Wanted: Memories of Adam Park in WWII

Wanted: Memories of Adam Park in WWII

The Adam Park Project wants to hear from Singaporeans who worked as cook boys and house servants or knew those who did when the site served as a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp in 1942 during the Japanese Occupation.

Organisers hope these stories can help pinpoint which colonial bungalow out of the 19 there housed a chapel for prisoners, and give a better picture of what life was like there.

"We are appealing to anyone who has heard stories of their fathers or grandfathers who worked in the area to also help provide a snapshot of how life was like then for civilians working with the POWs," said project initiator Jon Cooper, 48, a military historian and archaeologist.

The site was the last battle line before Singapore fell to the Japanese on Feb 15, 1942. That battle was fought by a 1,000-strong Cambridgeshire Battalion for control of the southern shores of MacRitchie Reservoir.

It later became a camp for 2,000 Australian and 1,000 British POWs, who helped to build a Shinto shrine at the same reservoir to commemorate Japanese soldiers who died in the conquest of Malaya and Sumatra.

Today, the park which is near the Adam Road Food Centre, is a residential estate of 19 conserved black-and-white bungalows.

Each house has a story to tell while the land around the estate is a time capsule of the intense fighting that went on then, said Mr Cooper, a Briton.

The project, which was started in 2009 to unearth little-known facts about the battle, is supported by about 60 volunteers, half of whom are expatriates. They help out with bi-monthly surface digs with the aid of metal detectors.

So far about 60 per cent of the estate, or an area of about 6,300 sq m, has been surveyed by Mr Cooper and his team.

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