Labrador Park was one of nine sites where British forces set up their batteries for the defence of Singapore. This strategy was based on the belief that invasion of Singapore would not come from the north. These batteries would fire shells against naval invaders to Singapore. The Labrador Battery included two six-inch 37-ton guns which were installed in 1938. These guns could fire 102 lb shells almost 10 miles. In addition to these two guns there were searchlights to beam at enemy battleships.
In February 1942 these guns were traversed almost 180 degrees to fire upon the advancing Japanese Imperial Forces on Pasir Panjang Road towards Alexandra Road. However, they were not effective against land forces because of their very flat trajectory. What we see today in Labrador Park are only the gun positions and not the guns. However, these remind Singaporeans that wrong military strategy can lead to disaster. Winston Churchill called the fall of Singapore ‘the greatest disaster to British arms which our history records’.
Labrador Nature Reserve contains many historical relics from World War II and earlier, left behind by the British. That is because it has a long history, dating back to the 19th century. It also played a significant role in the history of Singapore. There was an old British fort, the Fort Pasir Panjang, located on the hill and cliff next to the sea. The cliff’s high vantage point led the British to identify it as a defence site to protect the entrance to the harbours of Singapore. It became one of nine sites in which the British had set up their batteries, and is part of the British overall defense system for Singapore.
This is one of the last remaining World War II pillboxes in Singapore. Pillboxes were small concrete fortified structures built as machine gun placements. Typically built along the eastern and southern coastlines and complimenting other defences, the pillboxes were positioned at strategic intervals to ensure a continuous, overlapping field of fire and formed an important part of Singapore’s Second World War defence strategy. The pillboxes at Labrador Nature Reserve were two of several built to protect the 12 pounder guns located on the nearby hilltop, all facing south. Although the two guns have been removed, their positions are still visible by the two large dome-shaped cemented areas.
If you’re into geocaching, there is on hidden here. Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. The geocache is a small camouflaged lock ‘n’ lock style box, beware of ants, spiders, and mossies!
Secret Tunnels – Safely tucked away in a nature reserve, these wartime tunnels used by the British Army during the World War II were not discovered till 2001. Discover the secret tunnel amidst an oasis of tranquility and natural wonder! Guided Tours of the war tunnels are conducted daily from 10am – 7pm. You may call 63396833 for more information. The charges for the tour are $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Long Ya Men or Dragon’s Teeth Gate, a craggy granite outcrop, formerly stood at the gateway to Keppel Harbour in Singapore. It served as navigational aids to ancient mariners sailing through the swift waters of the narrow channel between them. The rocks were documented in a navigational map belonging to Ming dynasty’s Admiral Cheng Ho. The rocky outcrops were subsequently destroyed by the British in 1848 to widen the channel for larger vessels to sail through. In 2005, a symbolic replica was erected by the Singapore government near its original site to mark the role it played in Singapore’s maritime history.