Kranji War Memorial | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Kranji War Memorial

Singapore, Central, Singapore

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Kranji War Memorial

Kranji War Memorial (Tanah Perkuburan Perang Kranji) is a monument in the northern Singapore region of Kranji in honour of the men and women who lost their lives defending Singapore from Japanese invasion during World War II.

History of Kranji War Memorial

Before 1939, the Kranji area was a military camp and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, it was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On 8 February 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands.

On the evening of 9 February, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand to hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal.

After the fall of the island, the Japanese established a prisoner of war camp at Kranji and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands.

Kranji War Memorial today

Made up of twelve columns, representing the formation in which the military marches, a wing-shaped roof representing the air force and crowned with a wall which portrays the periscope in dedication to the navy, the Kranji War Memorial is a fitting commemoration of all three branches of the armies who fought for Singapore’s freedom.

In fact, soldiers from numerous countries fought for this cause, including those from Britain, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Canada, Malaya, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The approximately 24,300 names inscribed on the columns of Kranji War Memorial are those of the soldiers from all of those countries whose bodies were never found together with the words “They died for all free men”.

Kranji War Memorial is a beautiful yet haunting reminder of Singapore and neighbours the Kranji War Cemetery.

Getting to Kranji War Memorial

Kranji War Cemetery is 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore, on the north side of Singapore Island overlooking the Straits of Johore.

It is located just to the West of the Singapore-Johore road (Bukit Timah Expressway) on Woodlands Road, just to the south of the crossroads with Turf Club Avenue and Kranji Road. There is a short approach road from the main road.

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