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Imbiah Gun Emplacement and Lookout, Sentosa, Singapore

By on June 7, 2015 in Singapore

As early as 1819 fortification were built around Singapore Island to protect the new trading settlement at Singapore river. The earliest were small earthen batteries at the river mouth and later other forts were added across the island.

The switch to steam ships and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 causes a shift in trading from the Singapore River to Keppel harbour, and the harbour, and its associated warehouses, offices and coal stores needed protection. As a result a series of coastal forts were built in the 1880s around the entrance to the harbour, and the nearby islands of Pulau Blakang Mati and Pulau Brani were fortified. Mount Imbiah was part of this fortification process.

In the 1930s a naval base was built north of Singapore as a defence against the Japanese. During the 2nd World War, the defence of Singapore was organised into two rings of Fire Command – Faber Fire Command which protected the entrances to the harbour and Changi Fire Command, which covered the entrance to the naval base on the north of the island.

The gun emplacement on Mount Imbiah contained a 9.2 inch gun (maximum range of 36,700 yards; ~21 miles; ~33 km), which was the chief coastal defence gun used by the British from 1880s to 1950s.

The gun was placed in a re-infored concrete pit with the barrel just above the parapet. The gun was on a steel platform, which also surrounded the gun and formed a protective roof. Ammunitions was brought to the underground magazines by lifts, and the shells were loaded with the aid of a hydraulic hoist. The gun was fired either directly or from a fire control centre.

The firing pit can still be seen on the top of Mount Imbiah, and is shown in photos below.

Entrance to Imbiah Gun Emplacement

Entrance to Imbiah Gun Emplacement

The photo below shows the pit, and the gun mount.

Imbiah Gun Emplacement showing gun mount

Imbiah Gun Emplacement showing gun mount

A view of the gun pit from a nearby tower. When the gun was in operation the top of the hill was cleared of trees and the growth seen here has happened since the mid-1960s.

View of Imbiah Gun Emplacement

View of Imbiah Gun Emplacement

View from the gun emplacement. When the gun was operational these trees would not have been present.

View from Imbiah Gun Emplacement - note, there would have been no trees when the site was operational

View from Imbiah Gun Emplacement – note, there would have been no trees when the site was operational

Stores - full of birds swooping in and out

Stores – full of birds swooping in and out

FourSquare: Imbiah Trails @ Sentosa Nature Discovery

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