Pic’n’Post: The Battle Box

Malaysia 09 305

The story-teller’s picture. Mikthos bodied slowly, painfully, as always. Senses on high alert. The first few seconds, before the molecules settled, they were at their most vulnerable. A local seeing them could stiff them before they even had time to reach for their morsars. Next to him, Tarthil hissed, ‘Creatures!’ As soon as they were able, both of them drew their morsars, aiming at the group of beasts huddled round a table in a cramped, musty room. Several krontiks passed. Nothing happened. Finally, Mikthos put his morsar back in its groop. ‘They’re not moving,’ he said. ‘Not alive. It’s as if they’ve been stiffed mid-action.’ Tarthis glanced at him uneasily. ‘Something dreadful has happened here. Time itself has stopped. This is no place for us, Mikthos. Back to the spacehip!’

The picture-taker’s story. A challenge, this one – whatever story you make up is bound to pale in comparison to the reality. This is the Battle Box in Singapore’s Fort Canning Park, where the last defence of the island was organised in the face of the advancing Japanese army in 1942. Despite Churchill’s order to defend vigorously, it became clear that “Fortress Singapore”, deprived of water and ammunition, could not be held. Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival , in charge of the defence, held his final meeting in the Battle Box on February 15th. The decision was taken to surrender.

Now a tourist attraction, the Battle Box houses a sober reconstitution of those last hours. Churchill considered the fall of Singapore as the worst miltary defeat in British history, a verdict many would agree with. Due to a lack of equipment, and poor morale amongst the inexperienced troops based there, an island which had been thought impregnable fell in less than 70 days. Inside the bunker, you get a good sense of the tension and fear of the time, and it’s with some relief that you step back out to normality, wander through the park, and sit down at a terrace for a glass of honeydew melon.

Over to you. The next Pic’n’Post deadline is Monday 30th March, 6 pm GMT – entries can be sent between now and then by linking to your post in the comments. A reminder of the rules is here.

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4 thoughts on “Pic’n’Post: The Battle Box

  1. Indeed, a sad story! It takes a whole lot of guts to surrender at the cost of personal shame and ignominy, but when weighed against the cost of lives saved and destruction averted, it’s a small price to pay. Even if the Generals/political bosses, living safely in their ivory towers far away from the frontline, do not accept such a sacrifice, history will be merciful and set right the wrongs done, long after both the parties have gone back into the barracks of timeless oblivion.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed, as its history that gets left behind long after the Dinos, Caesars, Hitlers and Churchills are gone! And yes, the Irish conflict which set the Irish people against each other, and against the English due to the religous divide as one of the major factors, as nationalists and loyalists, keeping historians busy recording events, good and bad, till date.

        Liked by 1 person

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