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Batu Maung
 

Batu Maung - the War Museum.
Going up the hill to see the War Museum

The War Museum is situated in Batu Maung. This fishing town is close to the airport of Penang. The museum is a 70 year old former British fort. In the colonial period of the Second World War the British were thinking that the enemy would attack from the sea, and thus they constructed the bunkers and enforcement with cannons aimed to the sea. As it turn out, the Japanese invaded by land, coming down the Peninsula, and rendering the preparation moot.

The fort was rediscovered by Johari Shafi. He's the operations manager now. The fort was in ww2 manned by soldier of different races: English, Indians and (mostly) Malays. When the fort fell to Japanese hands, parts
of it were turned into torture chambers where executions took place.

Like other countries during the Second World War, Malaysia (and Penang) suffered greatly. Lives were lost, families were torn apart, homes were razed and food was scarce. For sure, the war left no fond memories for those who suffered through it.

The fort is telling you stories covering all aspects of life in wartime. Pictures of the invasion, prisoners of war, the daily life in the camp and the torturing purpose to encourage the study and understanding of the history of modern war and how it affects our lives and as a memorial to those who died defending the country.
The parts of the fort that have been restored so far are the aforementioned torture chamber, medical infirmary, ammunition store, observation tower, canon firing bay, well, generator room, quarters, pill boxes, tunnels, lock up and cook house.

 

Here stood once a canon

  It was known well that Penang was not being prepared to Japanese invaders. Most of the defense were consisted of light machineguns and several Bofors anti-aircraft and most of these guns were located to protect Butterworth airfield.

An additional, one firing range observation tower, several Anti Aircraft gun pit with underground tunnels, one searchlight battery, logistic centers, halls, offices, ventilation shafts, sleeping quarters, cook houses as well as medical infirmary enough to accommodated one regiment.
At least several pillboxes were built to protect from sea landings.
This complex was constructed on 20 acres of land, it is an integrated fortress on Bukit Batu Maung or Bukit Punjab.
The British Royal Engineers and a work force comprises of local laborers blasted and dug into the hill to create a fort.

Two large 6 inch coastal gun batteries were built which can traversed into straits of Penang.
These guns can be fired to incoming enemy ship before they can reaching Penang Harbour and to protect British Navy in the Penang Harbour.

An additional, one firing range observation tower, several Anti Aircraft gun pit with underground tunnels, one searchlight battery, logistic centers, halls, offices, ventilation shafts, sleeping quarters, cook houses as well as medical infirmary enough to  accommodated one regiment.
At least several pillboxes were built to protect from sea landings. These complex was constructed on 20 acres of land, it is an integrated fortress on Bukit Batu Maung or Bukit Punjab. The British Royal Engineers and a work force comprises of local laborers blasted and dug into the hill to create a fort.

 

The good old days of the canon.

The Japanese on bike to Batu Maung.

 
At dawn on December 17, the Japanese came ashore from small boats and seized the island without losing a soldier. They were intrigued to discover the radio station in Penang was not destroyed by the British before they departed, and used it to broadcast propaganda to Malaya and Singapore.
From under Japanese Occupation, it was used to protect Japanese shipping from Allied attack mainly from British and American Subs. After ww2, it was abandoned.
Many of the fittings were stripped and scrap. Two large batteries guns were missing.
Sergeant John Wolf didn't make it (have a look at the picture on the left). His cross and helmet are still in the museum in Batu Maung.
The museum is the only one of its kind in Malaysia.

Malaysia is a strife-free country. They can go about their business with little or no worry. Be that as it may, the museum will serve to continually remind all of us. We must not forget the importance of maintaining peace in the world.

When I visited the museum in 2005 it was a rainy day. We got umbrella's and raincoats at the ticket counter. We had to pay RM10 for a ticket. For children it's RM5.

Address: Lot 1350 Mukim 12,
Merah Barat Daya,
Batu Maung,
11960 Penang
Tel: 016-421 3606 or 04-391 0067  
Fax: 04-644 8015
Opened seven days a week (including public holidays),
from 9:00am to 7:00pm.

John Wolf

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  Ben van Wijnen

 

 

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