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XXX Restricted Access @ MyQueenstown #7 - Farewell Ayer Rajah Camp (Part I)

By my queenstown on Sunday, November 14, 2010 with 1 comment



Tucked at the fringes of Portsdown Road, there is one institutional complex making its way out of Queenstown quietly. It did not possess the glamorous X-factor like Tah Chung Emporium. Neither was it the most popular and trendy hangout place among the youths in the Former Queenstown Cinema and Bowling Alley. Nevertheless, it contained many wonderful memories of those Singaporean Sons toiling and sweating in the parade squares and technical workshops. Today, let us peek into Ayer Rajah Camp for one last time.


Farewell Ayer Rajah Camp


The site that the current Ayer Rajah Camp sits on formed part of the former British Army Pasir Panjang Complex. Within this Complex were some 58 self contained military units. It comprised accommodation for military personnel ranging bungalows to barrack dwellings, messes, depots, workshops, stores and an engineer park. Some of the camps within the Pasir Panjang Complex included Gillman Barracks, Alexandra Camp, Depot Camp and Ayer Rajah Camp.


The familiar warning signs at the entrance of Ayer Rajah Camp

Visitor Carpark at the Camp

Guard House of Ayer Rajah Camp

The area Ayer Rajah Camp is sited on was occupied by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). The REME was responsible for the regular inspection, maintenance and modification of Army equipment to ensure that it was always operationally ready. The REME units located in this area were the 40 Workshop (disbanded in 1971) and REME Training centre. While these two units occupied the site post-war, the MINDEF did not have an records on which units occupied the Ayer Rajah Camp during World War II. However, it is also very likely that the area would have been a military maintenance depot where the Japanese occupied the site and made use of the existing facilities for their war efforts.



Workshops at Ayer Rajah Camp
Equipment for Vehicle Maintenance

When the war ended, Ayer Rajah Camp was reoccupied by the British.During British Colonial , Ayer Rajah Camp was the last footprint of Federation Electrical n Mechanical Engineers (FEME). In a site inspection report conducted in January 1969, there were 40 Command Workshops which occupied 57 structures in the camp. Some of the workshops were fitted with cranes, plants and machinery for electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering purposes.

When the British announced its intention that all British forces would be withdrawn from Singapore by 31 December 1971, detailed plans for rundown of the British forces in Singapore began. The FEME shifted from Bukit Timah Camp to Ayer Rajah Camp on 6 November 1971 when Singapore Armed Forces took over the Ayer Rajah Camp premises. The unit was renamed SAF Ordnance Maintenance Base (OMB). It is home to three units,  HQ MES (Maintenance & Engineering Support), OETI (Ordnance Engineering Training Institute) and 1AMB (1st Army Maintenance Base)

HQ MES in Ayer Rajah Camp

A modern integrated logistics complex was constructed at Ayer Rajah Camp. Common facilities including workshops, offices and accommodation blocks, a medical centre, cookhouse, multipurpose hall, Mess and sports facilities were built within the compound. Work started in 1982 and completed in 1986.

Basketball Court at the Camp

Canteen - For Those who dislike SFI food!

Self Made Signs to the Multi Purpose Hall and Cook House

The Cook House is Empty...

Because the Tables and Chairs were all Dismantled

SFI's motto... but the soldiers are "sick" of the food here!

The Kitchen at the Cook House



Commander's Mess

Seminar Rooms... Go.. Going... Gone...

In mid October 2001, URA approved the revised Buona Vista Science Hub development boundary. Since Ayer Rajah Camp was located within the boundary, it was scheduled for release back to the State in 2010. Ayer Rajah Camp will be relocated to Kranji Camp II, home of the Combat Service Support (CSS) in Choa Chu Kang. The relocation is part of the CSS Command's vision to integrate its various functional elements of CSS, HQ Transport and HQ MES. This relocation also marks the end of the Ayer Rajah Camp at Portsdown Road in Queenstown.

Baris Sedi-yah!

Book Out Lor!


The empty fields and long stretch of road from the entrance to the various units must have been memorable to unit personnel and Singaporeans who were enlisted in combat support. The familiar army songs and the diligence polishing of boots were a thing of the past in Ayer Rajah Camp. But our memories of the camp will stay with us forever!




Look out for what's left of the individual units within Ayer Rajah Camp and army experience at the camp next week!

Note: Republishing this article or photos require prior permission from MINDEF and My Queenstown. Those who republished any photos or articles without permission are liable to military laws. For enquiries, please email myqueenstown@gmail.com

 


Category: Places , recent , Restricted Access

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