Singapore Cenotaph, Esplanade Park

Located in Esplanade Park near the central business district of Singapore is the Singapore Cenotaph – a memorial initially erected to commemorate the 124 British soldiers who were born or lived in Singapore and died during World War I. Designed by Denis Santry, the 18-metre high memorial is made from local granite and was unveiled by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward the VIII) in 1922. The five steps leading up to the cenotaph were inscribed with the war years (1914 – 1918) and on the structure itself, bronze plates list each of the 124 men who died.

In 1950, following the end of World War II, the Singapore Government decided to extend the cenotaph to also memorialise those who had died during the Second World War. Seven more steps were added to mark the years 1939 to 1945 and on the reverse side of the cenotaph, the phrase ‘They died so we might live’ was inscribed in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. The names of those men who lost their lives in the Second World War were not added to the memorial as it was deemed there were too many men who had perished.

In 2010, the Singapore Cenotaph was officially gazetted as a National Monument along with two other structures in Esplanade Park – the Lim Bo Seng Memorial and the Tan Kim Seng Fountain.