Friday, September 18, 2020

Yeo Chong Cheng (Bukit Brown)

Yeo Chong Cheng passed away on 16th May 1939 at the age of 41. He is survived by his son; Yeo Eng Peck, daughters; Nellie Yeo and Yeo Poh Choo. All the information including the province he is from matches the tomb nearby who is the tomb of his father, Mr. Yeo Ban Keng who passed away in 1936. Yeo Chong Cheng and Madam Tam Kum Eng were the executors of the late Yeo Ban Keng's estate. 

Yeo Chong Cheng


Father: Yeo Ban Keng
Yeo Ban Keng was that he was the joint proprietor of Messrs. Kim Hoe & Co. together with Seet Lian Saick. It was a Singapore firm which supply ships' stores from their office at 10, Boat Quay and since then have achieved considerable success as steamship agents, ships' chandlers, and Government contractors. Yeo Ban Keng went on to be the managing director of the Eastern Mining and Rubber Co. Ltd. Yeo Ban Keng was one of the founders of the Overseas Chinese Assurance Corporation together with the likes of Mr. Lim Nee Soon and S.Q Wong. Yeo Ban Keng served as director until the time of his death.
Yeo Ban Keng

Yeo Ban Keng passed away at the age of 75 at his residence No 17 Kim Yam Road on 19th July 1936. He leaves behind 2 widowes, Madam Tan Kum Eng and Madam Tan Un Eng, 1 son; Yeo Chong Cheng, 3 daughters; Yeo Hoe Seok, Yeo Ho Lian and Yeo Ho Lwee, 3 sons-in-law; Messrs. Lim Thiam Ek, Wee Siang Gin and Tan Teck Huat, 1 daughter-in-law; Tan Koon Neo, 2 grandsons; Yeo Eng Peck and Robert Lim and 3 granddaughters; Nellie Yeo, Molly Yeo and Wee Gwek Neo. 




Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Nyonya Seow Swee Oon (Bukit Brown)

This tomb caught my attention because its prominent use of the word Nyonya for the person buried at Bukit Brown. 

In loving memory 
of 
Nyonya Seow Swee Oon
Age 75 Years
Died on the 28th April 1930

Son: Tan Lian Siang
Daughter: Tan Kian Neo
Grandson: Oon Hoe, Hong Huat
Grand-daughter: Tan Baebe
Nyonya Seow Swee Oon

Location of tomb 
Nyonya Seow Swee Oon is buried in Hill 1 Division B, plot 152. From the burial registrar, her name is written as Seow Swee Hoon. The word Nyonya is omitted and likely honorific in nature but neverthless, it doesn't take away the fact this tomb is important as it is one of the rare tombs in Bukit Brown where the honorific word Nyonya is clearly seen and used. 
Tomb of Nyonya Seow Swee Oon at Bukit Brown

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Yeo Ban Keng (Bukit Brown)

Early records that i could trace of Yeo Ban Keng was that he was the joint proprietor of Messrs. Kim Hoe & Co. together with Seet Lian Saick. It was a Singapore firm which supply ships' stores from their office at 10, Boat Quay and since then have achieved considerable success as steamship agents, ships' chandlers, and Government contractors. Yeo Ban Keng went on to be the managing director of the Eastern Mining and Rubber Co. Ltd. Yeo Ban Keng was one of the founders of the Overseas Chinese Assurance Corporation together with the likes of Mr. Lim Nee Soon and S.Q Wong. Yeo Ban Keng served as director until the time of his death. 

Yeo Ban Keng

Yeo Ban Keng passed away at the age of 75 at his residence No 17 Kim Yam Road on 19th July 1936. He leaves behind 2 widowes, Madam Tan Kum Eng and Madam Tan Un Eng, 1 son; Yeo Chong Cheng, 3 daughters; Yeo Hoe Seok, Yeo Ho Lian and Yeo Ho Lwee, 3 sons-in-law; Messrs. Lim Thiam Ek, Wee Siang Gin and Tan Teck Huat, 1 daughter-in-law; Tan Koon Neo, 2 grandsons; Yeo Eng Peck and Robert Lim and 3 granddaughters; Nellie Yeo, Molly Yeo and Wee Gwek Neo. 

The executors of the late Yeo Ban Keng's estate were Tam Kum Eng and Yeo Chong Cheng 






Kim Yan Road and Property Purchases
Yeo Ban Keng was reported making a number of purchases in 1925 and 1930. The land houses include those in No 5 and No 7 Lermit Road, many houses along Pasir Panjang Road, freehold land at No 30 Kim Yam Road, known as "Annam Bank", 43 North Bridge Road Quay and 23 River Valley Road. 




Going through the old city map of Singapore, some interesting possible connections can be made from the former residence (last recorded residence based on obituary notice) of Yeo Ban Keng at No 17 Kim Yan Road as well as the location of "Annam Bank"of 30 Kim Yan Road. No 17 Kim Yan Road rings a bell and the location of the old map when compared to the latest map suggest that it the possible location of the Buddhist Lodge. (The Buddhist Lodge at Kim Yan Road). If anyone has confirmation of this, do drop a comment. 
No 17, 19 and 30 Kim Yan Road


Could this be No 17 Kim Yan Road and once former house of Yeo Ban Keng ?
(this photo when taken by Lee Kip Lin was the Buddhist Lodge (source: PictureSG) 


Location of tomb
The tomb of Yeo Ban Keng is located at Block 1 Section B, plot 198
Yeo Ban Keng
Tomb of Yeo Ban Keng at Bukit Brown


References
Advertisements. (1923, December 4). The Straits Times, page 14
Advertisements. (1923, December 4). The Straits Times, page 14
Property Sales.(1925, April 11). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Property Sales.(1930, July 28). Malaya Tribune, page 3
Domestic Occurrence. Death. (1936, July 21). Malaya Tribune, page 10
Advertisements. (1937, March 23). The Straits Times, page 2
Singapore Buddhist Lodge, at Kim Yam Road, 1982 : exterior [1].(website).PictureSG, National Library


Friday, September 11, 2020

Khoo Koon Liat and family (Bukit Brown)

Khoo Koon Liat passed away at the age of 47 at his residence, No 222 Onan Road on 18 November 2604 (1944) leaving behind his wife, Madam Kho Siam Neo, 2 sons, Khoo Teng Kim, Khoo Tian Soo, 2 daughters, Nancy Khoo (Khoo Paw Neo), Nellie Khoo (Khoo Lee Neo) and 1 son-in-law, Quek Keng Siang. On his tomb, 1 grandchild name was etched, Khoo Quek Poh Huat.

Khoo Koon Liat

Family 
Wife: Madam Kho Siam Neo  / Monica Khoo / Mrs. Khoo Koon Liat
Madam Kho Siam Nee alias Monica Koh passed away at the age of 89 on 1st July 1992. She is survived by sons,  Khoo Teng Kim, Khoo Thian Soo, daughters; Khoo Paw Neo, Nancy, Khoo Nelly; sons-in-law; Quek Keng Siang, See Yew Kah, daughters-in-law; Lim Chwee Neo Shirley (deceased), Ang Huat Neo, Alice. 
Grandsons: Khoo Keng Swee Spencer, Quek Poh Huat, Edmund, Quek Poh Chye Colin, 
Granddaughters-in-law: Florence Chia, Patricia Sim, Cynthia Seow, 
Granddaughters: Anglea Khoo Chye Hua, See Lay Wah, Patricia, See Lay Geok, 
Gtandsons-in-law; Philip Bernard Saram, Erwin Tong
Great grandsons and great granddaughters; Ian Quek, Shaun Quek, James Nicholas Saram, Denise Khoo, Liesl Khoo, Kimberly Quek, Shanon Quek, Tamsyn Elizabeth Tong.
The cortege left from 26 Yarrow Gardens, off Siglap Road.
Kho Siam Neo nee Monica Kho
Madam Kho Siam Neo nee Monica Kho



Son: Khoo Teng Kim
Khoo Teng Kim passed away at the age of 71 on 21 September 1992. He is survived by his son, Spencer Khoo Keng Swee and daughter-in-law, Florence Chia and grand daughters; Denise Khoo and Lisel Khoo. The cortege left from 26 Yarrow Gardens, off Siglap Road. Mrs. Khoo Teng Kim nee Shirley Lim Chwee Neo passed away at the age of 62 on 12 March 1988.
Khoo Teng Kim


Son: Khoo Tian Soo  / Augustine Khoo Thian Soo
Augustine Khoo Thian Soo passed away at the age of 75 on 31 May 2009. He is survived by his wife, Alice Ang Huat Neo, daughter, Angela Khoo Chye Hua, son-in-law; Philip Bernard Saram and grandchildren; James Nicholas Saram, Jessica Clare Saram, Sarah Jacqueline Saram


Daughter: Khoo Paw Neo / Nancy Khoo nee Mrs. Quek Keng Siang
The engagement took place on 21st October 1944 (2604) between Mr. Quek Keng Siang (eldest son of Mr. anf Mrs. Quek Cheng San) and Miss Khoo Paw Neo (eldest daughter of Mr, and Mrs. Khoo Khoon Liat). Marriage will take place on 4th November 1944. 

Mr. Quek Keng Siang passed away at the age of 86 on 12 March 2005. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Khoo Paw Neo and sons; Quek Poh Huat, Quek Poh Chye, Colin, 
Daughters-in-law, Sim Peck Choo, Patricia, Seow Leng Keow, Cynthia
Grandchildren; Quek Bee Kim, Kimberly, Quek Bee Loon, Shannon, Quek Yik Oon, Ian, Quek San Oon, Shaun
Quek Keng Siang



Daughter: Khoo Lee Neo / Nellie Khoo / Khoo Nelly nee Mrs See Yew Kah
Engagement was announced on 6th October 1949 between Khoo Lee Neo (Nellie), (youngest daughter of Mrs. Khoo Kon Liat and the late Mr. Khoo Koon Liat) and Mr. See Yew Kah (second son of Mr and Mrs. See Bok Poon). 
Khoo Nelly passed away at the age of 81 on 20 June 2004. She is surived by her husband, See Yew Kah, daughters; Patricia See Lay Wah and See Lay Geok, 1 son-in-law; Erwin Tong and 1 granddaughter;Tamsyn Tong. 
See Yew Kah passed away at the age of 93 on 25 May 2009. 




Location of tomb 
Khoo Koon Liat's tomb is located at Hill 3 Section D, plot 1142 (nearby Kwek Mui Seng tomb and below Ong Sam Bee tomb)
Khoo Koon Liat
Tomb of Khoo Koon Liat



References
Death. (1944, November 20). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Advertisement. (1949, October 6). The Straits Times, page 6

Friday, September 04, 2020

Lim Teck Whee (Bukit Brown)

 Lim Teck Whee is a son of Lim Liak and brother of Lim Teck Ghee. Lim Tech Whee passed away in 1884 and was initially buried in the family land in Tiong Bahru area. The 1884 tomb was re-interred in Bukit Brown from Tiong Bahru in 1928 after the family land was acquired by the Municipal Government . The precious picture below shows the tomb of Mr. Lim Teck Whee being visited by his descendants. Another thing to note is how clear the background behind the tomb is with few trees to block the view of Hill 2 of Bukit Brown. One last gem to note is the vehicle that is parked on the road behind the tomb. From the descendant (Mr. Lim Soonhoe) who kindly allowed me to use the picture , i found out it was known as a "Mosquito Bus". I will come to that later.

Lim Teck Whee's tomb in Bukit Brown
Lim Chin Chye (seated with pith hat) and his son, Lim Bock Chwee (4 year boy seated with pith hat) 
(photo courtesy of Lim Soon Hoe, great grandson of Lim Chan Siew, grandson of Lim Chin Chye )


Wife: Wee Watt Neo
Wee Watt Neo passed away at the age of 82 at 49, Tiong Bahru, off Sit Wah Road. She leaves behind 2 sons, Lim Chan Sin and Lim Chan Siew, 3 daughters, 28 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. From Geni.com, Wee Watt Neo's husband is Lim Teck Whee.  She was buried in the Seh Lim cemetery probably in Alexandra area. After the land was redeveloped for housing, Wee Watt Neo's remains together with many other Lim family members were relocated to Choa Chu Kang Cemetery. That area was also recently affected by Tengah airbase expansion and once again the remains exhumed and relocated. 

Original Burial Ground 
Lim Teck Whee was buried on a Tiong Bahru land (9 acres and 7 poles) that has 2 graves on the property as well as a brick and tiled house. The land was once owned by his father, Mr. Lim Liak / Lim Leack) who died some years ago and now the land is in the property of his grandson and nephew.  (namely Lim Chan Sin and Lim Chin Chye (son of Lim Chan Siew). The other tomb belongs to Lim Liak's mother-in-law, Madam Chan Kiam Soon (1790-1863), whose daughter, Yeo Im Neo married Mr. Lim Liak. 

1924 and 1954 map of Tiong Bahru (Mukim 1, Lot 185)


Madam Chan Kiam Soon (mother-in-law of Mr. Lim Liak

Lim Teck Whee tomb



Mosquito Bus
Mosquito Bus is a small, seven-seater motor bus commonly seen on Singapore roads in the 1920s and 1930s.The mosquito buses were modified American cars, and the most favoured chassis was Ford’s Model T. The demand for this buses came from a time in the early 1920s where Singapore’s population was growing rapidly and larger number of people are living outside the city where public transport is lacking and hence this buses appeared to fill the gaps. 
 
Mosquito Bus
Mosquito Bus (source: Natioal Archives, Singapore)

Location of tomb 
Thanks to the sleuthing by Raymond Goh, this tomb was located in 2013 after fig vines were cut to reveal the the beautiful tomb of Lim Teck Whee. The tomb is located at Hill 2 Division G, Plot No 199,200 and 201

Lim Teck Whee's tomb in Bukit Brown

References
Lim Teck Whee. (website). Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Lim Liak's mother Mdm Chan Kiam Soon.(website)Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Lim Liak's family at Lim Cemetery, Alexandra Road. (website). Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Most Extraordinary Figure. (1927, February 16). The Singapore Free Press, page 20
Mosquito Bus. (website). Infopedia, National Library
Location of 2 tomb. Facebook sharing between Raymond Goh, Charles Goh and Lim Soon Hoe

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Tiled Bench of Lao Sua (Greater Bukit Brown)

My first encounter with this pair of tiled bench was many years ago and i also featured and documented it in my blog article (May 2013) on tombs that have benches or seating structures.  We did our best to clear it up but efforts were just purely for documenting then. It was in 2019 that with the efforts of the supporters and volunteers of the Singapore Heritage Tile Project, the tomb and tiles was cleaned and  repaired and what a wonderful gem it has turned to be. It was made possible by the many volunteers who came from all walks of life and nationalities to help clean up this double tomb and i must say it was very tough work, but eventually it was revealed to the press (Straits Times 21 October 2019) and has become a Brownies free guided tour destination where we bring people on tours to Lao Sua or Greater Bukit Brown (before Circuit Breaker happened). This tomb with the decorative tile benches are indeed rare and i hope they can be enjoyed by many in-situ for many years and eventually conserved as well. 

After the big clean-up

Tiled benched tomb (after clean-up)


Tiled Bench -taken on 24th Feb 2013 (Before clean up -actually we cleaned up 1 of the bench)

Photo of tile bench after clean up (Photo by Brice Li)

Transfer Print Tiles from London (likely Minton)

The occupants of the tomb
Until today we are unable to determine for sure the relationship between the the two ladies (Madam Teo Tuan Neo and and Madam Le Pang Neo). We know their names, age and death date as inscribed in the tomb. The mystery is understanding their relationship and who their families are. 
Teo Tuan Neo
Born 3rd March 1877  Died, 17th October 1913 Age 37 years
Lee Pang Neo
Born 39th October 1849 Died 5th November 1913 Aged 65 years
  
Madam Teo Tuan Neo and Madam Lee Pang Neo


Madam Teo Tuan Neo and Madam Lee Pang Neo

Volunteers and tour participants 
Below are the people who help clean up the tomb as well as the organiser of the clean up, Jennifer Lim (standing in the middle). The final picture shows one of the first public tour organised that lead to this tomb.
Singapore Heritage Tiles Project (Jennifer Lim and some of the volunteers) (source: Straits Times)


In the process of tiding up (photo by Uncle Foo)


Bukit Brown Free Tour and Participants



References 
Teo Tuan Neo and Lee Pang Neo. (website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Benches in Bukit Brown. (website). Rojak Librarian, posted on 22 May 2013
History lessons in tiles from a cemetery. Melody Zaccheus.(online).Straits Times.(Premium), published 21 October 2019






Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Lim Chan Sin (Bukit Brown)

Lim Chan Sin is the son of Lim Teck Whee and grandson of Lim Liak (Lim Leack). Lim Chan Sin was a cashier for the Sandilands, Buttery & Co. Sandilands Buttery and Co. Ltd. was one of the earliest British trading firms that was founded by Scottish merchant adventurers George MacFarlane Sandilands and Francis Currie Lorrain, and originally named Lorrain Sandilands and established in Penang (1854–55) and subsequently in Singapore (1856). The firm’s name was changed to Sandilands Buttery when John Buttery of Glasgow, Scotland, became a partner.

Lim Chan Sin passed away on 9th May 1934 at the age of 63
Sons: Lim Lye Seng, Lim Ban Seng,Lim Peng Seng
Daughters: Lim Say Neo, Lim Chye Neo, Lim Kim Neo, Lim Kim Luan, Lim Poh Neo, Lim Choo Neo, Lim Cheng Tee Neo,
Grandson: Lim Hock Siew
Granddaughter: Lim Cheok Tee Neo

Lim Chan Sin
Lim Chan Sin


Wife: Khoo Yang Neo 
Lim Chan Sin married Khoo Yang Neo (sister of Khoo Seok Wan and daughter of Khoo Cheng Tiong). In the obituary notice of Madam Yeo Geok Keng (wife of the late Khoo Cheng Tiong) is the mother of Khoo Siok Wan alias Khoo Teck Hin, Khoo Teck Siong and Khoo It Sim and mother-in-law of Messrs. Lim Chan Sin, See Tiong Wah, M.C., J.P., Tay Boon Tat and Ong Keng Yong. 



Mother: Wee Watt Neo
Wee Watt Neo passed away at the age of 82 at 49, Tiong Bahru, off Sit Wah Road. She leaves behind 2 sons, Lim Chan Sin and Lim Chan Siew, 3 daughters,28 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. From Geni.com, Wee Watt Neo's husband is Lim Teck Whee. (Lim Teck Whee is the son of Lim Liak)

Brother: Lim Chan Siew (林纘綬 )
Lim Chan Siew (林纘綬 ) is the son of Lim Teck Whee and grandson of Lim Liak (Lim Leack). Lim Chan Siew passed away at the age of 55 at his residence, No 196-2 Tiong Bahru Road on 23 July 1931. He is survived by his widow and 5 sons; Lim Chin Chye (alias Bachik), Lim Eng Chiang, Lim Ong Seng Lee (alias Charlie Ong), Lim Eng Hock and Lim Eng Chye (Harry); Daughter: Lim Teo Sek Neo
Grandson: Lim Bock Chwee, Daughter-in-law and 1 grandson. 
 
Location of tomb 
Lim Chan Sin is buried in Hill 3 Division C, plot 158


References
Sandilands Buttery and Co. Ltd. (website). Infopedia, National Library
Lim Chan Sin. (website). Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Lim Chan Siew (Bukit Brown)

Lim Chan Siew (林纘綬 ) is the son of Lim Teck Whee and grandson of Lim Liak (Lim Leack). Lim Chan Siew passed away at the age of 55 at his residence, No 196-2 Tiong Bahru Road on 23 July 1931. He is survived by his widow and 5 sons; 
Lim Chin Chye (alias Bachik), Lim Eng Chiang, Lim Ong Seng Lee (alias Charlie Ong)
Lim Eng Hock and Lim Eng Chye (Harry)
Daughter: Lim Teo Sek Neo
Grandson: Lim Bock Chwee
Daughter-in-law and 1 grandson.
Penang, K.L and Malacca papers please copy.

From Geni.com, the wife of Lim Chan Siew is Madam Ong Sek Kim. Her tomb is located next to her husband. In my research i found another lady by the name of Madam Ong Siok Oh who passed away at the age of 68 at her residence 28 Everton Road on 31 January 1941. She is survived by 4 adopted sons, Messrs. Lim Ong Seng Lee (Charlie), Lim Eng Chiang, John Lim and Harry Lim,. She is the aunty of Mr. Lim Chin Chye. Madam Ong Siok Oh is buried in Bukit Brown Cemetery. [Although the obituary notice states 4 adopted sons, Madam Ong Siok Oh adopted only Messrs. Lim Ong Seng Lee (Charlie) ] . Madam Ong Siok Oh is buried in Hill 4 Section A, plot 1258.
 
Lim Chan Siew
Lim Chan Siew's tomb (photo from 1931 /1932). Lim Chin Chye (seated with pith hat) and his son, Lim Bock Chwee (4 year boy seated with pith hat)
(photo courtesy of Lim Soon Hoe, great grandson of Lim Chan Siew, grandson of Lim Chin Chye and son of Lim Bock Chwee)



Land in Tiong Bahru 
From a court case, we get insight on a Tiong Bahru land (9 acres and 7 poles) that has 2 graves on the property as well as a brick and tiled house. The land was once owned by a well-known chinese gentleman by the name of Mr. Lim Lee Ack  (Lim Liak / Lim Leack) who died some years ago and now the land is in the property of his grandson and nephew.  (namely Lim Chan Sin and Lim Chin Chye (son of Lim Chan Siew). The were claims that it was worth $65,000 while the Municipal Assessor $27,000. The final judgment came to $55,000. As for the 2 tombs or graves on the property, the graves are the tombs Lim Teck Whee and his maternal grandmother, Madam Chan Kiam Soon (1790-1863), whose daughter, Yeo Im Neo married Mr. Lim Liak. 

Family 

Mother: Wee Watt Neo
Wee Watt Neo passed away at the age of 82 at 49, Tiong Bahru, off Sit Wah Road. She leaves behind 2 sons, Lim Chan Sin and Lim Chan Siew, 3 daughters,28 grandchildren and many great grandchildren. From Geni.com, Wee Watt Neo's husband is Lim Teck Whee. (Lim Teck Whee is the son of Lim Liak)

Brother : Lim Chan Sin
Lim Chan Sin passed away on 9th May 1934 at the age of 63
Sons: Lim Lye Seng, Lim Ban Seng,Lim Peng Seng
Daughters: Lim Say Neo, Lim Chye Neo, Lim Kim Neo, Lim Kim Luan, Lim Poh Neo, Lim Choo Neo, Lim Cheng Tee Neo, 
Grandson: Lim Hock Siew
Granddaughter: Lim Cheok Tee Neo
 
Son: Lim Eng Chye / Lim Eng Chye Harry
The engagement took place on 7 July 2605 (1945) between Mr. Lim Eng Chye (Harry) , brother of Mr. Lim Chin Chye, youngest son of the late Mr. & Mrs. Lim Chan Siew to Miss Tan Guat Eng, youngest daughter of Madam Seow Chwee Neo (alias Chwee) and the late Mr.Tan Beng Tiong. 

Location of Tomb 
Lim Chan Siew is buried in Hill 3 Division B, plot 821


[research on-going]

References
Death. (1924, July 26). The Straits Times, page 8
Most Extraordinary Figure. (1927, February 16). The Singapore Free Press, page 20
Domestic Occurrences. Death. (1931, July 23). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Domestic Occurrences. Death (1941, January 31). Malaya Tribune, page 8
Advertisement. (1945, July 11). Syonan Shimbin, page 2
Lim Chan Siew 林纘綬.(website).Singapore Tombstones Epigraphic Materials 新加坡墓碑铭集录
Lim Chan Siew. (website). Geni.com
Oral Interview with Lim Soon Hoe. ( the 2 tombs on property)


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The "forgotten" Japanese War Memorial at Mount Pleasant

It started off with a walk at Kopi Sua (at the Mount Pleasant side) and as we were exploring Onraet Road, we came across the tomb keepers who tend to the cemetery there. Our conversation led to them asking me whether i was aware that there was a mass grave for Japanese soldiers nearby Onraet Road? We knew that Mount Pleasant was the scene of an intense skirmish that took place on 14th February 1942 just before Singapore surrendered but I didn't really know much about the stories that took place in the area, especially post-surrender and beyond. The tomb keeper claimed that they have seen it in a forested area between the Onraet Road and the black and white white houses of Mount Pleasant and pointed to us the rough location. We searched the valley of forested area (see red circle in the picture below) for a while but left empty handed without any evidence of any man-made structure that existed that could be symbolic of this so-called mass graves for the fallen Japanese soldiers. Since then i have been wondering whether there was any truth to this story as unlikely the tomb keepers would pull a fast one when it came to stories like this. 

Onraet Road
Onraet Road walk 

Mass grave of 76 Japanese Soldiers & partially destroyed Memorial

In a 27 June 1948 newspaper article it was mentioned that the Graves Registration, FARELF (Far East Land Forces) resumed the search for the unknown graves from information obtained through P.O.W records and local sources. On the first day of operation, they found the body of a captain of the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in a private garden at Mount Pleasant. His boots, forage cap, tags and other marks of identification were discovered. Within the same compound, about 100 yards (91 meters) from where the grave of the captain was discovered, is a mass grave which contains the corpses of 76 Japanese soldiers. A concrete memorial that was partially destroyed by American soldiers after the liberation was erected beside the mass grave by the Japanese. The story goes that the Japanese soldiers were the war dead after a heavy fighting that happened in Mount Pleasant in an attempt to dislodge the entrenched British soldiers. The bodies of 76 Japanese soldiers were gathered from around the compound of the Mount Pleasant Houses and in areas nearby and buried in this mass grave. The Graves Registration Unit mentioned that the mass grave will not be disturbed. (Does it mean also that the remains of this Japanese soldiers were not exhumed and still remains in-situ till today? )

corpses of 76 Japanese soldiers

The 1948 article finally proves that there was indeed a Japanese Memorial built and that memorial was for 76 Japanese soldiers that died in an intense battle to overwhelm the entrenched British and taking over their makeshift H.Q at Mount Pleasant. Who was this Captain that was clearly identified to be from the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, whose remains were exhumed and re-interred to Kranji? With a bit of searching and luck, i found that it is likely to be a Captain Robert Watson of the 9th Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (RNF) whose burial form records by Padre Cordingly (Captain Eric Cordling, a padre with the 9th RNF) played a vital role in finding his body. Captain Watson was killed in action on 15th February 1942, the day of the British surrender and initially buried on the 16th February 1942 by Lt. Addy of the 9th Battalion in the garden of a house. That house was 159 Mount Pleasant Road

If this information is correct, the remains (if any remains still exist) of the 72 Japanese War Dead and its memorial would be in the grounds of 159 Mount Pleasant or 100 yards or about 91 meters away from it. I also tried looking at the aerial photos of British Royal Air Force around the area taken in 1946, but not surprisingly i am not able to spot anything yet.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record of Captain Robert Watson

Temporary H.Q. at 160 Mount Pleasant Road
In a 25 June 1948, the remains of 8 British soldiers who were killed in 1942 were exhumed and re-interred in Kranji. In the newspaper article, it was mentioned that the graves were located in the grounds of 160, Mount Pleasant Road, a bombed house, which was a temporary Army H.Q. 

What happened here on 14th /15th February 1942 
The book Tigers in the Park - The Wartime Heritage of Adam Road ( by Jon Cooper) gave valuable insight into what transpired here. In Chapter 17 of his book  (The Defence of Mount Pleasant), it describes a heavy engagement to dislodge a Japanese machine gun unit that had pushed up into the vacant houses in the valley adjoining the houses held by the British. Attempts by the British to flank and flushed them out were met with heavy resistance and casualties. Eventually a 2-pounder anti-tank gun was used at the building housing the Japanese until eventually the remaining Japaneses soldiers retreated.  "Hospital Hill" along Mount Pleasant Ridge was the other objective to be taken by the Japanese 41st Regiment. A Captain Taruko lead 11th Company on the attack across the valley and up the houses. He was supported by the heavy machine gun company under the command of 2 Lt. Yasuda. The Japanese were moving up into a "kill zone" zeroed in by British soldiers with Vickers machine gun on higher ground and having clear visibility of the advancing Japanese soldiers. Many were killed and maybe ended up at the mass grave for Japanese soldiers. From the book, you will also see a Sgt. Miyakubo of the 41st Regiment who took photos of the surroundings of some of the houses in Mount Pleasant just after the surrender of Singapore including house No. 166 Mount Pleasant which was damaged as result of the skirmishes.

To visit the houses in Mount Pleasant, i would need permission. But who knows, one day i may get permission to access and look for the exact location were the memorial used to be. If you have more information and details, feel free to add a comment below.  


[research on-going] 


References

Remains of 8 U.K. soldiers discovered. (1948, June 25). The Singapore Free Press, page 1
War Graves Team Makes more finds. (1948, June 27). Sunday Tribune
Captain Robert Watson. (website). CWGC  (Last accessed 25 August 2020)
Captain Robert Watson. (website). Wartime Memorial Project-The Second War
Tigers in the Park - The Wartime Heritage of Adam Road ( by Jon Cooper) , pages 185-188



Additional Resources

1) WW2 Archaeology dig at No. 159 Mount Pleasant 


2) Video from Japanese perspective WW2 



Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tan Sin How and family (Bukit Brown)

Mrs. Tan Sin How nee Madam Seow Goh Neo passed away at the age of 67 on 23 May 1945 at her residence, No. 25 Chapel Road. She leaves behind 2 sons, Tan Swee Hee and Tan Chiang Hin, 1 daughter-in-law,Mrs. Tan Swee Hee, 1 daughter, Lily Tan (on the tomb, Tan Lee Neo), 1 prospective son-in-law, Lim Peng Swee and one grand-daughter, Alice Tan. Tan Sin How passed away at the age of 50 on 24 February 1926 at No. 42 Neil Road. He leaves behind a widow (2 sons; Mr. Tan Swee Hee and Tan Charlie). 

Mrs. Tan Sin How nee Madam Seow Goh Neo
Madam Seow Goh Neo

Obituary notice of Mrs. Tan Sin How

Family
Son: Tan Swee Hee 
Tan Swee Hee was an hon.secretary in 1934 and for many years of the Singapore Chinese Exchange Broker's Association whose premise was at South Canal Road. Tan Swee Hee went on to be the Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Tan Swee Hee & Co. Ltd. Tan Swee Hee passed
away at the age of 81 on 7th December 1978. He is survived by his wife, Madam Lim Choo Neo, only daughter, Alice Tan, son-in-law; George Lee Eng Koon, 2 grand daughters; Mrs. Linda Lee Goh and Miss Lydia Lee, granadson-in-law; Francos Goh Tien Kee and only grandson-in-law, Alexander Mark Goh. 
Tan Swee Hee

Tan Swee Hee & Co Ltd, was one of Singapore's oldest money broking firms. It finally obtained an international money-broking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore after its tie-up with a London-based subsidiary of Sime Darby, the Guy Butler Group. The new venture company is called Tan Swee Hee-Butler Pte Ltd. 

Grand-daughter: Alice Tan nee Alice Tan Lay Cheng nee Mrs. Alice Lee. 
Miss Alice Tan Lay Cheng (daughter of Mr. and Mrs Tan Swee Hee) married Mr. George Lee Eng Koon (nephew of Mr. Lee Tian Seck anf Mrs. Lee). More than 200 guest attended a dinner dance on 21st January 1950 at Mr. Lee's residence at Tembeling Road. Madam Alice Tan passed away on 28 June 1985 leaving behind her mother, Mrs. Tan Swee Hee, husband, George Le, daughters, Linda Lee Goh, Lydia Lee Willocks, son-in-law, Francis Goh, George Willocks, grandchildren, Alexander Mark Goh, Anthony Lee Goh, Lee Willocks, Gemma Willocks . Cortege left from 25 Chapel Road.

Alice Tan nee Alice Lee


25 Chapel Road 
The house at 25 Chapel Road was bought by Tan Swee Hee in 1932 for $12,000 and from the article dated 2010 in an interview of the grandchildren of Tan Swee Hee (sisters; Linda Lee and Lydia Lee) recall that the single-storey bungalow originally had 2 bedrooms. One used by their grandparents (Tan Swee Hee) and the other shared by their parents and them ( George Lee Eng Koon and Alice Tan). The extension was added later on. In 2008, the house was given a $.7 million makeover after the death of Mr. George Lee. 
25 Chapel Road Bungalow
25 Chapel Road in 1993. Photo by Lee Kip Lin (source: PictureSG)

URA described this pre-war Anglo-Malay style bungalow as one built on piers above ground as guard against flooding. The veranda (serambi) is in front followed by the house core (rumah ibu) and the kitchen (dapur) at the back. 

25 Chapel Road
25 Chapel Road (source: URA)


25 Chapel Road
25 Chapel Road (source: URA)

42 Neil Road 
Interestingly during the time period of 1925-1926, 42 Neil Road was the house where Seow Tiang Quee, Compradore Netherlands Trading Society passed away at the age of 75 on 22 February 1925. He is survived by a widow, 2 sons, 3 daughters, 15 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. He is buried in Bukit Brown.  Is Seow Tiang Quee the father of Madam Seow Goh Neo ?  (i am not sure at the moment until we find the tomb of Seow Tiang Quee and see the names of the children).  House No 42 Neil Road was later renumbered after 1945 as No. 75 Neil Road )


Location of Tomb 
Tan Sin How is buried in Hill 1 Division B, plot 174 and Madam Seow Goh Neo, plot 175
Tan Sin How
Mr and Mrs Tan Sin How

[research on-going]

References
Births, Marriages and Deaths. (1926, February 24). Malaya Tribune, page 6
Advertisement. (1945, May 23). Syonan Shimbun, page 2
Advertisement. (1946, June 4). Malaya Tribune, page 5
Wedding Party. (1950, January 22). The Straits Times, page 9 
Family home restored. (2010, October 9). Straits Times, page 9
A secret hideaway. (website). The Long and Winding Road
25 Chapel Road.(website). RichardHO Architects