Changi Outer AMTB Battery, 1946
The first reference I can find to siting AMTB equipment in the Changi area is from 1928. Colonel Brackner, in his report following a survey for coast artillery positions, suggested that Anti-C.M.B. pom-poms be sited “on the shores of JOHORE POINT, TEKONG BESAR, and UBIN”. He also wrote, “It might be advisable therefore to site two more pom-poms at CHANGI Pt, the better to cover the whole channel”.
7. Should it be decided to install A/C.M.B defences at SINGAPORE, I make the following recommendations, which are based on a thorough reconnaissance and which fit in with the other close defence proposals.
( 2 - A/C.M.B. equipments at CHANGI SPIT.
( 2 – A/C.M.B equipments at TANJONG JAWA.
( 1 – A/C.M.B equipment at TANJONG BALAI.
( 1 – A/C.M.B equipment at BATU KEKEK.
With an illuminated area of nine lights as under:-
( 3 - 30° D.E.LS at CHANGI SPIT.
( 1 - 30° and 1 45° D.E.L. at TANJONG JAWA.
( 3 - 30° D.E.Ls. at TANJONG BALAI.
( 1 - 45° D.E.L. at BATU KEKEK.
By 1936, nothing had been done, and the Under Secretary of State in London wrote to to the G.O.C. Malaya. In the document was, “As we mentioned to the Treasury in para. 8 of our memo. of 28/2/36, the addition of Anti-C.M.B. Defences is under consideration. This proposal is on rather a stronger footing: the possibility of adding the Defences has always been in mind, but it is only recently that the Admiralty has formed a definite opinion that they are necessary.”.
A 1937 Map of AMTB Defences in the Changi Area
The map above shows an amended area for AMTB Defences, with the area covered by fixed beam D.E.L.s highlighted in yellow. The position on the left was constructed as Changi Inner, but a little to the west and south near where the swimming pool at Club CSC is today..
Two AMTB Batteries were constructed on the Changi Peninsula. Changi Outer (Palm) and Changi Inner (School). Outer was given the name Palm because of the many palm trees in the vicinity, and School as there was a school nearby. The location for Palm was approved in 1937. A handwritten programme for installation stated 1938/39. The Battery was built for, and would be equipped with two Twin 6-Pounder QF Guns. There would also be three D.E.L.s, 2 with 16° beams and one with a 30° beam. All the D.E.L.s being fixed. The advent of war in Europe put the supply of AMTB (and other) equipment back considerably, and it would be some time before AMTB batteries in the Changi area were armed. Indeed two batteries never received any armament at all, Changi Inner and Pulau Ubin. Ladang would only have a solitary 12-Pounder. Ladang would be the only AMTB battery to fire on the Japanese.
A signal, classified as Secret was went from the G.O.C. Malay to the War Office on 5 March 1941, contained, “Propose to site four 6 pdr A.M.T.B. equipments at Changi Outir (sic) one—calder harbour one—Berhala Reping two.” These four equipments were allocated to Singapore in January 1941. The gun marked for Changi Outer was listed as installed by 23rd March 1941. The second gun being installed not long before the start of the war in Malaya. However, work on the battery was never completely finished. On 15 Dec 1941, HQ Fixed Defences suspended the provision of overhead splinter cover for the Changi and Sphinx 6-Inch Batteries, but gave permission for such cover at AMTB Batteries stating, “..... but you will permit no work involving impediment to effective gunfire”. The overhead cover for the No.1 Gun was however, never installed, as can be seen in the photo at the top of the page.
The Battery never saw action and there is little mention in the War Diaries. An entry from 0940 on 1 Dec 41 states that, “OUTER No.1 Gun ready to fire over open sights only less calibration”. The Battery was spiked on the at 1900hrs on the 12th February 1942. A post war report stated that three of the 6-Pounder barrels remained and were beyond repair, one was missing. The No.1 Emplacement was undamaged, and the overhead cover of the No.2 was severely damaged, but the emplacement itself was serviceable. The No.1 Magazine was serviceable, but the No.2 completely destroyed. It was never re-armed, and later became a rest area for personnel at RAF Changi, being renamed as the ‘China Sea Beach Club’.