Occupation and post war years (1942-1960)
After the British surrender,
two Japanese officers, Lt-Col Numaguchi and Major Akiyama, was
sent to conduct a survey of all of Singapore's fortifications
as they were in February 1942. The Pengerang battery was covered
in their report where they noted that both the 6" guns and
18 pounders had been rendered unusable.
British command on the other hand were more in the dark about
Pengerang's true condition. Although the denial scheme had officially
reported that Pengerang's main guns had been destroyed, there
was no actual 1st hand information to confirm this, nor was there
any information as to the state of the actual gun emplacements.
The only confirmation they had was from a Royal Engineer officer
who had seen from afar, by way of optics, that Pengerang's guns,
"appeared to be damaged".
Beyond this they lacked vital information as to how intact Pengerang
overall remained and thus how easily it could be re-used by Japanese
In 1944-45, a small scale aerial survey was conducted by the British
that revealed considerable Japanese activity in the entire Pengerang
area. The Battery Observation Post (BOP) was even seen to still
be in place. From this, the British had to assume that the Pengerang
defended area had since been rearmed and brought back into full
A further intelligence report stated that up to April 1945 there
was in the area, 30 Japanese troops, 50 mixed troop, 12 police
and 300 army coolies. The report went on to state that there was
a oil dump, food stores, officers quarters and 4 batteries of
6 AA guns, and that no civilians were allowed near the area. An
independent source adds, there was even a possible Japanese radar
station at Kampung Pengerang, as well.
A further report then came in from the "Interservice Liaison
Department" (I.S.L.D), which quashed the previous estimated
troop strength from around only 400, now increased up to 1,600,
after Japanese landings had been observed in December 1944.
Any possible British plans for the re taking of Malaya and Singapore,
would have had to have factored in the threat of a Japanese held
Pengerang would have posed to any invading allied force.
Outside of British military reports there are also civilian accounts
of Pengerang under Japanese control. It was reported the Japanese
sent local workers to the Pengerang area to presumably work at
the already well established pre-war bauxite mines. The accounts
point to the harsh conditions under the Japanese resulting in
The Pengerang area also seemed to have had some anti Japanese
groups based there, including a Communist Party headquarters,
which was later tracked down and set fire to by the Japanese.
So far no reports have yet been found of any actual allied attacks
carried out on the Pengerang area during the time of the Japanese
occupation up to their surrender in 1945.
In 1946, a major survey was conducted by a Major Rice as to the
condition of Singapore's fixed defences, Pengerang was included
in this work. 70 years on, the report in question can today be
found in the National archives in London, but frustratingly, the
specific pages covering the Pengerang battery are missing from
within its covers!
In the decade after the war, it's apparent that Pengerang was
never brought back to any kind of operational condition as it
had been in the pre-war years. The HQ and gun emplacements remained
scrapped and abandoned on Bukit Pengerang, and locals were warned
not to enter the area as there was still a possible danger of
During the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), many British units were
stationed in and around Pengerang, tasked with hunting down communist
terrorists, as was the case for most of Malaya during those troubled
years. Whether any part of the former battery was used in any
way is not know.
When the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation
(Konfrontasi) flared up between 1963-1966, Pengerang
once again saw some limited action with some of its beaches becoming
landing points for Indonesian insurgents. I have found one report
of "hunters" in the area engaging one such insurgent
group near Tanjong Pengelih.