Singas - Home away from home

 
 
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To many like myself it was to become more home than home was. Following the end of WW11 and the days of the Strategic Reserve the British Navy owned a fairly sizable chunk of real estate on the Island. HMS Terror was the name of the base and it was located on the northern or Malaysian side of Singapore Island.
 
 
Sembawang Village is where the Royal Navy Far East Fleet was located, about 15 miles north of Singapore City and was the local village catering for the vast numbers of matelots stationed in, and visiting Singapore. A walk from the Sembawang Basin, where the fleet was berthed,  to sleepy Sembawang Village would take about 20 minutes, a trip into town by taxi travelling the infamous  Upper and Lower Thompson Road would take considerbaly longer.  Sign would often appear on the main noticeboards warning - Thompson Road - When dry is dangerous, when wet it is lethal.  As many matelots over the years were, to their misfortunes, to find out.
 
HMS Terror - although not as well appointed as its American counterparts did have facilities such as The Armada Club - a large two story colonial building - used as the Junior Sailors Wet Canteen. This Club overlooked a floodlit sports field and was the scene of many a grand night during the Fleet Rugby Union Championships.Situated in luscious tropical grounds HMS Terror boasted a nine hole golf course, Aggie Westons and swimming pools.
 
 

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The NAAFI HMS TERROR -  The 'Armada Club', Sailors Wet Canteen - 1970.
 
 
The two primary beverages consumed by sailors were Anchor and Tiget Beer and I suppose these well known Singaporean Brews could be called  "Cleansing Ales"..... Just ask the Heads Dodgers the morning after the first night in Sembawang. In the late 60's and early 70's with the exchange rate running at $AUD1.00 = $SSD3.40, a 13oz bottle cost around a $SSD1.00. Ladies drinks in the Sembawang Bars were $S5.00 and consisted of anything from coke to brandy, depending on the girl, but they we all $5.00. Most Australian Sailors drank anchor beer. Tiger Beer - Generally consumed more by the RNers  than by us. It was the same price but many sailors preferred Anchor Beer. One bar in Sembawang, the New Ocean, used to have it on tap back in the late 60's early 70's and a pint of 'Tiger Tops' (tiger beer with a dash of 7 up) was a favourite amongst the Pommy Matelots, perhaps because it was cheaper too. We also carried canned Tiger Beer onboard for beer issues, which for a few of us was great because very few blokes in the mess would drink the stuff at sea, especially if it was not sufficiently chilled. So, a small number of us would draw the whole mess issue for ourselves.
 
 
 
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DERWENT Alongside in the Sembawang Basin June 1970.  I am located perched on top of the 4.5 Inch Gun, directly behind and in between of the two blokes sitting on the Port and Starboard Gun Mantles.
 
 
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Left:  Singapore Island Map and location of Sembawang.  

 

The Royal Navy's Sembawang Basin,  in its heyday it was the home of the British Far East Fleet