Bukit Timah & Johore Bahru POW Work Parties


On 4th April 1942 2,800 AIF moved out of Selarang Barracks Changi to the Bukit Timah area in the vicinity of the MacRitchie Reservoir. The 2/4th were ordered to supply 300 men under the command of Major Alf Cough.
Lt Graham MacKinnon had left at 0900 hours with an advance party of 23 other ranks with rations and cooking utensils . The main body of AIF did not complete the march to Adam Park until late that evening at which time Major Cough was ordered to repot to Japanese HQ. He was told he must relocate his men with some of their officers to Johore Bahru the following morning.


Johore Bahru, or JB as it more commonly known, is the most southern province of Malaya and is connected to Singapore by the Causeway. It had been partially demolished by the British before the Battle of Singapore but had since been repaired by the Japanese.
Following the previous day’s march, many of the men particularly the footsore were thankful to be moved in trucks. The men were billeted in 2 large two-storied homes.
Their task was to construct a shrine to the dead from the Japanese Imperial Guards (Konoe) Division. The work at J.B. consisted of reclaimed some muddy ground, the setting up of a memorial garden and construction of the shrine. The 4 metre shrine has not survived the test of time, however the base still exists.
The base dimension were approximately 2.5 m X 4 m with a second base of proportionate smaller dimensions resting on the lower base.
The work at J.B. was relatively easy and the Japanese guards who accompanied them from Adam Park had been a congenial lot. They even located a piano and supplied transport to move it to one of the houses for the men’s entertainment in the evenings before lights out.
By 30th April 1942, 25 days after their arrival, all the work had been completed and the 2/4th returned to Adam Park Camp.