This SAF military installation was the former China Sea Beach Club but before 1959 it was called the RAF Signals Transit Center. It was easy to recognize this building because it was painted pink in colour and had a concrete tower. It was here that some of our Singapore’s top Rock & Roll bands made a living playing to the British RAF military personnel on week-ends.
Coming from Tanah Merah Besar Road, the China Sea Beach Club was after old Telok Paku Road. If you are wondering where is old Teluk Paku Road, it is now renamed as North Perimeter Road. Some people confuse old Telok Paku Road with the road that leads into the cargo complex area. Next time, I will share with you what I saw on old Telok Paku Road because usually after a swim, my cousins and I rode our bicycles to this place. Now back to the story.
Sharing the beach with the civilians was the British Military forces. In 1964, the stretch of Changi Beach was a coastal defense zone with low–level anti-aircraft guns. The guns were meant to defend RAF Changi from potential Indonesian aerial infiltration from Batam. Roughly in terms of today’s context, the defense-line would be between the present SAF Ferry Terminal to Changi Airport Terminal 3 facing the Control Tower. I saw barbed wires and sandbags. It looked as if it was a protected area but the British Military forces were friendly to the locals, especially the children. The gun batteries were disbanded in 1966 after the Indonesian Confrontation ended. Many decades later I found the anti-aircraft units came from Nee Soon Camp and Telok Paku Road Camp.
In which part of Changi Airport do you think does the end of Tanah Merah Road meet Nicoll Drive?
Which part of the Changi Airport vicinity looks exactly like the RAF Changi era?
Fig 6: Map of Changi Beach in 2007