We took a drive along Cosford Road to see what’s changed in the area and stopped by the the Johore Battery, a gun emplacement site that consists of a labyrinth of tunnels that was used to store ammunition to support three monster guns that could fire 15-inch shells.
This main battery in the north east coast was named the Johor Battery in appreciation of Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s donation of £500,000 as a Silver Jubilee gift for King George V for the British war campaign, out of which £400,000 was used for the installation of two of the three guns.
Built by the British in 1939 for the defence of Singapore, the guns were the largest installed outside Britain during WWII. The Johor Battery’s three 15-inch guns were known also as monster guns for their sheer size. The other two 15-inch guns in Singapore were mounted at Buona Vista Battery in the south.
The three 15-inch guns, so called because of the 15-inch (38 cm) diameter of the shells they fired, were placed in a row 500 m from each other. The guns had a 16.5 m-long barrel. They had a 360-degree traverse enabling them to target both land and sea objects.
Vertical shafts led to a labyrinth of tunnels three storeys underground connected to a bunker housing the ammunition. The shells came up on hydraulic lifts and were pushed into the breech by a ram. The ammunition was capable of piercing the armour of the most powerful ship 30 km away.
The guns were destroyed before the surrender of the British army and the tunnels were sealed up after the war. Their location remained a secret until the Singapore Prisons Department rediscovered them in April 1991 along Cosford Road, off Upper Changi Road North. Today a replica of the monster gun and 15-inch shell sit at the Johore Battery.
And while you’re in the area, see if you can spot this nicely preserved GRUMMAN HU-16 Albatross. It’s a large twin–radial engine amphibious flying boat that was typically used by the United States Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Coast Guard, primarily as a search and rescue aircraft. Originally designated as the SA-16 for the USAF and the JR2F-1 and UF-1 for the USN and USCG, it was redesignated as the HU-16 in 1962.