Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever - Cicero
Singapore was the site of the largest British naval base east of the Suez when war came to the Pacific in December 1941.
Landing on the beaches of Kuantan in Malaya and Singora and Patani in Thailand just past midnight local time on 8 December 1941 (a full 90 minutes before the first bombs began to fall on Pearl Harbor), the armed forces of the Empire of Japan took just 55 days to overrun the Malay Peninsula and thereafter taking just 7 days to overcome the defences of the Gibraltar in the East. Thus began 30 months of brutal occupation when Singapore was known as Syonan-to (昭南島) or 'Light of the South'
While modern Singapore has come very far from those dark days there remain many opportunities for those interested in military history to visit and walk the grounds and sites that have come to represent one of the darkest days in the histories of not only Singapore but the United Kingdom, Australia and India as well.
The following are just some of my favourite places of military interest in Singapore.
Sarimbun - Site of the first Japanese landings on the island.
Kranji War Cemetery - As with most other war cemeteries Kranji is achingly peaceful and serene, a marked contrast to the events and people it commemorates.
Former Ford Factory - Retrace the steps of the British Surrender Party.
Johore Battery - Come up close to one of the monster 15-inch naval guns that was part of the seaward defence of Singapore Naval Base.
The Changi Museum - One of the most poignant reminders that war is never only about the combatants.
Adam Park - Not many know of the fight put up by the 1st Battalion, The Cambridgshire Regiment in and among the black and white houses that sprawl throughout this little estate. Experience present day peace and tranquility juxtaposed with accounts of some of the fiercest fighting on the island in the dying days of its defence.
Whether you only have an hour or the luxury of a day or two there's always something to do or a place to visit if you are looking to learn more about Singapore's place in World War 2.