Saturday 15 February 2014 marks the 72nd anniversary of the fall of Singapore during World War II. A few of us will be walking at Kent Ridge to commemorate the Battle of Pasir Panjang, which took place a few days before the British surrendered to the Japanese.
It is very hard to imagine the ridge as it might have been during the war. Things are very different here with a university campus in place of a battleground. Two geographic features which were around during the war no longer exist: Island View Road and Prince Edward Point.
Island View Road
Island View Road began off Clementi Road, near where Kent Ridge Crescent is today. It turns right, roughly in line with today’s Kent Ridge Drive.
You can see this in the map above. It is an overlay of a 1976 street directory – roads in colour – over a 1968 street directory (credit to Lao Kokok of Times of My Life blog for scanning and passing me these images).
Speaking of Kent Ridge Crescent, it did not exist during the war. Instead, Kent Ridge Road – now a dead end road – used to connect to Island View Road and Clementi Road.
With the sides of the ridge clear of vegetation and the coast so close to the ridge (you can just see some of the original coastline before reclamation in the 1968 map), it would have been a very nice drive – or cycle – up and down Kent Ridge Road.
You really have to use your imagination for this.
Prince Edward Point
The other missing feature is Prince Edward Point. It is highlighted on the Kent Ridge Plaque. The plaque can be found at the South Buona Vista Road end of Kent Ridge Road.
We used to highlight that Point 270 – the highest point on campus – was Prince Edward Point.
The 1968 street directory map says otherwise (and this is corroborated by other topographical maps I have seen). Prince Edward Point is where the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Design & Environment now stands.