Talbot’s Hill Bunker

Talbot's Hill Bunker 04
Talbot’s Hill Bunker

For a country with only about 700 km2 of land area, Singapore has never failed to surprise us with her endless list of hidden gems to explore. Just last month, I joined a tour organised by the National Heritage Board to visit a WWII bunker that has been forgotten for over a decade.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 03
The site overlooks Johor Bahru across the Straits

Talbot’s Hill bunker (Magazine No. 4)
Constructed: 1942
Status: Found

Talbot's Hill Bunker 18
Talbot’s Hill Bunker

The bunker is located near Attap Valley Road, a road that leads towards the Senoko Fishery Port along the northern shores of Singapore. The road was probably named as it ran through a “valley” between Talbot’s Hill and Attap Hill (now within the grounds of Senoko Incineration Plant). There were a few other hills towards the west, such as Keramat Hill (near present-day Keramat Road) and Rimau Hill (slightly north of Keramat Hill). The entire area was developed as the Armament Depot by the British prior to WWII.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 01
Senoko Fishery Port – the start of the trail

A total of 18 underground bunkers were built in the Depot, 7 of which were located on Talbot’s Hill. Today, only one remains.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 06
The bunker is located under Talbot’s Hill

When the British left in 1971, Mindef took over, and the place was renamed Sembawang Ammunition Depot. It was decommissioned in 2002, and the site has been managed by the Singapore Land Authority till today. The southern part of the site (along Admiralty Road West) was subsequently into the North Coast Industrial Estate, while the remaining areas were fenced up. Meanwhile, the bunker, known as Magazine No. 4, was gradually forgotten.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 02
Along the northern coast of Singapore

Talbot's Hill Bunker 07
The huge, steel doors

Access to the bunker began with a 10 minute trek along the coast and into the forested area. The two huge, rusty steel doors then revealed themselves, resembling a British colonial version of a hobbit house. Rainwater has accumulated along the entrance over the years, and the rust from the railway tracks that used to run into the bunker turned the mud water reddish-brown.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 05
Entrance to the bunker

Talbot's Hill Bunker 08
Talbot's Hill Bunker 09
The journey inwards

Beyond the steel doors, a long corridor stretched inwards, towards the storage space about the size of two five-room flats. Visibility was restricted in the underground bunker, as the lights installed by Mindef were no longer working.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 10
Talbot's Hill Bunker 19
Magazine No. 4

Talbot's Hill Bunker 11
The steel ceiling

The ceiling of the bunker is constructed in steel to protect it from air raids.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 16
Talbot's Hill Bunker 15
Magazine No. 4

Talbot's Hill Bunker 13
The ventilation shaft

The steel cranes and ventilation shafts are still clearly visible after over 70 years.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 14
Talbot's Hill Bunker 12
The cranes were used to lift ammunition to be delivered out via the railway tracks

Talbot's Hill Bunker 17
Magazine No. 4

The bunker is currently being studied by NHB and other government agencies, and no concrete plans have been laid out yet. Access to the area is restricted, and was only possible during the guided tours in February. Hopefully, more of such tours can be organised in the future.

Talbot's Hill Bunker 20
Magazine No. 4

File Last Updated: March 22, 2015

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s