox is open for sneak previews from now till March 20. Tour fees are at $15 for adults and $8 for children.

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