On 13 February 1942, the 6-inch guns from the Labrador Battery saw action as they turned inland and fired on advancing enemy soldiers during the fight for Pasir Panjang Ridge (present-day Kent Ridge Park). Part of the Faber Fire Command, the guns were manned by Malays, Indians and British soldiers.
Labrador Battery: Coastal Defence
Once part of a network of 11 coastal forts, the ridge where the former Labrador Battery is located is now much quieter. It sees only the occasional visitor, much fewer than those who visit the seaside promenade at the park below.
Nonetheless, a walk through the remains of the artillery battery offers both a sense of history and adventure.
From the seaside section of Labrador Park, a road leads upwards to where the Labrador Battery’s gun emplacements are located.
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The Labrador Battery was intended to work with the guns located at Fort Siloso on present-day Sentosa to protect the entrance the Keppel Harbour. Keppel Harbour was seen as important because if it was attacked, the enemy would have a gateway to reach the Fortress Headquarters at Fort Canning Hill.
On the eve of World War 2, two 6-inch guns were allocated to the Labrador Battery. These had a range of about 10 to 14 km.
A Tribute To the Gunners
After the Fall of Singapore, the guns were destroyed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. In March 2001, a 6-inch gun barrel was discovered at the site of the former Beach Road Camp.
This gun has now been mounted at one of the gun emplacement as a tribute to the Gunners of Labrador Battery. Three figures, one with looking out to sea and two others bringing ammunition from the underground store, complete the installation.
“Shells” and “shell casings” illustrate the type of rounds the gun fired. Unfortunately, in 1942, during the Battle of Pasir Panjang Ridge, the ammunition fired on advancing infantry were armour-piercing rounds intended for ships and not effective against ground troops.
It is also possible to look down the barrel of the gun.
While it is no longer possible to visit the tunnels and bunkers under Labrador Battery where the ammunition was stored, an entranceway dating back to 1892 can still be seen.
Explorations at Labrador Park
Footpaths also run along the ridge. These provide an easy walk through the secondary forest that has overtaken the Labrador Battery.
The Labrador Battery is an often-overlooked side of Labrador Park and the Labrador Nature Reserve. Nonetheless, it is an interesting spot which is worthy of exploration and where one can get a glimpse of Singapore’s history.