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Lest we Forget, War Time Commemorative Sites

Today, SGH has two sites that commemorate wartime deaths. One is a plaque bearing the names of 11 medical and dental students whose lives were lost during the war, while the other is a cross that marks a mass grave at the car park near Bowyer Block.

During the final hours of the Battle of Singapore, wounded civilians and servicemen taken prisoner by the Japanese were brought to the hospital in their hundreds. The number of fatalities was such that burial in the usual manner was impossible. An emergency water tank dug in the hospital grounds before the war was used as a grave for more than 500 civilians and Commonwealth servicemen. After the war, it was decided that as individual identification of the dead would be impossible, the grave should be left undisturbed. The grave was suitably enclosed and consecrated by the Bishop of Singapore. A cross, erected in their memory by the military authorities around 1947, has a granite base and is found near Bowyer Block in Singapore General Hospital grounds (car park next to Bowyer Block).

In 1948, Dr George V Allen, the principal of King Edward VI College of Medicine between 1939 and 1942, unveiled another war memorial for eleven medical students brutally killed during World War II. On the morning of 14 February 1942, Yoong Tat Sin, a fourth-year medical student, was fatally injured by Japanese shelling while on duty at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Balestier Road. He was rushed to the General Hospital for an emergency operation but died soon after. That same evening, about 25 friends and students from the College of Medicine's medical and dental faculties were preparing to give Yoong a proper burial within the hospital compound. One of the five trenches dug out earlier for air raid purposes was converted into a grave for Yoong. However, they were spotted by Japanese gunners who fired a heavy barrage of shells at the defenceless students. Eleven students were killed instantaneously. They were buried on the morning of 16 February (a day after the surrender of Singapore to the Japanese) in the trenches where they fell.

The original plaque was hung at the Harrower Hall, and was moved twice before settling at the College of Medicine Building (the present-day Ministry of Health). It is still there today.

Located at the junction of College Road and Macalister Road, opposite the College of Medicine Building, another memorial was set up to mark the students' burial site.


The wooden cross is a war memorial for soldiers and civilians victims of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. 

The inscription at the base:

Beneath this cross lie

94 British, 6 Malayan, 5 Indian, 2 Australian soldiers and 300 civilians of many races, victims of Man's inhumanity to man, who perished in captivity in February 1942. The soldiers are commemorated by name at Kranji War Cemetery.