Fort Siloso might just be Singapore's 74th national monument, according to an announcement by the National Heritage Board (NHB) on Tuesday, January 19.
According to reports, NHB recognises Fort Siloso as the best-preserved 19th-century fort in Singapore and a significant marker of World War II. Once it's been gazetted, the historical attraction will be given the highest level of protection in Singapore in view of its integral role in Singapore's built heritage. It will join the likes of the National Museum Singapore, Sultan Mosque and most recently, Cavenagh, Anderson and Elgin bridges in the list of our national monuments.
While work is underway to finalise the exact boundaries of the site to be gazetted – NHB hopes to complete the designation by February this year – it won't hurt to travel down to Sentosa to give this attraction a visit. Located on the northwestern tip of the island, this is the last remaining inactive coastal gun battery in Singapore.
It was built in 1880s on Mount Siloso to aid in protecting the port, mainly the western entrance to Keppel Harbour and the coal stocked nearby. It formed part of Singapore's coastal defence alongside Fort Serapong and Fort Connaught, keeping Japanese troops at bay and destroying precious oil refineries at Pulau Bukom and Pulau Sebarok to prevent its use by invading forces.
Today, it's been converted into a military museum containing a treasure trove of WWII memorabilia: including coastal guns, the remains of fortified military structures and tunnels, as well as an interactive video documentary complete with wax figures of Japanese and British soldiers at the Surrender Chambers. Explore the sprawling grounds of Fort Siloso for a visceral deep dive into Singapore's World War II history.