A personal account by Aylwin Tan who witnessed the exhumation of his grandfather and aunt at Bukit Brown on the morning of Wednesday, 8th January,2014.
I received a phone call from the exhumation office about 1.5 hours after I had registered. Picked my Dad up and went directly to the gravesite.
The green tentage is that of my aunt Tan Siok Hwa (aged 10) and the grey is my grandpa, Tan Cheng Moh. Both were killed during a Japanese raid; a bomber scored a direct hit on the bomb shelter where my grandpa had put his entire family, including his close relatives. Apparently, grandpa’s thinking was that they should all stick together and if they all died, so be it.
Their funerals were carried out in haste. A number of traditions were abandoned for fear of being caught out in the open by the Japanese bombers e.g. mourners alighting to perform rites at every bridge along the way to the burial ground.
Mr Lee (the gentleman in yellow boots seen in the first photo) told me that the coffins and remains had disintegrated and had merged with the soil. Not surprising, given that they had passed about 70 years ago. The gravediggers gathered some earth and put it in plastic bags for the purposes of cremation.
I was curious to know how the gravediggers knew that they had dug deep enough to reach the remains. Mr Lee explained that the gravediggers would know once they reached a flat surface as this was the bottom of the coffin.
The gravediggers were also able to tell that my aunt died when she was a child. If you look at my aunt’s grave, you can see a ‘step’ indicating that the coffin was shorter than an adult’s.
I was worried that Dad would not be able to negotiate the uneven terrain to the grave sites but the path worn out by the gravediggers proved manageable. Mr Lee told me that these gravediggers are the last of their kind in Singapore.
Dad spent some time telling his story to the gravediggers while I sorted out with Mr Lee the items found in the graves. Dad’s chair was provided by Swee Hong, the company that won the exhumation tender, a testimony to their planning and attention to detail. Also, you can see how they used the umbrellas to shield the boxes from the sun.
The gravediggers recovered a chain and part of a bowl from my aunt’s grave. The bowl was probably used in the funeral rites. Mr Lee asked if I would donate them for research. I shall have to ask my elders’ permission first.
My grandpa’s grave yielded a bullet and a piece of metal which looked like a cone with the top portion cut off. I had to surrender the bullet as it was not a spent round. The gravediggers surmised that the metal piece came from the bomb but I wonder where the bullet came from. Dad said that the metal piece was not the cause of grandpa’s death; a beam had fallen on grandpa’s head and cracked it open. Death was instantaneous. The sight must have been extremely traumatic for the family. Dad was only 11 or 12 then.
One unexpected development came about when Dad suddenly said that my great grandfather was also buried somewhere in Bukit Brown. Dad did not know his name or the location of the grave site. Apparently, only one of grandpa’s brothers had this information and he had since passed. According to Mr Lee, great grandpa’s remains will be exhumed and disposed of if unclaimed after a period. Mr Lee also said that there was still hope if someone in my family could remember great grandpa’s name as the tombstone would surely state grandpa’s name. I’ll try my best to ask my relatives but am not very hopeful.
I will miss the 2 “Yodas” guarding grandpa’s grave. The other 2 guards look kind of effeminate.
The left panel of the tombstone lists grandpa’s sons and daughters. Dad is ‘Geok San‘, which means ‘jade mountain’ in Chinese. In accordance with Chinese tradition, the sons and male cousins in the same generation have the same identifying name. In my Dad’s generation, the name is ‘Geok‘. In mine, it is ‘Wee’, which means ‘great‘ in Chinese. I understand that these names are predetermined by the Chinese Almanac.
The exhumation ended on a quiet note. After I had given written confirmation of the items from the graves that I had retained, I was given printed photographs of the two grave sites and that was it.
I was very impressed with the professionalism of the Swee Hong staff. They were attentive to my requests and sensitive to religious aspects of the exhumation. They worked fast but were in no hurry, allowing claimants all the time they needed to carry out their religious observances. Thanks to them, the exhumation process went smoothly.
- Aylwin Tan-
Additional Information : Both grandfather and aunt died on 18 Jan 1942.
Grave of Tan Cheng Moh 陳青茂 #769 (photo credit The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project )
Grave of Tan Siok Hwa 陳淑華 #763 (photo credit The Bukit Brown Cemetery Documentation Project)
Editor’s note: We would like to thank Aylwin Tan for giving us permission to reproduce his personal account on the blog. If you are a descendant who has ancestors staked for exhumation, please share your story with us.
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The Art Nouveau (Peranakan) tiles of Bukit Brown have caught the attention of a French academic who helms an international research team. The team has embarked on a 4 year study of the tiles in Asia, under an MOU with the Unesco University and Heritage Forum.
Professor Chantal Zheng together with her husband, Dr Zheng Shun-De, visited Bukit Brown recently, guided by our tiles expert, Victor Lim.
The visit, so impressed them, they wrote to All Things Bukit Brown to tell us more about their project and how they hope, they can include Bukit Brown in their study. Reproduced here with Professor Chantal’s kind permission.
“I am very grateful to your association and to Mr Victor LIM for having introduced me to this fascinating Singapore Cultural Heritage field concerning « Art nouveau tiles ». As a matter of fact, this is particularly interesting for the Tiles research team I am responsable for in the IRASIA (Research Institute for Asian Studies): Aix-Marseille University in the south of France. My Research Institute (IRASIA) is conducting historical, anthropological and sociological researches on many countries in East and South-East Asia such as China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, India, and Taiwan.
Three years ago, we submitted on the behalf of the University a research project on “Art nouveau tiles” in Asia to the Unesco University and Heritage Forum. The project has been accepted and a MOU has been signed by Aix – Marseille Université and The Unesco Forum for 4 years (2012-2016). The first objective being to make a survey of the presence of these specific tiles in East Asia (China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea), South-East Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia) and even in South Asia with India. The second objective is to select and write a report on some particular and (to use Unesco vocabularly) “exceptional” places where tiles are found in great number.
It appears that these tiles have been diffused by the Chinese Diaspora and the Peranakan culture in Asia. They constitute a cultural asset common to many Asian countries, are the testimony of cultural, artistic and even commercial exchanges between East and West at the beginning of the XXth century and that is why they present a very great interest for the research. In Singapore, I have discovered many districts with very beautiful and unique houses decorated with a profusion of tiles, all in very good state and very well preserved. And I also had the opportunity to make a visit to Bukit Brown Cemetery
I was very surprised to see so many beautiful Peranakan tombs decorated with old tiles. As far as I understand the situation, this cemetery is now on the way to being destroyed for the construction of a road. That is a real pity indeed and I do hope very sincerely the tiles may be preserved, as I doubt there is another place in the world comparable to Bukit Brown. It is our hope that these tiles will be kept in good condition as they must be considered an important element of the Singapore national treasure.
Conscious of the interest that Singapore presents and of the precious contribution of the Peranakan culture to its cultural heritage, my research team on Asian Art nouveau tiles (which includes 7 French researchers and architects, a Japanese Museum director: Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Archaelogy, a Taiwanese Association for Cultural Heritage, a Taiwanese historian and a Taiwanese architect: University of Kaohsiung), is prepared to focus now on the history of the Republic of Singapore to discover the cultural and commercial links with other Asian countries in the diffusion of Art Nouveau tiles (Japanese or European). We are very grateful to your association and to your colleagues for the help in our research during our short stay in Singapore and hope we will continue in the future to cooperate with you and with Singapore architects and historians on the tiles subject.” Chantal ZHENG, Professor, Department of Asiatic Studies, Aix-Marseille Université
You can learn more about the tiles this Sunday 12 January at Bukit Brown with Victor Lim. Details here
by Sugen Ramiah
While exploring Hill 4, I stumbled upon a tomb of a young man, by the name of Ee Tean Choon.(E Tean Choon on tombstone)
It was very unique because the tomb was of a modern design in marble. And so I started a little research on his family in early November 2013. It was on the 31st of December 2013, while strolling with brownies Peter and Ee Hoon, that I was told that there was another art deco tomb, similar to that of Ee Tean Choon that also belonged to the Ee family, his grandparents. Here’s what I have traced of the Ee Tean Choon family tree.
Grandparents: Ee Swee Hin and Khoo Swee Yee
Ee Swee Hin passed away on the 8th September 1942 and his wife Khoo Swee Yee, on the 19th February 1955. They are buried together in Hill 5 Division B with LTA tag #1122 and will be exhumed in March.
Father: Ee Yean Keat
Ee Yean Keat was the eldest son of Ee Swee Hin and Khoo Swee Yee. He had two other siblings, Ee Yean Bee and another adopted brother – Tan Eng Yam. Born in Malacca in the year 1884, he was educated in a high school there and came to Singapore to look for a better future. He married Seow Joo Neo and had seven children. He first started work with Netherlands Trading Society in 1904. After 6 years, in 1910, he worked as a cashier with the KPM shipping company. He wanted an early retirement after 25 years with the shipping company. However, he later joined the Straits Times Press (Malaya) Ltd and officially retired in 1959 at the age of 75. He was also known as the “Grand Old Man’ of the accounts section of Straits Times Press (Malaya). He passed away on the 24th of September 1968 at the age of 84. The Obituary section in the archives indicates that he left behind 2 wives. Seow Joo Neo the mother of Ee Tean Choon, passed away on the 4th of January 1985 at the age of 102. She left behind 19 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. No information has been uncovered about Ee Yean Keat’s other wife.
Ee Tean Choon (E Tean Choon on tombstone)
Ee Tean Choon born in the year 1910 and was the first born of Ee Yean Keat and Seow Joo Neo of No.350 East Coast Road. He was the eldest of seven children. He married Ruby Chia Boey Neo , the fifth daughter of Mr & Mrs Chia Keng Chin of No.8 Saint Thomas Walk, on the 3rd of October 1936. Chia Boey Neo the grand-daughter of Mr Chia Hood Theam, was born in July 1914 and was 22 years old when she married Ee. They didn’t have their own children but adopted two babies -Willie Ee Kean Leong and Margaret Ee.
Sadly, Ee Tean Choon died of typhoid, on the 3rd of April 1938, at just 28 years old. He left behind a young widow and two infants, barely two years after his marriage. The two infants were then adopted by his brother, Ee Tean Cheng and the young widow returned to her parents’ house.
Inscribed on the tomb is an epitaph :
‘In the prime of his life death claimed him, In the pride of his manhood days, none knew him but to love him, None mention his name but with praise.’
I believe that the epitaph was taken from ‘The life of Rev. William James Hall, M. D.: Medical Missionary on the slums of New York, Pioneer Missionary to Pyong Yang, Korea’ 1897. It is about how Rev Hall ministered to the sick and wounded of Korea and his martyrdom. Coincidentally, both William (Willie for short) Willie and Margaret, were the names of Dr. Hall’s great grandparents.
Ee Tean Choon is buried in Hill 4 Division C with LTA tag #2612. He has been claimed by the family of his wife, the late Mdm Chia Boey Neo.
Brother : Ee Tean Cheng
Ee Tean Cheng was actively involved in many athletic associations such as the Useful Lads Badminton Party, Horlicks Badminton Party and was elected as vice president of the S.A.S.U (Singapore Armature Sports Union) in 1940. The tournaments, training and meetings were often held in the badminton court of the Ee’s residence at East Coast Road. He worked for Ford Motors and married to Ong Lian Neo Nellie on the 15th December 1940. Unfortunately, she passed away on the 26th October 1941 while in labour, both mother and child didn’t survive. She was buried in Bukit Brown and Raymond Goh has a blog post on her life here
Ee Tean Cheng had a second marriage to Lily Oon Siok Neo. They had a son, Winston Ee Kean Leng and also adopted the late Ee Tean Choon’s children – Willie and Margaret. He had five grandchildren. He passed away on 3rd April 1999, coincidentally the anniversary of his brother, Ee Tean Choon ( 3rd April 1938)
Brother: Ee Tean Chye
Colonel Ee Tean Chye was the first Commander of the Singapore Air Defence Command and in 1972, the first Chief of Air Force of the Republic of Singapore Air Force. He has three children, Patricia Ee, Laura Ee and Christopher Ee.
Son: Willie Ee Kean Leong
Willie Ee Kean Leong was the director of Sankyo Seiki Singapore Pte Ltd. He married Lim Eng Hong, eldest daughter of Mr Lim Kim San, former cabinet minister and first chairman of HDB. They had two children, Ee Kuo Ren and Ee Yuen Ling.
Daughter: Margaret Ee
Margaret Ee married Mr Richard Png and had two children, Dr Kenneth Png and Keith Png.
Postscript : Unfortunately both grandparents and grandson will be moving house to make way for the new highway. However both grandparents and grandson will be interned in the same block in Choa Chu Kang Columbarium. This is just another story of another ordinary family that has contributed to this country. May they rest in Peace.
Sugen Ramiah is a teacher by training and his interest includes observing and documenting Chinese festivals and rituals conducted by temples. This is his first foray into researching family trees.
References for Ee Family
The life of Rev. William James Hall, M. D. : medical missionary to the slums of New York, pioneer missionary to Pyong Yang, 1897. (E-book) Emmanuel College Library, Victoria University
Announcement. (1936, June 23). The Straits Times
Tean Cheng-Ong. (1940, December 16). The Singapore Free Press and the Mercantile Advertiser
Deaths. (1941, October 26). The Straits Times
Cashier, 75, Retires for Second Time. (1959, December 31). The Singapore Free Press
Deaths. (1968, September 25). The Straits Times
Deaths. (1985, January 5). The Straits Times
Condolences. (1994, September 4). The Straits Times
Deaths. (1999, April 4). The Straits Times
Deaths. (2000, June 20). The Straits Times
The Air Force, Singapore : Republic of Singapore Air Force, 1988
Controlled Growth Restriction Policies For Certain Closed Food-Chain Systems by Patricia G. M. Ee 1992. Simon Fraser University, April 1992.
A look back at 2013…
We lost a dear Brownie, Vicky Tan, but started the Tan Kheam Hock Tour as a tribute to her and her ancestors. Other kin have been clearing the tombs of Kheam Hock’s relatives, and in the process, prettifying entire clusters in Bukit Brown. It has added much needed cheer at a time exhumations have started.
We held 2 exhibitions, “Celebrating Bukit Brown” (above) as a “report” on our efforts to reach students and teachers and their works, and “Bukit Brown: Our Roots, Our Future” (below), an extensive exhibition at Chui Huay Lian Club that featured English and Mandarin speakers and brought attention to the threat to the Muslim graves at Jalan Kubor. Both enabled us to reach out to more communities and decision-makers. The latter also featured a rare reunion of the descendants of Seah Eu Chin. Walter Lim, Yik Han and Charlene Tan deserve special mention, aided by an army of volunteers to put it all together.
Victor Lim has added depth to the tours with his tile expertise. A tile expert team has now taken interest and plans to bring it to the attention of UNESCO.
Expats Bianca Polak and Ritsuko Saito joined the cause, Bianca avidly guiding and photographing, while Ritsuko has given talks in Taiwan and Japan on Bukit Brown. Again and again, Bukit Brown proves to be not just a treasure for Singaporeans. Brownies shared their expertise far and wide, and many a weekend, Yik Han, Mok Ly Ying, Raymond Goh, et al could be found giving talks on knowledge gleaned from Bukit Brown.
Catherine Lim helped put Bukit Brown in the living rooms of Singaporeans with “History from the Hills”, a TV documentary series that moved many and won mention in Parliament.
Ish Singh recently joined the Brownies as a co-guide after penning a reflective piece on how he felt connected to his Sikh history through Bukit Brown and Amardeep Singh has started research there – pointing to the Sikh interest in the history of Bukit Brown.
Sugen Ramiah and Ai Loon stepped outreach for the young, Simone Lee, Zhi Hao and Aaron Chan became our newest guides. More and more are coming out in support because they see the intrinsic value of Bukit Brown. We welcome anyone with the same passion.
Bukit Brown made it to Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2013 Winners list.
Battlefield archaeologist Jon Cooper continues to uncover more of our past and his Battlefield Tours are always fully subscribed in record time.
Behind the scenes, many elves abound to do good work. Khoo Ee Hoon mapped out Bukit Brown and helped with the iBBC app. She, Danny Chew and Edmon Neo-Khoo are among those cleaning tombs every weekend. Lim Su-Min would be on call with his saw to clear fallen trees to prevent damage to graves or visitors.
Needless to say, stalwarts like Raymond Goh, Peter Pak and Walter Lim blogged avidly and added to our depth of knowledge of what we stand to lose by losing Bukit Brown. Guides Chew Keng Kiat, Fabian Tee, Andrew, Peter Pak, Beng Tang, Yik Han, Bianca, Mil Phuah, Raymond, Catherine and Claire were ably assisted by many in the community who shared their knowledge, time and talents, often as co-guides. We have now guided 10,000 visitors to Bukit Brown as a community.
Jennifer Teo and Tien of SOS Bukit Brown not only guided but gathered 7,000 signatures and delivered them to the government in the petition to save Bukit Brown. Georgina Chin’s book on the birds, including many at Bukit Brown, sold out.
And together, this community has put Bukit Brown on the world map by getting international recognition for its potential as a heritage site with the World Monuments Watch list 2014. Ian Chong deserves special mention for his help with the application. And you have been pushing the envelope with your letters to the government, giving us much encouragement.
If we missed out on anyone, think of it as a blessing that there were so many of you giving support that we cannot list everyone, and not that you have been forgotten.
We have come a long way in 2013. With the highway project starting, we need to do more, not less. We have 95,000 more tombs to save.
Rain or shine or exhumations, we carry on with our tours.
And we thank you, this wonderful community, for carrying us. We who stand on the shoulders of others see further. May you be blessed in 2014.
Sharing our feedback on Bukit Brown in the Draft Masterplan. We are grateful to all who wrote and shared your feedback with us. Without your support, awareness of Bukit Brown would not be where it is now – not just a talking point but- a rallying point to enrich our identity, a respect for our heritage and a Singapore we can all call home. We are humbled.
“We met as volunteers and in response to a groundswell of feedback after the announcement of the plan for Bukit Brown, formed All Things Bukit Brown as a loose group of volunteers to support amateur historian Raymond Goh, people who might want to contribute time, research, translation skills, etc to raise awareness of the value of Bukit Brown. We subsequently created the blog, All Things Bukit Brown, (http://bukitbrown.com) and started organising social events onsite in December 2011 to gauge interest in Bukit Brown as a destination. We were happily surprised by the enthusiastic turn-out for 3-4 events and started guiding tours onsite with whatever knowledge we received from February 2012.
Since then, we have cobbled together a dozen committed volunteers who research and/or guide. We are pleased to report that in that time, we have guided 10,000 people to Bukit Brown, including secondary schools and tertiary institutions, overseas academics, and participants from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Civil Service College. Former Foreign Minister George Yeo was an early visitor guided. We have also guided grassroots communities led by their MPs, including DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Sylvia Lim. This weekend, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee will bring his grassroots community there too. Groups which have come include the elderly Chinese, the hearing impaired and the docents from the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall , National and Peranakan Museums.
Bukit Brown has already inspired the students of Pioneer Junior College to co- write the book “1911 Revolution: Singapore Pioneers in Bukit Brown” which was launched last Friday at the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. On our part we have applied for a grant from the National Heritage Board to put together useful information we have gathered over the past two years as a guide book to Bukit Brown.
Imagine this, a grassroots effort to bring 10,000 people to a site without any amenities – no toilets, drinks stalls, resting stations, shelter from the rain, marked trails or trash bins. How much more can we do together when we put our resources together? Give us a chance.
As Singaporeans, we are very proud to share what knowledge we have and encourage interest in Bukit Brown. We have met many engaged Singaporeans, academics, students, tourists, photographers, artists, etc – a diversity of participants who have reinforced the notion that Bukit Brown is more than a cemetery but a public space that draws different communities there for different reasons. We are witness to the grassroots movement which has built up a valuable community with a strong outreach component. We hope that you see this element of a place in fostering communal ties and meaning. These are valuable to building a strong and cohesive society, people rooted to their identities and bringing Singaporeans and residents together in a meaningful way. It is not something that can be easily replicated without the actual space that first drew us together in the first place.
It is this community-building effort that also drew the attention of the World Monuments Fund in awarding Bukit Brown World Monuments Watch status. We are proud of this international recognition and hope that one day, we can twin Bukit Brown with the Botanic Gardens for a unique world heritage site unmatched anywhere else in the world. That it is set in such lush and spectacular settings makes Bukit Brown all the more special.
State recognition of Bukit Brown’s intrinsic value will lift tourist awareness of Singapore in a different way, opening up ideas (and revenue streams) for education tourism, battle site tourism, cultural tourism etc in the same way medical tourism has brought international attention (and revenue) to the world-class medical services available in Singapore. Already, heritage associations in the region, specifically Penang and Malacca, have displayed keen interest in Bukit Brown and we hope there would be attendant tourism effects for the better good of Singapore and her neighbours. Not only would Singapore benefit from state recognition of the heritage value of Bukit Brown, we can work together with tourism agencies around the region and reap the benefits of good neighbourliness and joint tourism campaigns. Indeed, we are not short on ideas. We ask for the state to demonstrate leadership in this.
We hope you will protect Bukit Brown and Singapore’s historical, cultural, wartime and natural heritage for future generations, and will have an open discussion on how best to protect Bukit Brown and other heritage and nature sites affected by the proposals in the URA Draft Master Plan 2013. National development includes supporting our Nation’s sense of identity and belonging across generations in addition to infrastructure.”
Claire Leow & Catherine Lim
I’ve been alerted through World Monument Watch in New York about the imminent destruction of Bukit Brown Cemetery, an important heritage site not only for Singapore but with great significance to the history of Penang.
Bukit Brown, named after George Henry Brown whose tomb is now found in the Old Protestant Cemetery of Penang. This cemetery is now a protected Category I Heritage Site within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town.
Under the order the Penang state authorities, archeologists, historians, botanists and conservationists have been looped in to complete a comprehensive heritage management plan to preserve this historic cemetery in entirety. We are also in the process to document the people buried there including the story of George H. Brown.
During a site visit to Bukit Brown Cemetery in September 2013, I’ve discovered tombs which witness the strong family links between Penang and Singapore (e.g. Tan Kheam Hock) and members of Tong Meng Hui who frequented both cities in the early 20th century and these will serve as important clues for the academicians to conduct historical and social researches between Malaya and Singapore in the pre-war years. The obliteration of old tombs and historical sites with a natural setting is a serious mistake in the current age when awareness of heritage preservation is a global trend and every member state in UNESCO including Singapore is vying for World Heritage Listing on one of its sites and trying its best to showcase good examples of conservation efforts.
I’m appealing to the Singapore authorities to be sensitive to the heritage conservation causes, especially to this historic cemetery which is a wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped by historians from both sides of the Causeway.
Penang Heritage Trust
26 Lebuh Gereja, 10200 George Town,
Government exhumations for some 4,000 graves in the way of the highway began on Tuesday 17 December, without any official announcement. Sources on the ground brought some of the Brownies and a Mediacorp news team to Bukit Brown.
It is understood that graves claimed by descendants will be exhumed first, followed by those unclaimed. It is estimated from descendants who have kept All Things Bukit Brown informed on the exhumation dates of their ancestors, that exhumations could take up to July/August 2014 to complete.
The areas of affected graves have been cordoned off from view in preparation for exhumations since November 2013. Only descendants, grave diggers and official personnel including the documentation team are allowed in the enclose areas to witness and record the exhumations.
There is as yet no official statement on plans to preserve tombstones except for this statement : “Due to the number of burial items, the NHB is unable to guarantee that it will be able to preserve all of them.” CNA news report. The news video is available here. The Mandarin news report:
A blog post in Chinese by Brownie Walter is available here.
The Straits Times on Exhumations, 19 December, 2013:
3,440 graves will be exhumed over next 9 months to make way for road by Grace Chua
EXHUMATION has begun at last at the Bukit Brown Cemetery, where more than 3,000 of nearly 100,000 graves will make way for a new road.
The public exhumation, coordinated by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), began on Tuesday. Over the next nine months, 3,442 graves will be exhumed.
A total of 304 graves have already been exhumed privately by family members. In all, 1,263 graves have been claimed to date.
The remains that are still unclaimed three years after exhumation will be cremated individually and scattered at sea.
Construction of the new road will begin in stages after the exhumation of affected graves is completed, an LTA spokesman said.
“While construction is ongoing, members of the public can continue to enter the other parts of Bukit Brown Cemetery that are not affected by the road construction. The details of access routes will be made available to the public when construction starts.”
The exhumation process is being documented by anthropologist Hui Yew-Foong and his team, who have been appointed by the Government for the task.
Dr Hui, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said the team observes what rituals might have been carried out, what artefacts were buried with the dead, and if the tombs have any underground structure.
For instance, underground chambers were sometimes lined with bricks to keep coffins dry, while women might have jewellery or miniature cooking utensils buried with them.
Meanwhile, members of the public have sent letters to the Ministry of National Development as part of feedback about the Draft Masterplan 2013, pleading for the rest of the cemetery to be kept instead of redeveloping it for housing.
Today is the last day for the public to submit feedback on the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s draft masterplan, which was made public last month.
Among those who have written in is Mr Ishvinder Singh, 26, a supply chain professional.
He became intrigued by Bukit Brown when he saw photos of Sikh-guard statues at the tombs of Chinese businessmen and officials. This led him to visit Bukit Brown and investigate its history as well as that of the Sikh community here.
“I realised that the Sikh statues weren’t just about my own community, but about the interactions that took place between different communities,” he said.
For the community who believe with us that Bukit Brown should be preserved as a Heritage Park, the journey continues to preserve the rest of the 95,000 tombs. We have guided 10,000 people in one year. With your support, we can do more to create awareness and appreciation for the Heritage, Habitat and History of Bukit Brown. Let’s keep calm and carry on.
At Bukit Brown on the 17th December morning, as observed by Brownies on the Ground.
One last parting shot from the people at Cartoon Press
A report on a private exhumation here
Meeting Point for all events at Lorong Halwa gates
Sat 21 Dec : 9am- 11.30am : Walk with Han Zhong & Jing Jie (Facebook Registration here)
Join the two ex-Chinese High students as they walk around Bukit Brown, and share with you the delights of its flora and fauna, as well as stories of Singaporean pioneers that are associated with their alma mater.
Sun 22 Dec: 4pm-6.30pm : Poetry Readings at Twilight Walk (Facebook Registration here)
Follow Bianca, Claire and Mil as they walk through the cemetery at twilight and stop along the route to read poetry and excerpts of theatre play scripts. The readings will be in English. Tour participants are encouraged to take photos and record videos. We will feature amongst others poems of the Singapore poet Khoo Seok Wan, whose grave is at Bukit Brown and staked to be exhumed in the near future. We will also pay tribute to the early pioneers from the 1830s cluster of graves that will make way for the highway.
Wed 25 Dec : 9am – 11.30am : Christmassy Tidings at Bukit Brown with Chew Keng Kiat (Facebook Registration here)
Bukit Brown. Land of One Hundred Thousand Stories. ‘Tis the season to remember.
Disclaimer: By agreeing to take this walking tour of Bukit Brown Cemetery, I understand and accept that I must be physically fit and able to do so.To the extent permissible by law, I agree to assume any and all risk of injury or bodily harm to myself and persons in my care (including child or ward)
Bukit Brown is on the World Monuments Watch list 2014 . Find out what makes this a heritage site worthy of preserving. http://bukitbrown.com/
For information on how to get there and handy tips please visit Getting There/ 集合地点
A call was made to the community to provide feedback to the Ministry of National Development (MND), to preserve Bukit Brown as a heritage site for future generations in the draft Master plan 2013. The closing date for feedback is 19th December 2013. For those who don’t know how to begin, there is a template available to guide you here. We encourage you to copy the email to your MP.
To those who have written, We Thank You. Some of you have shared your letters with us. We gratefully reproduce extracts with your kind permission, with the hope it will inspire others to write in and give their feedback.
If you wish to share your feedback with the community, please bcc your letter to MND to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are custodians of our country’s heritage not just for ourselves but for our future generations. It is important that they continue to see for themselves how respect is being shown to our forebears and learn the very real lesson of conserving our roots even, or especially in the face of rapid urban development. Precious “history lesson materials” like Bukit Brown, once lost, may never be recovered. Let no regret come about.”
“The biggest threat to Singapore is apathy, and when Singaporeans do not feel a sense of belonging and are not bothered with what goes on here, then Singapore is in trouble. For Singapore to survive and prosper in the long term, it is necessary to have more opportunities in preserving our shared memories and creating our shared vision. And preserving Bukit Brown is an excellent opportunity that enables Singaporeans to feel that they belong here by remembering our past and creating our future.
Bukit Brown tells the stories of our forefathers who built Singapore, and creates opportunities for history education and discovery. The cemetery connects Singapore’s past and present, and allows us to understand that Singapore’s success is built up by our forefathers’ sweat and tears, and should not be taken for granted. We should preserve Bukit Brown because it helps us remember our past and keeps us rooted to Singapore.
Bukit Brown presents the opportunity for transforming the cemetery into a world-class living outdoor museum or heritage park. If this transformation adopts a bottom-up approach and with stakeholder engagement, it would allow us to come together, plan and work towards a future Singapore where heritage, nature and our economic needs can co-exist. We should preserve Bukit Brown because it enables us to work together and build bonds and resilience, and to create a space where our children and their children can enjoy and be proud of.
Singapore is a young nation and needs more common spaces like Bukit Brown to remind us how we got here and why this is home, and to create opportunities for building our future social resilience.”
“I am a fourth generation Singaporean. My great-grandfather, Chew Boon Lay, was one of Singapore’s very important pioneers.
In April 2012, my parents and I, along with my husband who is English, and our 2 children, discovered where my great-grandfather was buried in Bukit Brown. Thanks to a Straits Times journalist who did a photo-editorial on several important pioneers’ descendants, a photo shoot was conducted at the site of Chew Boon Lay’s tomb.
My parents who had not been to his tomb in more than 20 years came along as well, as did many of my extended family of cousins, uncles, and other relatives. Despite my parents both being aged and not able to walk or see well, they both made the uphill trek to Chew Boon Lay’s tomb in the dark as a huge storm was looming. That was such an important day for them and my family. I was re-acquainted with many relatives and met some whom I had never even met before. We have had several family gatherings since and as such, our April 2012 ‘reunion’ at Chew Boon Lay’s tomb in Bukit Brown served as a very important point of re-connecting with long lost relatives.
My father who is 83 was so elated to have been able to visit his grandfather’s tomb and pay respects to him again after such a long period of time. He was even happier to meet his many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, many of whom he had never met before. My siblings live abroad and when they returned to Singapore, I brought them to my great-grandfather’s tomb. All of them were so amazed at how peaceful and beautiful Bukit Brown is, but more importantly they were so happy to be able to visit our great-grandfather’s tomb for the first time.
Having reconnected with my Singapore roots via my great-grandfather’s tomb, I feel so proud to be a 4th generation Singaporean of an important Singapore pioneer who had such humble beginnings and contributed much to Singapore’s growth and prosperity. My children are both Singaporean and English and I want them to grow up feeling connected to Singapore and to be able to trace their roots in Singapore back to my great-grandfather. It was important for me that they visit his tomb and pay respects to their great-great-grandfather and to feel proud to be his descendants. I want them to be able to do this when they are older and when I am no longer around….such a connection in our young country that is forever trying to modernize and improve itself is, for me, one of the most important things if we want our children to have roots in, and feel connected to, Singapore.”
Other than the Bukit Timah Nature Reserves, Bukit Brown is a another place where I can bring my families out to Experience nature in a SAFE environment. National Parks are wonderful but they do not give the sense of one totally immersing in Nature.
“We are in a jungle.” my 6 year old boy Isaac said that with excitement when I brought him to the Bukit Brown. We have built too many shopping malls and what values are we cultivating when weekend we see Singaporeans crowding the malls and yet complaining that we are bored to death? Our souls are not fed with Nature but shopping malls and how would that make us as a Nation? We fly out of the country during school holidays to visit other country’s nature while we are destroying one in our own backyard? An article written by a 12 year old lavanyaprakash on Bukit Brown reminded me how important it is to preserve such AUTHENTIC nature and to educate Singaporeans on Nature Outings. I want my children’s generations to be able to experience this Nature and not just Bukit Timah Reserves or other man made National Parks. Thus, not only it is a National Heritage to be preserved, it is a World Heritage to be preserved!”
Other than the Bukit Timah Nature Reserves, Bukit Brown is a another place where I can bring my families out to Experience nature in a SAFE environment. National Parks are wonderful but they do not give the sense of one totally immersing in Nature. “We are in a jungle.” my 6 year old boy Isaac said that with excitement when I brought him to the Bukit Brown. We have built too many shopping malls and what values are we cultivating when weekend we see Singaporeans crowding the malls and yet complaining that we are bored to death? Our souls are not fed with Nature but shopping malls and how would that make us as a Nation? We fly out of the country during school holidays to visit other country’s nature while we are destroying one in our own backyard? An article written by a 12 year old lavanyaprakash on Bukit Brown reminded me how important it is to preserve such AUTHENTIC nature and to educate Singaporeans on Nature Outings. I want my children’s generations to be able to experience this Nature and not just Bukit Timah Reserves or other man made National Parks. Thus, not only it is a National Heritage to be preserved, it is a World Heritage to be preserved!”
Ang Hock Chuan
“As recently as September 2011, Bukit Brown was just another cemetery to me. I only remember it as the place I learnt to drive and as the place my grandfather was buried.
My father visited his father’s tomb every Ching Ming till an illness made it difficult for him to walk in that terrain. He had prepared for the eventuality of exhumation and already bought a niche for my grandfather. Unfortunately, I stopped following my father to visit years ago and forgotten where my grandfather was buried.
When my father passed away a few years ago, I became interested to look for my grandfather’s tomb. It would be the last thing I could do for my father to ensure his father’s remains are properly taken care of.
When I heard the news about the proposed highway, there was an urgency to locate my grandfather. I started to search for people who can help me locate him and stumbled on a group of volunteers sharing about Bukit Brown.
My initial interest was to look for my grandfather’s tomb and determine if it would be affected so I can make the necessary arrangements to relocate him.
I joined their guided tours in October 2011. That opened up my eyes to the rich heritage and history contained in Bukit Brown.
Over many visits I was also introduced to the rich bio-diversity and wildlife thriving in this habitat. Whilst I enjoyed listening to the birds in the woods, I was never an avid bird-watcher. But now, I keep a look out for the birds when I am there. I have seen uncommon and endangered species like the Changeable Hawk Eagle, the Red Jungle Fowl, the Greater Coucal and still learning each day about the special flora and fauna of Singapore there.
Bukit Brown turned into a living museum and classroom for me. History came alive. Our cultural heritage is enshrined here. A rich bio-diversity thrives here. It has an aesthetic beauty not found in our man-made parks. I count it my good fortune to have learnt about and visited this wonderful piece of our heritage before any wanton destruction takes place.
For these reasons and more, I hope to see Bukit Brown preserved, for our children’s and grandchildren’s sake. Once lost, lost forever.”
“We need not look any further than to Bukit Brown when we try to form our Singapore Identity because it is there for all to see. It is a living museum of our rich history that reminds us that our forefathers were migrants from various lands who decided to root themselves here in the Straits Settlement of Singapore, and we are their proud offspring. The fact that Singapore started as a migrant nation also helps us understand and welcome those who come here today, like our forefathers, to seek their fortune and make Singapore their home.”
Arielle Ng Rae
As a local student and youth, I finally took the time out today to join one of the tour groups organised by SOS Bukit Brown today, which I have been wanting to do ever since my ‘A’-levels finished. I was pleasantly surprised with the beauty and heritage of the site, but I was also incredibly saddened. The tour guides were very passionate and knowledgeable about local heritage, and the knowledge I gained today about Singapore and its roots, about how the locals worked together with a myriad of other races to form modern Singapore, about the roots of our unique culture that we often take for granted, made me the proudest of Singapore that I have ever been.
Through the tour, I finally appreciated exactly what it meant to be a melting pot of diverse cultures– how our customs came to be and as a result, how unique we are, and, ironically, the beauty of globalization in contributing to our shared heritage.
I plead with the most earnest and sincere heart, that you will protect Bukit Brown, for the sake of Singaporeans, who are fast becoming disillusioned with this city-state. This tour has done nothing but cement my love for Singapore and my pride for it, and I want many of my peers to feel the same. It is perhaps the natural state of the cemetery, and the untouched beauty of the landscape that lent this genuine connection and pride, but whatever it is, Bukit Brown cemetery has proven to be a beautiful reminder of what it once meant to be Singaporean, and what it could mean for future generations to come.
“Bukit Brown has helped me achieve a better understanding of a history of a part of Singapore’s local history, and has helped me gain a stronger sense of where our nation has come from as a community. It is a reminder of where our society came from and the sacrifices earlier generations made. I hope my children will be able to experience the sheer physicality of our roots, as well as Singapore’s natural heritage. The flooding in Singapore over the past few years, including the Bukit Timah and Thomson areas that are downhill from Bukit Brown, reminds me of the importance of having natural green spaces near already built-up areas.
Moreover, during the periods of heavy haze earlier in 2013, green areas like Bukit Brown were least affected. Singapore needs natural green lungs like Bukit Brown.”
“It is OUR oldest part of history. My grandfather’s grave at Bidadari was long gone more than 10 years ago to clear his “resting place” for more housing developments. Passing by that stretch of road gives us no connection anymore. Even though we have never met our grandfather before, we used to pop by his grave as a kid just to say “hello”, or just to remember how he looked like before by the photo on his grave. We felt the root of our roots. We felt proud of ourselves in some way too because of where we came from. Now I understand why history is such an important part of life.
So, please do not do to the oldest cemetery in Singapore, the Bukit Brown Cemetery what the government had already done at Bidadari. How much more land or our past that you want to “sacrifice” for economic development? Bukit Brown CAN BE an economic source if it can be converted to a tourist area, natural reserve etc. We do not want more roads, please.”
“I am a British citizen who has settled in Singapore with my family and now call it home – and I am proud to do so. My daughter was born here and we are happy here. However, my husband and I are trying to teach our children about the importance of preserving our environment and our natural heritage. We often tell them “once it’s gone, you can’t get it back” and we quote the Native American Cree prophecy “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money”. It is heartbreaking to think that in a few years’ time, such a place as Bukit Brown – with its natural, historical and cultural significance – might be concreted over. Please, please consider saving it for our future generations.”
While I have only set foot on Bukit Brown once, I am fascinated by the deep treasure trove of history it is. It is an unbias holding place of history as alot of our ancestor laid to rest. I remembered when I was young, I have to walk through Choa Chu Kang and there was this cemetery that fascinated me as it has very interesting tombs. I never get around to know it as it made way to development since. It would be a pity if we keep making concession on preservation in the name of progress as that would be a very up-rooting experience. No pictures or archive can replace the actual tombstone and the serenity is irreplaceable.
“I am the third generation of Kinmenese immigrants. My great grandparents were once buried in Bukit Brown cemetery. My father, Mr Tan Kok Meng 陈国民, had served as board member, treasurer and subsequently as vice chairman of Kim Mui Hoey Kuan 金门会馆 from late 60s to 80s. During that time, he organized many cultural activities and exchanges, including hosting the Asian literary festival. He had also proposed to setup a center to store valuable historical material of Kinmen and their diaspora. The subsequent setting up of the Cultural and Historical Resource Center 新加坡金门会馆文史资料中心 in 2003 and the publication of “I came from Kim Mui” 《我从金门来》in 2006 (which my father was one of the interviewees) were some of the visible fruits.
Now that my father has passed away for four years, I have kept this book close to my heart. My daughter recently used it to write a social science essay about her root. My father, after escaping the turmoil of war had decided to make Singapore his permanent home. Along with many others who came to Singapore between 18th – 20th century, they have contributed to who we are today. Even though we are still a young country, we do have our own history. And the major part of it, is inscribed on the tomb stones in Bukit Brown Cemetery. ”
“My daughter and I visited Bukit Brown and were deeply moved by the heritage and biodiversity of Bukit Brown. Lavanya,who’s my 13 year old daughter wrote about Bukit Brown in her blog here http://mynatureexperiences.
Singapore is not only about concrete buildings and integrated resorts: it has in Bukit Brown a huge repository of stories which when told, make people aware of Singapore as a hub of trade commerce and culture in Asia all this long time ago. It is so much easier to show a human Singapore when you bring back to mind the human stories told every week by the Brownies on their tours – these are stories that make this place, home.
Conservation does not mean no development
One point I wish to stress is that conservation does not mean no development: just as we can develop around an existing building and incorporate its uniqueness into our plans, it should be possible to conserve Bukit Brown without halting development. What is needed is more diverse, out-of-the-box thinking. For instance we will still need parks in Singapore – well, we have one already. While the older generations have reservations about going to a cemetery for a walk, the younger set do not, and Bukit Brown is already being used as one. Why not develop it’s potential? Here is a place where amidst the stones stories of old Singapore lie. The Brownies have bring the stories to life during their tours, which as noted above, have been receiving a lot of tourist publicity through word of mouth and social media. If self-funded volunteers can do so much, how much more can they achieve if they had help?”
“Each time I pay a visit there, it stirs up emotions from a sort of deep-seated ‘spiritual’ wellspring which I did not know I have. A spiritual awakening of sorts. Ironic isn’t it from a burial ground?
Maybe, it’s the tranquil surroundings, the wonderful tales of an almost forgotten past kept alive by the elan of the volunteer guides, or could it be just the spirits of the ancestors channelling….. I would often end up going away asking myself: How is it that we have neglected our past? Why? Who are we as Singaporeans? What keeps us going? What inspires us? Do we have a national soul? Did we start any fire or if there are any embers left? And so on. So here are some of those rambling thoughts…….after my latest ramble over the hills of Bukit Brown.”
The Battle along the Kheam Hock Road
by Jon Cooper
Battlefield archaeologist Jon Cooper uncovers important clues in the battle along Bukit Timah that ended in Bukit Brown in February 1942. Having written about the fallen British soldiers in an earlier post, he has since discovered more. Read on….
Recent communications I had with Louise Cordingly on the memoirs and works of Reverend Eric Cordingly has brought to light the location of more men who are listed as missing at Bukit Brown and whose last known location may lie in the line of the new road.
Reverend Cordingly was one of the regimental clergy who were tasked with leading burial parties across the battlefield in the days immediately after the surrender of the island. The process of burial included the completion of form W3314 Burial Returns. This in turn was used to annotate the entries in the battalion rolls kept by the Bureau of Record and Enquiries in Changi. Fortunately Cordingly kept hold of his Burial returns book and I have been given a copy of this document.
Cordingly’s record of the battle
On the 14 February 1942, the Japanese launched an assault on the 4th Suffolk positions across Bukit Brown. Infantry of the 11th regiment 3rd Battalion dashed across the Adam Road and Lornie Road supported by tanks. The Suffolk companies were slowly driven back from their positions along the reservoir shoreline and took up ‘strong defensive positions’ (Suffolks War Diary) along the western edge of the cemetery with some elements of C Company still sitting it out on Hill 95 west of Adam Road.
This pullback meant that a new line of positions had to be prepared in quick time amongst the headstones. The Suffolk’s carriers, some of their mortar platoon and elements of the reinforcement company congregated in the small kampong south of Hill 130 on the Kheam Hock Road. They were met there by a sole Indian Pattern Vickers tank and two universal carriers of the late Major Jack Alford’s 100th Light Tank Squadron.
The enemy infantry attack along the Sime Road seemed to be the catalyst from a hail of bullets from snipers and machine gunners who had apparently infiltrated the lines and set themselves up on the slopes of Hill 60 (823146). As the fusillade increased to their front the Suffolks, at least those with time to look behind them, saw their chow wagons approaching up the road.
The Suffolk carriers and tanks of the 100th Light Tank Squadron were just in the process of dishing out their meals from their B Echelon rations run when the first Chi Ha tanks rolled into view along the Kheam Hock Road. According to the Suffolk Regimental diary, all hell then broke lose as men scrambled to their positions, tossing mess tins and cups away in their haste. There followed a vicious close quarters struggle as the Suffolks engaged the tanks with anti-tank rifles, grenades and machine guns. Amongst the casualties were Lt D A Wise and 2nd Lt PHT Bennett who were wounded. Lt Harry Archer went missing and Sgt John Colborn was killed. Capt Wyscock-Crundall and C/Sgt Bowell were last seen with a group of others being carted off into captivity roped together. Cpl Goldsmith pulled together the surviving members of the garrison and led them on a fighting retreat through Japanese lines back to the safety of allied positions along the Bukit Timah road leaving the burnt out wrecks of the armoured vehicles smouldering in the darkness.
Cordingly visited the scene after the surrender and recalled in his diary the carnage he found at the kampong.
‘The following morning I set out again, this time going several miles into enemy lines and up the Kheam Hock Road, where I heard there had been an ambush. Here we came upon the most awful carnage I have yet seen. On a bend in the road were two burnt out Bren Carriers with four or five bodies sprawled across the road – bodies quite naked. Leaning from the carriers were more – parts of men – burnt stumps of men – and this after two days of tropical sun – the stench of this will be with me always. Along the ditches were others – fifty or more – an officer spread –eagled in the middle of the road – quite unrecognisable. I went from body to body trying to remove Identity Discs and personal effects. It was impossible to tell whether they were English, Jap or Indian – swollen, sizzling, bursting corpses. We buried each one – some who could not be moved we covered with earth others we buried in a large bomb crater.’
Cordingly goes on to note that the Japanese escorting the burial party behaved with kindness and respect. However he adds that there was one incident that marred their copy book:
‘In the morning a Nippon soldier took me through a native village past some Jap tanks (which I suppose were responsible for the chaos and death on the road) into a garden. There he pointed at a mat, which I raised and saw five Indian soldiers dead, shot through the chest and head but with their hands tied together. When I came back later in the day to bury them, they had been buried by the Japanese, perhaps there was some reason for this.’
Cordingly diligently completed the Burial Record for all the men he found along the Kheam Hock Road that day and notably he reports on the burial of other Indian troops of the Deccan Horse (9th Horse) who were most likely attached to the 100th Lt Tank Regiment.
Table 1 – Details of Indian troops found and buried by Cordingly
|Surname||Forename||Number||Regt||Grid ref||Kranji Ref|
|Jat||Ram||Sobha||A/9336||Royal Deccan Horse||815141||Column 146 Singapore Memorial|
|Jat||Singh||Tej||7938||Royal Deccan Horse||815141||Column 146 Singapore Memorial|
|SR||Singh||Badan||9544||Royal Deccan Horse||815141||Column 145 Singapore Memorial|
When the details are cross referred to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, it is clear that like many of the Suffolks lost in the area, these men have no known grave at Kranji and therefore it is possible they were not recovered from their resting place along the Kheam Hock Road.
The fact that the men were from the Royal Deccan Horse as they would appear to be casualties from the only tank on tank engagement in the capture of Singapore.
Fig 3 (a – c) The entries in Cordingly’s Burial Return noting the identity and location of Indian troops buried along the Kheam Hock Road.
Lt Harry Archer of the 4th Suffolks was also reported missing during that engagement. The entry in the Suffolk roll states that he was last seen between Thomson Village and the Chinese Cemetery South to the MacRitchie reservoir. But the reference in the regimental diary suggests he was lost at sometime during the battle along Kheam Hock and maybe found in the area. He may of course be the ‘unrecognisable officer’ noted in Cordingly’s description.
Fig 4 a – b – The Suffolk Rolls (top) showing Archer’s entry. Also note Brown’s entry stating Cordingly carried out the burial. The location details are almost identical to the details in Cordingly’s Burial Return (below) showing how the roll was updated directly from the form.
It was noted in the initial report that we only had details for missing Suffolk men and that most likely there are many more of other units who could have gone missing on Bukit Brown. This addendum to the report is a great case in point. Here we have independent reports which tie in nicely with the existing documents and shed light on more missing soldiers.
The fact that they were Indian troops reminds us of the global heritage that is encompassed in this battlefield site.
Also the suggestion that men were rounded up bound together and then shot is a vivid reminder that the Kheam Hock road was a scene of one of the horrific atrocities that were taking place across the island at the time.
I hope this note inspires further research into the battle along the Kheam Hock and the details of the action can be fully established. I also would implore that the road contractors are made aware of the WW2 history of this area and make every effort to recover the bodies of these men should their final resting place be in the line of the new development.
Jon Cooper is an expat amateur archaeologist and a graduate from the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University. He has spent the last three years working as the project manager alongside his partners in the Singapore Heritage Society and the National University of Singapore, for The Adam Park Project; a study into the archaeological record of the battle for the estate and the subsequent POW camp that was established there in 1942. The project’s findings have recently gone on show at the National Library in an exhibition entitled ‘Four Days in February’. He works on The Adam Park Project.
Jon Cooper’s original post: Missing Amongst the Dead
 Major Jack Alford had been killed on the 12th February. He was the son of John and Helen Alford of Bodmin in Cornwall and husband of Dorothy Alford
 Notably B Echelon’s C/Sgt Marler and the officer’s mess sergeant, Sgt Francis John Squires were both killed in the ensuing action.
 Lt Harry Archer was never found. He was the son of Edward William and Dorothy Archer, of 50 Church Crescent Finchley, Middlesex. His name appears on the Singapore War Memorial Column 53.
 Sgt John Rice Colburn was found after the fighting by a burial party led by Rev E Cordingley. He was laid to rest in a shell hole on the 16th April 1942 alongside 8 other Suffolk casualties. After the war the men were found and reburied at Kranji. John now lies alongside his comrades in Coll Grave 12. B-5-13. His next of kin is listed as Mrs J R Colborn The New Road Fritton Gt Yarmouth Norfolk .
Buried with him were Pte Ronald John Trace, Pte Charles Frederick Thompson, Pte Ernest Charles Templey, L/Sgt Francis John Squires, Pte Frank Sinkins, Pte William Arthur Lucas, Pte Edward Hoy, Pte Reginald Girling