Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Chinese Volunteers Perished in Captivity (Chinese Memorial at Kranji War Memorial)

In one corner of the Kranji War Memorial is  Plot 44 Column 44,  a section for Chinese Memorial.  A recent visit there was spurred by recent connections of 1 of the person listed there to his father who is buried in Bukit Brown. This got me thinking there might be more relations. I was greeted by a standalone wall which reads;  The men whose names are recorded on these panels perished in captivity in February 1942 and lie buried here in one grave with ten comrades whose names are not known.

Perished in captivity as Prisoners of War ? Were this soldiers murdered or mortally wounded and eventually died after the fall of Singapore ? I am not sure at the moment and hopefully one day will find out what really happened and how they died. Most of their death dates were listed as from 18th February to 23th February 1942. What i have done next is to list the names from this wall and map it with additional information (such as the name of their spouse, mother or father if available) that i can find from the Casualty list information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Names who are familiar, i will slowly link it to blog post or below this article who this people are.

Straits Settlement Volunteer Force
Regimental Quartermaster Serjeant Lim Yap Puan (son of Tan Siew Kiow, of Singapore)
Serjeant Chia Tiang Bee (husband of Dorothy Taye, of Singapore)
Serjeant Yap Ewe Hai (husband of Woon Gee Mui, of Singapore)

Lance Serjeant Wee Kwee Hai (son of Boey Siew Kuanz,of Singapore)
Corporal Goh Boo Lat (husband of Gaw Cheng Neo, of Singapore)
Corporal Khor Jiak Yeong (husband of Sim Boon Kim, of Singapore)
Corporal Wee Leong Fook (son of Wee Kim Seng, of Singapore)
Corporal Yeo Ah Lek (husband of Tan Mui Kai, of Singapore)

Lance Corporal Goh Chin Kee (husband of Lim Chui Fong, of Singapore)
Lance Corporal Koh Chwee Choo (husband of Maria Tan, of Singapore)
Lance Corporal Leong Sek Him (husband of Cheung Lai Mun, of Singapore)
Lance Corporal Ong Tiang Seng (husband of Betty Ong, of Singapore) son of Ong Peck Hock
Lance Corporal Quek Eng Wah

Signalman Anthony Chee (son of Chee Keng Koon, of Singapore)
Signalman Aw Dick San (husband of Siew Ah Choo, of Kuala Lumpur)
Signalman Goh Tuan Juay (son of Goh Puay Lam, of Singapore)
Signalman Lim Pitt Mun (husband of Tan Mong Wha, of Singapore)
Signalman Song Yong Nam (husband of Chong Kuen Chow, of Singapore)

Private Boey Kim Heng (son of Chan Pin Ooi, of Singapore)
Private Boey Teng Poh (son of Yeo Seck Tin, of Paddington London) son of Boey Lian Sang
Private Chan Fook Yean (husband of Tan Lam Pin, of Singapore)
Private Chin Koon Poh (son of Chia Kim Wah, of Singapore)
Private Chua Ah Tee (son of Chan Ah Lek, of Singapore)
Private Daniel Teo Yong Chong (son of Teh Ah Huay, of Singapore)
Private Goh Tiang Moh (husband of Chan Geok Choo, of Singapore)
Private Henry Khoo Peng Hai (son of Khoo Tiang Hong, of Singapore)
Private John Peter Tan (son of Tan Ko Keng, of Singapore)
Private Koh Hee Thiam (husband of Wong Lai Kheng, of Singapore)
Private Lee Ah Yew (husband of Cheng Wai Han, of Singapore)
Private Liao Boon Leong (husband of Leong Sock Ying, of Singapore)
Private Lim Bock Chuan (husband of Ho Lai Yew, of Singapore)
Private Lim Cheng San (son of Ho Ah Moey, of Singapore) son of Lim Teck Kim
Private Lim Chye Teck  (son of Lee Ah Kim, of Singapore)
Private Lim Foong Siong (son of Lim Jie Joong, of Singapore)
Private Seah Thye Guan  (grandson of Ang Whay Huay, of Singapore)
Private Song Fook Nam
Private Tan Hock Nam (son of Lim Swee Ngoh, of Singapore)
Private Tan Hooi Kwang (son of Yap Mui Luen, of Singapore)
Private Tan Neo Teck (son of Tay Chuan Neo, of Singapore)
Private Tan Quee Leng (husband of Koh Hong Neo, of Singapore)
Private Teo Kim Tang (son of Teo Ching Seng, of Singapore)
Ten Unknown Chinese Malaya Volunteers

Singapore Civil Defence
Warden Choo Kim Seng
Warden Goh Seng Whatt
Warden Lee Ah John
Warden Lim Jee Leng
Warden Teo Kim Boon
Warden Wee Peng Hong
Mr. Wong Ah Soo

Royal Army Medical Corps
Private Lim Hood Tong (19 years old, son of Tan Sian Teck, of Singapore)
Private Tan Gek Cheng
Private Toon Foo Kheng (husband of Wong See, of Singapore)

Private Chia Haw Doong (son of Chia Yi Chiow, of Singapore)
Private Chua Chi Yiah
Private Tan Siew Chiw (son of Lim Yuet Kiew, of Ampat, Malacca)
Private Tay Mui Kiav(son of Tan, of Singapore)

Chinese Labour Corps
Private Chew Guan Seng (grandson of Tjah Peow Neo, of Singapore)

Royal Air Force
Aircraftman 1st Class Ng Fook Cheong (son of Cheong Ah Moi, of Singapore)
Aircraftman 2nd Class  Wong Say Gow (son of Low Choon Hoe, of Penang)

Stories from the memorial wall 

From a 1931 article, i found the pictures of then Lance Corporal Yap Yew Hai and the Private Chia Tiang Bee.
Yap Yew Hai and Chia Tiang Bee

From a 1941 article, i came across the picture of Lim Yap Puan who was with the Field Ambulance Volunteers.
Lim Yap Puan 

See also
Volunteer Soldiers buried in Bukit Brown - A journey of rediscovery. (posted on 26 July 2014)
Ho Siong Tong - a grave once lost is now found again (Wayang Satu Cemetery).(posted on 18 January 2017.

[research on-going]

Field Ambulance Volunteers. (1941, April 15). Malayan Tribune, page 3
Ton Tao Cup. (1931, February 21).Malayan Tribune, page 14

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Madam Tan Poh Choo (Bukit Brown)

A beautiful western style marble tomb in Hill 2 close to the tar road will definitely draw your attention. It is engraved in English in a unique cursive font. It is the tomb of Madam Tan Poh Choo who was born on the 8th December 1878 and departed this life on the 24th June 1927. This tablet is erected by her sons and daughters. The name of her sons are Wee Swee Chiang, Wee Teck Seng,Wee Cheng Seng, Wee Swee Seng  and daughter; Wee Siew Hoon. Madam Tan Poh Choo is buried in Hill 2 Division A, plot  52. Her age was listed as 52.

Unfortunately other than the above, i have no further details at the moment. However the tomb mason that erected this tomb was called Ravensway & Co.

Tomb of Madam Tan Poh Choo nee Mrs Wee

Marble Headstone of Madm Tan Poh Choo 

At the altar table, the tomb mason that did the work: Ravensway & Co. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Lee Ah Kow (Bukit Brown)

Lee Ah Kow passed away at the age of 34 on 24th June 1927. He is buried in Hill 2 Division A, plot 68. The tomb is decorated with beautiful decorative tiles. Initially i thought it was a tomb of lady by nature of the tiles used, but i was so wrong. There is no name of any children listed at his tomb.

Tomb of Lee Ah Kow 

Monday, April 06, 2020

Ravensway & Co. Undertaker and Monumental Mason

Many hotels and European houses have dining halls paved with white marble. This article features one of the company that is the memorial stone or monumental stone business, Ravensway & Co. Established in 1881, Messrs. Ravenway & Co. Singapore branch was located at 187 Orchard Road and they had a large stock of monuments, tombstones and marble materials. A staff of 50 masons were employed and the marble used comes from Ipoh, Perak from quarries which employ over 250 staff. The products are then exported to Singapore, Penang, Sumatra, Java, India and other parts of the east.

Jacob Cornelius Von Ravensway, a Dutch came to Singapore late 1850's, early 1860. Before that he was in Sumatra was connected with the tobacco industry. He came to Singapore when he was about 40 years old and was involved in tin and rubber. In 1881, he established the firm of Messrs Ravensway and Co, Singapore at 187 Orchard Road and had about 40 or 50 staff employed. In 1909, Jacob Cornelis van Ravensway sold his business of an Undertaker and Monumental Mason, formerly carried out at No 187, Orchard Road to Victor L. Neubronner. He then went on to take management of the Ipoh Marble Works. He the took over the management of the Ipoh Marble Works until 1917. He passed away in February 1919 at his residence in Anderson Road, Ipoh and is buried in Ipoh Cemetery.

Directory and Chronicle 1909 

Ipoh Marble Works

Coined as the only Marble factory in Malaya, it supplied demand in this region and in India. J.C Ravenway took management of the plant in 1909 and sold it eventually in 1917. The marble factory passed hands to the Charted Bank (for $10000) in 1924.

Commissioned works of Ravensway & Co 

The legacy and works of Ravensway & Co can still be seen in many works that exist today. I will update this article if i find more.

Marble base of tombstone of Y. Shibuya (Japanese Cemetery, Singapore) 

Y.Shibuya's tomb at the Japanese cemetery in Singapore

Y.Shibuya's tomb 

Tomb of Mr. Tan Boon Chin (used to be at Bidadari), but now at the Garden of Remembrance, 920 Old Choa Chu Kang Road.
Marble base of the tomb of Tan Boon Chin 

Tomb of Tan Poh Choo in Bukit Brown 

From the altar table of Tan Poh Choo

Diamond Jubilee Plaque for Queen Victoria 1897 ( Melaka) 
Diamond Jubliee Plaque for Queen Victoria 1897 (Melaka) -closeup 

Bronze statue of  Queen Victoria with base marble (Thailand)

Band at the Gardens. (1904, February 1). The Singapore Free Press, page 5
Death of Mr. Ravensway. (1919, February 19). The Singapore Free Press, page 9
Advertisement. (1909, August 28). The Singapore Free Press, page 2,_Fort_Canning_Green,_Singapore_-_20130401-03.jpg

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Relocated tombs from Heng San Teng (Kopi Sua Cemetery)

If you visit the Whitley Road Cemetery also colloquially known as Kopi Sua, there lies a cluster of tombs, each close to each other and each with only headstones. Many of this stones dates back to late 1800s and are from the Heng Sang Teng Cemetery at Silat Road where the Singapore General Hospital is now.  What is also interesting are jars that store skeletal remains of the exhumed dead are also visible in concrete container holding areas. The Heng San Teng temple and its public cemetery was established by Seet Hoot Keh (1793-1847) a prominent Hokkien. Born in Malacca, he made his wealth in tin mining before setting business in Singapore during the time when Singapore began to prosper as a British colony and port of call. In 1828, Seet Hoot Keh established the Heng San Teng temple. He eventually retired in Malacca and pass away in 1847. and is survived by 6 sons and 11 daughters. Among them are his grandson, See Ewe Lay (owner of the first Chinese paper, Lat Pau) and his great grandson, See Tiong Wah (Justice of Peace, campradore of the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, President of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and sits in Municipal Council that lead to the formation Bukit Brown Chinese Cemetery.

Thanks to Raymond Goh, he shared with me two articles giving me additional insight on what could have transpired. As far back as 1894 there was already talk about acquiring new burial land at Kopi Sua ( New Heng San Teng) of 20 acres or more. The second article date 1907 was even more specific as it was a call for descendants to claim the remains and tombstones of those moved from Heng San Teng to the new Heng San Teng in Toa Payoh within 6 months or else management will bury them.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Gay Hock Guan and family (Bukit Brown)

Gay Hock Guan was a staff of Messrs, Cheong Koon Seng and Co, the famous auction company during that period time. Gay Hock Guan  passed away on 17th December 1942 at the age of 46. The name of his children include sons; Gay Teng San, Gay Swee Beng, Gay Chwee Seng, daughters; Gay Swee Choo, Gay Choo Tee, Gay Hye Neo. Gay Hock Guan is buried in Hill 1 Section G, plot P35

Gay Hock Guan 

Beautiful tiled tomb of Gay Hock Guan

Gay Hock Seng (seated with red arrow pointed) taken at Cheong Koon Seng's company

Wife: Madam Gan Teo Eng
Madam Gan Teo Eng passed away at the age of 84 on 21st January 1985 and is survived by;
Sons: Gay Swee Beng, Gay Chwee Hock, Gay Teng San
Daughters: Gay Swee Choo, Gay Choo Tee, Gay Hye Neo
Son-in-law: Chew Kum Chong
Daughter-in-law: Patricia Lee
Grandchildren: David Quek, Ho Phua Peng, Ho Phua Hock, Ho Phua Wah, Ho Swee Yen, Chew Kok Keene, Chew Kok Wye, Elizabeth Gay, Arnold Gay, Bernard Gay, Christien Gay
Granddaughter-in-law: Mary Lim
Grandson-in-law: Vincent Leong
Great Granddaughter: Debbie Ho
Great Grandson: Derrick Leong

Deaths (1985, January 22). The Straits Times, page 38