You find numerous World War II sites and memorials in Singapore, all of which serve as a poignant testament to the Japanese occupation of the country from 1942 to 1945. To learn about Singapore’s wartime history, here are a few key locations to visit.
Former Ford Factory
This old Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant served a base for the Royal Air Force to assemble fighter planes until 1942, when it was seized by Japanese forces. It’s also the site where the British surrendered to the Japanese—the largest surrender of British-led forces in history. Today, the Former Ford Factory houses a permanent exhibition on the war and its legacy in Singapore.
Fort Canning Park
British forces in Singapore made the difficult decision to surrender the island to the Japanese at their army barracks atop Fort Canning Hill. Now a sprawling park, the site also hosts a small museum where you can learn about Battlebox, the former British underground command center.
During the occupation of Singapore, the Japanese built several prisoner-of-war camps here, now memorialized along the Changi WWII Trail. Monuments of interest include the Changi Prison Chapel (a replica of one built by POWs during the war), the Sook Ching Memorial Monument commemorating a massacre of Chinese males by Japanese secret police, and the Changi Prison Museum with its collection of drawings, sketches, and photographs of life inside the war camps.
Kranji War Memorial
Situated in Northern Singapore, the Kranji War Memorial honors the men and women of the Commonwealth who lost their lives fighting in World War II. The serene hillside cemetery houses more than 4,400 white gravestones in neat rows, as well as a hilltop memorial bearing the names of 24,346 Allied soldiers killed in the line of duty with no known graves.