Karu asked me if I remember the AKC Cinema at Gillman Camp. Actually in 1977 when I spent four-and-a-half months there in the School of Combat Engineers, this cinema was no longer around. But I managed to find a photo from Tom O’brien’s Memories of Singapore website. Below it is a photo that I took of the same building recently. As you can see, there is not much change.
I believe besides this AKC Cinema in Gillman Barracks, as Gillman Camp was called in the pre-SAF days, there must be several others like it in the other British camps. I recall that there was one at Dover Road, near the junction with Clementi Road. It was called Kent Cinema. It was open to SAF personnel and I went there twice. I did not enjoy it very much as I kept feeling that we didn't belong there. Anyway, I asked Tom O’brien if he remembered this place and this is what he wrote.
“I do remember the Cinema on Dover Road. It was situated next door to the Warren Golf Course, on the corner of Dover and Clementi Road. It was quite a small cinema, with a six lane bowling alley and was air conditioned. That's one of the reasons I used to hang out there. Although when it got busy, as kids, we were asked to sit outside at the back, where there was a seating area. It was called the Kent Cinema and belonged to the AKC* (Army Kinema Corporation). It was managed and run by local staff. The two managers were Tamil I think. They didn't really like us being there, but providing we purchased food or drinks, then we were tolerated. I remember we used to get told off quite often for our behaviour.”
I believe these two places that I have blogged about, and others like it, must hold many pleasant memories for our British friends like John Harper, Tom O’brien, Brian Mitchell and Tom Brown. I hope they can tell us more about such places after reading this post.
* The Army Kinema Corporation was a large organisation based in Croydon, responsible for providing the British army everywhere with film entertainment.
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