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The History of the Changi Lychgates

by Don Few

December 1942

Built by 18th Division Royal Engineers

Mixture of TA and National Servicemen

Architect & Designer

Capt. C D Pickersgill

Drawings done by

Sappers D Lawrence & J Munton

560th Field Coy RE

Construction under supervision of

Cpl Wisker 288th Field Coy RE

Cpl R Duke 287th Field Coy RE (died 8.2.03)

Cpl R Ralf 288th Field Coy RE

and others whose names are not known

Wood Carving

Sapper Ringer 287th Coy RE

On completion

Sited at entrance to Changi Camp Burial Site where they remained until the re-occupation of Singapore. The graves were then moved from the burial site to Kranji War Cemetery and the Lychgates were dismantled and stored.

Lychgates reassembled

December 1952 - erected at the entrance to St. Georges Garrison Church, Tanglin Barracks, Singapore. Dedicated and blessed by the Garrison Chaplain, Rev F W H White and the Preacher, Rev G M R Bennett, who himself had been a POW.

Moved to UK

April 1971 - during the run down and withdrawal of the British Garrison from Singapore the gates were dismantled, shipped to the UK, and brought to Bassingbourn Barracks.

Reassembly at Bassingbourn

December 1972 - after the gates had been re-assembled at Bassingbourn the first Lychgates Reunion was held there on 16th December 1972. A very large number of ex-FEPOWs attended.

The Lychgates at Bassinbourn

Memorial Services were held at the gates annually for the first 5 years after their assembly at Bassingbourn and then bi-annually until 20th August 1995. All these services were organised by the Cambridge Yasume Club in conjunction with the Army Unit in residence at the time. The upkeep of the gates was also carried out jointly.

A service took place at Bassingbourn on the 8th March 2003 to commemorate the formal transfer of the gates to the care of COFEPOW and the National Memorial Arboretum. To read COFEPOW Chairman Carol Cooper's speech at this service please click here.

The Changi Lychgates have now been moved for the last time, to take up their permanent resting place in the National Memorial Arboretum at the entrance to the FEPOW plot..