Sime Road was named after after John Sime who was a Scotsman who supervised the laying out of the Bukit Timah golf course. The road leading to the course was named after John. He left Malaya just before the outbreak of WWII in 1937.
Air Force Headquarters were situated at Sime Road Camp until early December 1941. The camp then became British Army and Royal Air Force operational headquarters in Singapore. General Arthur Percival was Commanding Officer for the Malayan Campaign and ran military operations from this camp.
During the Japanese Occupation, British and European civilians were held at the internment camp. Amongst these essential service workers were not interned but put to work wearing arm bands to distinguish them.
Sime Road Camp By Unknown Artist
Families were split up as male and female genders, having separate compounds within the camp. The internees built St David’s Church in which Harry Foster made two vases out of gun shells.
The internees were allowed religious services, cultivating a vegetable garden and keeping the camp in good order. The Japanese did impose the building of the Syonan Jinja shrine in MacRitchie on some of the internees. The shrine was destroyed at the end of the war, but its ruins, can be found in the forested area surrounding the MacRitchie Reservoir.
In May 1944 Changi Internees were transferred to Sime Road to make room for PoWs returning from the Thailand-Burma Railway.
The children in Sime Road Camp did have schooling and in 1945 some boys and girls sat the Cambridge School Certificate Examination which was organized by Mr Cheeseman, six passed. At liberation there were 328 children in the camp.
The Union Jack was hoisted on 3rd September at Sime Road by Lady Thomas, wife of Sir Shenton Thomas who was Governer of the Straits Settlements before the war.
Lady Mountbatten visited Sime Road on the 10th September 1945, visiting the hospital. She had a very warm reception from the internees.
During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore there were 220 deaths of internees.
The ‘Freedom Fiver’ was given to the internees during the first month of liberation, but was met with mixed feelings. European internees received the full amount but the local internees only received half the amount, this caused some resentment.
In 2005 the Sime Road Camp was designated as a historic site by the National Heritage Board.
Harry Foster (Dr Nick Sutcliffe SFHEA)
Bishop of Singapore
Double Tenth Investigation (Handwritten by Harry Foster)
Angry Internees Protest (The Straits Times - 1945/09/17 )
Airman to His Mother (Found in Harry Foster’s possessions)
My sincere thanks to Nick Sutcliffe for giving me permission to use the information he posted to me, other information by Singapore Infopedia.