Saturday, February 16, 2013

11 Nov 2012: Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at Kranji War Cemetery

11 Nov 2012 (Sun):

It was the very first time in my life that I had attended a Remembrance Sunday Ceremony at the Kranji War Cemetery.

The motivations to attend the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony were far greater than my inclinations to wake up later on a Sunday morning. A few months before 11 Nov 2012, I had learnt from the tour guide who led the tour End of Empire - Singapore 1942™ (Battlefield Tour), A Changi Museum War Trail™ that each year, on the Sunday that is closest to Remembrance Day, a Remembrance Sunday Ceremony will be held at the Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorials.

When I checked the calendars, I learnt that for the year 2012, the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony would take place on Remembrance Day itself. Such a coincidence plus the fact that year 2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore gave me compelling reasons to attend the Remembrance Sunday Ceremony on 11 Nov 2012.

I learnt that the memorial would start at about 7 a.m. in the morning so I arranged to wake myself up very early in the morning so that I could hopefully reach the memorial by 7 a.m.

When I reached the Kranji MRT station, I saw a considerable number of scouts and members of other uniformed-groups at the station. Some of them were marching their way towards the direction of the Kranji War Cemetery.

I had mistakenly thought that taking a taxi from the Kranji MRT station was the best way to reach the Kranji War Cemetery. Normally, this would have been the best mode of transport for someone who does not drive. However, on the day of Remembrance Sunday Ceremony, only authorized vehicles were allowed to drive into the Kranji War Cemetery. Taxis and buses are not allowed to enter the premises of the cemetery unless they had special passes.

So, I asked the taxi-driver to allow me to alight along Woodlands Road, near a bus-stop which was two bus-stops from the Kranji MRT station, so that I could briskly walked into the Kranji War Cemetery. The walk took about 10 minutes.

11 Nov 2012: The skies just after 7 a.m.
Kranji War Cemetery.

I reached the Kranji War Cemetery slightly after 7 a.m. The air of the morning and the fresh scent from the cemetery's grasses welcomed every visitor to the cemetery. Many of the visitors were wearing uniforms or were in suits and ties. I observed that a number of the attendees of the event were military officers, diplomats, representatives from religious groups and members of the public. I felt a little out-of-place even though I was neatly dressed in T-shirt and jeans.

The ceremony
The Remembrance Sunday Ceremony is organised by the British High Commission and the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans' League.

The Service commenced at 7.15 a.m. Members from the Tanglin Trust School Choir sand and recited "Morning has Broken", "Make me a channel of your peace", and "In Flanders Fields". The songs seemed to fill the air of the cemetery with a sense of peace, solitude and dignity.

At 7.30 a.m., the guard of honour, the buglers, the drummers and the pipers take their post. This was followed by the British High Commissioner reading the Act of Remembrance. Next, the British Defence Advisor recited excerpts from Pericles' Eulogy.

During the later part of the service, everyone observed minutes of silence. Official wreaths were laid. Three songs were sung by the attendees of the service. These were "Amazing Grace", "Abide with Me" and "I vow to thee, my country". After the end of the ceremony, private wreaths were laid.

Wreaths were laid on Remembrance Sunday.


After the ceremony, I took a stroll about the grounds of the cemetery. I learnt that the staff of the Changi Museum were conducting complimentary tours of the Kranji War Cemetery after the service, and I registered myself for it.

Lance Naik Papayya, the youngest person to be buried in the Kranji War Cemetery.

I have found the tour to be enriching. Many thanks to the staff of Changi Museum for conducting the tours.

Folks who have missed the tours on Remembrance Sunday and would like a guided visit about Kranji War Cemetery and other sites could check out  End of Empire - Singapore 1942™ (Battlefield Tour), A Changi Museum War Trail™. I strongly recommend it if you like tours that lend you indepth insights to the fall of Singapore back in 1942.

Kranji War Cemetery
9 Woodlands Road
Singapore 738656

Nearest MRT station: Kranji
Bus services to get there: 160, 170, 178, 960, 961, 961C
For directions to get to the cemetery, please read: How to get to Kranji War Memorial by Leone Fabre

Please also see:
Remembrance Sunday at Kranji War Cemetery by British High Commission Singapore
Remembrance Day by Angloinfo, Singapore
Cemetery details: Kranji War Cemetery by Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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