Fort Siloso, Singapore’s only preserved coastal fort, has been gazetted as a National Monument, on 15 February 2022, Total Defence Day and in commemoration of its role in the Battle for Singapore.
In addition to the overall site being gazetted, 11 of the fort’s individual structures will be protected. Collectively, they tell the story of the defence of Singapore.
History of the Fort
Fort Siloso was built in 1878 as part of the defences of the New Harbour (now Keppel Harbour). It was designed by Henry Edward McCallum, colonial engineer of the Straits Settlements. Together with its sister fort, Fort Pasir Panjang, it guarded the narrow western approach to the harbour.
In the Battle for Singapore, Fort Siloso and Fort Connaught were the two most active batteries on Pulau Blankang Mati, as Sentosa was known at that time. Its guns were turned landward to shell the Japanese troops advancing on Pasir Panjang and also destroyed a Japanese ammunition ship and the oil refineries at Pulau Bukom to deny them from the enemy.
During the Japanese Occupation, it was a prisoner of war camp for Australian and British soldiers. After the Japanese surrender, it housed Japanese prisoners of war. During the Konfrontasi (1963 to 1966) it was manned by the 10th Gurkha Rifles to prevent Indonesian saboteurs from landing on the island.
The 11 gazetted structures within Fort Siloso are the original Casemates, four Gun Emplacements, three Tunnel complexes, key defensive structures such as the Battery Command Post and the Fire Director Tower with Searchlight Posts, and the former Sergeants’ Mess and Officers’ Mess.
As a gazetted monument, Fort Siloso will continue to serve as a social and community space enjoyed by Singaporeans, as well as a tourist attraction.
Read more about what to expect on a visit to Fort Siloso.