Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wong Chin Yoke - a war hero (Bukit Brown)

Today, 15th February 2012 is the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore and this article is timely. Mr Wong Chin Yoke ( Wong Chin Yok) is buried in Hill 4 Division A where the tall Sikh guards are located, has an interesting story alerted to me recently by a posting on facebook by Raymond Goh that he was a war hero, and that got me researching further.
Wong Chin Yoke

King's Police Medal 

A detective constable for many years, rising up the ladder from a grade 5 detective in 1921 to the rank of Inspector in 1928. In 1938, he was awarded the King's Police Medal (the highest honour for policeman) for his role in suppression of subversive organisations in the Special Branch (Political Intelligence). He played a huge role in the clean-up of communist in 1929 and 1933. The previous year, 1937, he was one of the recipients of the Coronation Medal.

A dent in his record 

In an accident in 1924, he accidentally shot his wife in the head. She died in the hospital and he was charged with causing death by a rash act. Six years later in April 19, 1930, Asiatic Inspector Wong Chin Yok remarried to Miss Kung Yu Cheng (alias Madam Keong Chai Haat / Keong Chai Ha ) at No 51 Kreta Ayer Road.

Wong Chin Yoke's tomb and photo

The Sikh Guards guarding Wong Chin Yoke's grave area
Fall of Singapore, betrayal and death
Wong Chin Yoke left with 10 men before the fall of Singapore in 1942 to Indonesia to start an underground resistance movement. He was betrayed and then caught and eventually killed by Japanese in 1943. His body was whisked away by a friend from the Japanese Military hospital and buried. 

11 years later, his remain were re-interned. The ashes of Mr Wong Chin Yoke was buried with full police honours in Bukit Brown on 21st September 1954. Among those present were his close friends, colleagues from the Special Branch, his wife and 2 daughters, Amy Wong Soo Chin and Wong Geok Chin.
Mdm Wong with her daughters mourning
over the ashes of Wong Chin Yoke
(source: NewspaperSG)
Police honor send off for Wong Chin Yoke
(on the right is his wife with hands covering her ears)
His family
Her wife and children during the war had to leave their house in Goodman Road and live in a small room in Emerald Hill. Struggling as a widow to bring up and educate 3 child, she also had  to content with the fact that their house was illegally squatter by someone else. She and her oldest daughter, Amy Wong sued successfully for the return of their family home in Goodman Road.

His son, Wong Cheng Siong died young (1937) and his buried beside him. His parents (father and mother, Tong Ah Ee, died April 7, 1957 age 91) are buried in the same row

In an obituary dated June 21, 1990 of Madam Kong Chai Sai who passed away at the age of 83. Listed are her deceased husband, Wong Chin Yoke, son : Wong Meo Kee, daughter-in-law: Sion Eng Eng , daughter: Amy Wong Soo Chin, Christine Wong Geok Chin,
son-in-law: Johnny Cheong Kim Lee, grandsons: Alan Wong Kwan Sing, Anthony Cheong Kwang Ming, Andrew Cheong Kwang Yang,  grand daughters: Diana Wong Chia Ling.
This means that the young boy buried beside him was not the only son. There is another son that survived him by the name of Wong Meo Kee who married Sion Eng Eng and had children by the names of Alan Wong Kwan Sing and Diana Wong Chia Ling.

Road named after policeman
There is road near Onreat Road called Wong Chin Yoke Road.  Both roads are name after prominent police  personalities during the British Colonial times. One of French descent (Rene Henry de Solminihac Onraet) was the Inspector-General and the other, chinese is the person you have been reading about !
His grave is not affected by the 8-lane road for now.

There are more war heroes in Bukit Brown. Tay Koh Yat comes to mind and his story was well described in a recent blog from a.t Bukit Brown and from an article i wrote about him previously.

Untitled. (1924, January 14).The Straits Times, page 8
Matters of Chinese Interest. (1930, April 30). The Singapore Free Press, page 12
CERTIFICATES OF HONOUR FOR NINE STRAITS SETTLEMENTS RESIDENTS. (1938, June 10). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942) Page 7
Coronation Medals for Malayans. (1937, May 26).Singapore Free Press
Fifteen Malayans in new honours. (1938, January 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 1
Mainly about Malayans. (1938, January 9). The Straits Times
War hero's ashes flown back to Singapore. (1954, September 20). The Straits Times
Colony police hero buried. (1954, September 22). The Straits Times
Tenant ordered to return house to he owners. (1965, June 19). The Straits Times

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