Johore Battery

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Johore Battery
Part of World War II-era Defense of Singapore
Cosford Road in Changi, Singapore
Coastal defence gun in Singapore
One of Singapore's 15-inch coastal-defence guns elevated for firing
Coordinates 1°21′55″N 103°58′47″E / 1.365167°N 103.979667°E / 1.365167; 103.979667
Site information
Open to
the public
Condition Original demolished, now replaced with replica.
Site history
Built In 1939
In use Early to mid February 1942
Demolished Mid February 1942
Battles/wars Battle of Singapore (WWII)
Garrison information
Garrison Formerly British Army, now none.

The Johore Battery was a coastal artillery battery located in Changi, on the eastern side of Singapore. It consisted of three large BL 15-inch Mk I naval guns installed on land by the British government in the late 1930s to defend the approaching path to the Naval Base located at Sembawang from an attacking enemy naval force.


Five 15–inch guns were installed in Singapore by the British government before 1940, with three in Changi and two in Buona Vista. The three guns in Changi formed the Johore Battery, named after the Sultan of Johore who gave King George V a royal gift of UK £500,000 for his Silver Jubilee in 1935; of which £400,000 was used by the British government to install the three large naval guns in Changi. The battery, in 1942, was used in the artillery bombardment of Johor Bahru, which at that time was under Japanese military occupation after the British-commanded troops were forced to retreat from British Malaya to Singapore.[citation needed]

Singapore in early February 1942; the disposition of Allied ground forces is in red. The Naval base is on the North tip of the island, Changi is the peninsula on the easternmost side.

Built by the British government in 1939 for the naval defence of Singapore (in particular, to defend Singapore from an aggressive Imperial Japan, which had possessed a strong and a powerful navy by the later part of the 1930s and was expanding deeper and deeper into China), the Johore Battery is a large gun emplacement site consisting of a labyrinth of underground tunnels. These tunnels were used to store ammunition for the three 15-inch guns (most of which were of the armour-piercing (AP) type rather than the high-explosive (HE) type as these naval guns were intended to be employed against heavily-armoured enemy warships).[citation needed]

An AP shell in the process of being hoisted to the gun breech, Singapore, 1940.

These naval guns were the largest installed on land outside Britain during World War II. They were all destroyed before the official surrender of the British Army on the 15th of February in 1942 to the conquering Imperial Japanese military and the related tunnels (for the storage of the ammunition for the guns and gun-crew quarters) were sealed up after the war. The location remained a largely-unknown secret until the Singapore Prisons Department re-discovered them by chance in April 1991.[citation needed]


A replica of the large gun and a dummy 15-inch shell are located at the former site of the Johore Battery, along with a newly-opened restaurant located just beside.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Chung, Ong Chit (2011). Operation Matador: World War II—Britain’s Attempt to Foil the Japanese Invasion of Malaya and Singapore. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd.
  • Blackburn, Kevin and Hack, Karl (2003). Did Singapore Have to Fall?: Churchill and the Impregnable Fortress. Routledge.

External links[edit]