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Battlebox: The final days of an army

Located within the depths of the historic and luxuriant Fort Canning Hill, the Battlebox is Singapore’s only World War II bunker that is still operational, albeit as a historic site, today. Built in 1936 and completed Singapore in 1939, the Battlebox served as the headquarters for the defending Allied forces against the invading Japanese army in the final days of the Malayan Campaign (8 Dec 1941 – 15 Feb 1942). It was here that Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and 11 other commanders made the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese, resulting in possibly the greatest defeat of a British army ever in battle and the beginning of 3 ½ years of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Today the Battlebox has been restored with its rooms recreated based on whatever little existing historical records to what it could have been during those final fateful days leading to the fall of Singapore. A highlight is the Surrender Conference Room that reimagines how the physical setting of that pivotal moment in history. Accompanying texts and photographs outline the functions of the spaces within the bunkers, the experiences of those who worked there, key aspects of the Malayan campaign and Japanese Occupation.

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