Singapore Jan 1948 – Jun 1949
Hallo I would like to introduce myself.
Arthur Leonard Poskitt (80) I served in Singapore as a Signalman and ran a drawing office at a village called Yio Chu Kang for about eighteen months with the Royal Corps of Signals.
My main duties were supervising line parties to repair underground communication cables and service test huts as the location of all underground cable routes were destroyed at the onset of the Japanese occupation.
The handwritten notes read: “Strangely miserable picture a few weeks after arrival at Yio Chu Kang!”
While I was in Singapore I took the opportunity of taking several hundred pictures of the area through the eyes of a national serviceman. I covered the whole Island from the Causeway and the southern islands then known as Blakang Mati now known as Santosa, Paulu Brani and other islands in the area.
Pictures include army life under canvas and city street scenes which no longer exist!
I found your blog/website and thought you might be interested in the above.
The handwritten notes read: “Birds eye view of the island city from the height of the Cathay Building”
Regarding army service, I departed from Liverpool on the White Star liner 'Georgic' (then converted into a troop ship) in December 1947 arriving at Nee Soon transit camp in Singapore in January 1948 and thence to join the Singapore District Signal Regiment at Yio Chu Kang and put in charge of the drawing office. My duties took me across the Causeway to Johore Bahru and further north until curtailed by the terrorist insurgency of 1948. This did not prevent me from taking leave in both Penang and Kuala Lumpur traveling by steam train. My close-knit group of army friends seem to spend a lot of time at the cinema. Does the Pavilion cinema and restaurant on Orchard Road still exist? Also the Cathay, once the highest building in Singapore! The Shackle Club will have long gone. We also spent some Saturday nights watching wrestling at the Great World arena.
Hereby lies the problem. I have no prints except an album with captions and very substandard contact prints produced on return to England in July 1949 and thus unable to provide a sample. Everything is digital these days!
You tell me you are interested in all things military in the late forties and this is all here, together with street scenes (ie: ancient tramcars on the Serangoon Road), country kampongs and rubber plantations in which we lived under canvas during the interminable monsoon. I also have pictures of the war cemetery at Kranji and the ancient graveyard at Fort Canning.
Not only do I have negatives but also kept a very extensive diary of army life. Even the original camera still exists!
Though now approaching my eightieth year I still travel extensively when my work as an advertising artist permits. Journalists with whom I have worked and count as friends say that I have enough material for a book and would hate to think that on my demise this unique and valuable archive might be lost forever.