We’ve heard and read about surviving underground bunkers and other WWII installations in Sembawang, so we set out in search for them. Since most sources only highlight one or two bunkers, we were surprised to find them in abundance scattered all around Sembawang. Almost every house had one in their backyard! Here are some others located outside of private property and we were able to take a closer look at.
The main attraction for most is the largest bunker, at Malta Crescent just next to the Sembawang Park Carpark. Upon arrival, you can see a mound of grass, an entrance to the bunker, and a couple of chimney-like structures jutting out of the ground. The entrance used to be open but it’s since been sealed. From previous explorers, we learnt that the bunker is approximately 2 metres wide and quite deep, with rusty metal steps leading to the bottom.
Across the road, you will notice a rectangle concrete court which I believe to be the top of what is also part of the underground bunker. Scattered around the concrete slab, one can spot ventilation holes and markings that look somewhat like a helipad.
As we moved along and explored the area further, we found a WWII structure in the jungle opposite 158 Gibraltar Crescent. While you’re here, stop to take a peek into the empty black and white house. Some may say that it’s the entrance to a bunker, but it looks more like a guard-house or a store of sorts. The shelter has been engulfed almost fully by a Banyan tree, but you’ll still be able to see its squarish structure and the entrance. On the door of this concrete room, we could only try make out the faint words that used to be stenciled on.
Just down the road in a green patch next to 148 Gibraltar Crescent, we spotted another store / guardhouse building, this one was relatively clean and undisturbed by the jungle. Just around the corner is a small underground bunker with a sealed entrance. If you wonder further along the grass, you’ll also notice yet another large double bunker with ventilation vents.
Our next spotting was just a short drive away at 291 Durban Road. A small bunker with a sealed entrance and two ventilation shafts. The colonial-style black and white in the background made for a really nice photo opportunity.
Along the adjoining Canada Road, another underground bunker sat right next to house number 266. The bricks on this one look different from the rest, and we could make out the words “TENG SAN” (from Teng San Brickworks) and “NANY” (I’m assuming Nanyang something or other) on them. Two large slabs of concrete lay on top of the ventilation shafts. At the other end of the field, there were remains of what seems like pillars of a shelter structure.
This chimney was spotted opposite 230 St. John’s Road. I’m assuming that there’s something like a bunker or air-raid shelter below. Why else would there be chimney sticking out of the ground? The top of the shaft has been bolted shut to prevent people from squeezing in.
And last but definitely not least, we found my favourite WWII installation of the day. Two bunkers that look very much like pillboxes at Bermuda Road. They are quite spacious and have small openings for guns. They are also located on a hill which offers a great vantage point as a gun or lookout post.
I’m posting the locations of these WWII relics for anyone who is interested to visit them for its heritage value – as I find it pointless to tell people about a place without giving them any information on how to find it or experience it for themselves. However, I hope that everyone who visits here does so with the best of intentions and not deface our items of heritage.
Oh and while you’re here, you may also wish to drop by Sembawang Park and its surrounds to see the last Sembawang tree in Singapore, a former plantation owner’s house by the sea, an old gate, a mosque in the woods and bits of the old Naval Base. More information about these places in this post!