Part 2 of my WWII trekking on Oct 2, 2020 was on Sentosa Island, just off the southern tip of Singapore.
During WWII, Sentosa had four British forts and artillery batteries aimed at preventing invasion by sea. However, the Japanese instead invaded over the Causeway from Malaysia in the north, with tanks clearing the way for 22,000 soldiers who had ridden on bikes throughout most of their previous lightning campaigns in Thailand and Malaysia. While the British were able to turn their guns facing inland, their naval guns on Sentosa were not equipped with the right kinds of shells for a land assault. As a result, Singapore fell to the Japanese in only seven days (Feb 8-15, 1942).
During the war years, Sentosa became notorious as a holding center for many Allied POWs, and the Japanese massacred scores of Chinese residents (whom they felt were not loyal to the occupiers) on Sentosa’s beaches.
Of the four original forts, only Fort Siloso has been restored.
From Fort Siloso, I had a nice 15-min walk up the Imbiah Trail to the remnants of Imbiah Battery in Imbiah Fort, the second of the four original forts. The complex of bunkers, pillboxes, and naval guns had been largely abandoned since 1945, and this gave the site a real charm that Fort Siloso was lacking. But again, there was almost no curation about the site (except for two small, hidden signs I discovered after having walked through 99% of the complex) and no buildings were identified.
If I have one pet peeve about Singapore, it is that I’ve found the curation in museums and at historical sites to be really lacking, as compared to those you visit in the States and in Europe.
For people who have little knowledge of WWII, they will not be able to understand or appreciate the history behind a war site such as Fort Imbiah/Imbiah Battery.