The Battle Box at 2 Cox Terrace on Fort Canning Hill is a former underground command centre, which was part of the Malaya Command Headquarters during World War II. It is significant as the place where Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival (1887-1966), GOC Malaya, made the decision to surrender Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. Therefore, this site is a reminder of the fall of Singapore. The Japanese had advanced on the Malay Peninsula on 8 December 1941. Percival resisted at first, but the Japanese advanced rapidly and on 27 January, Percival ordered a retreat across the Johore Strait on the island of Singapore. There was a week of fighting before Percival held his final command conference in the Battle Box. Winston Churchill considered the fall of Singapore ‘the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history.’ Percival was ultimately held prisoner in Formosa. In 1945 he was present when the Japanese surrendered in Tokyo Bay, and when the Japanese army surrendered in the Philippines. But he refused to shake the hand of the Japanese General Yamashita (1885-1946), his earlier captor, on account of his treatment of the prisoners of war. (Yamashita was hanged for war crimes).
In 1997 it was opened as a museum, which portrays how Singaporeans functioned during the war. There are wax statues which have been placed to help visitors visualise the bunker. It also contains objects which would have been used by the soldiers.
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