FAA Veteran returns to Sembawang

 

Ship's badge of HMS SIMBANG. Artwork by Tony Drury. CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION

 

 

The following photographs were taken during former Leading Air Mechanic (Engines) Douglas  'Shorty' Heath's  visit to the former Royal Navy Air Station at Sembawang, Singapore, H.M.S. SIMBANG.  His visit was  made while travelling with a party of 130 RN veterans who made the trip to Singapore to mark 65 years since the end of the war with Japan. The veterans and their partners were able to make the journey thanks to the Heroes Return 2 Scheme, the second lottery funded scheme which supports veterans, spouses, widows and carers wishing to return to those places where they fought during the Second World War and mark any relevant anniversaries in 2009 and 2010.

 

Towards the end of the Second World War Duggie was part of the RN unit which arrived at Sembawang airfield to reopen it as a Royal Naval Air Station after the Japanese surrender of Singapore in 1945. He was part of the ship's company of HMS NABROCK, Mobile Naval Air Base No. 9 (MONAB IX) which reopened  and commissioned the base as Royal Naval Air Station Sembawang,, HMS NABROCK, on October 5th 1945.  The station  renamed HMS SIMBANG on December 15th 1945 when it was decided to make its status permenant.  For more details on MONAB IX visit the HMS NABROCK page.

 
 

Duggie outside the main hanger

 

Duggie outside the former Junior rates accommodation blocks

 

Bullet damage on the hanger doors

 

Duggie taking in the display at the Sembawang heritage canter

 

Duggie outside the rear of the former RN wardroom

 

Duggie outside the entrance of the former RN wardroom

 

 

Duggie with Warrant Officer Richard Woo Huat outside the old airfield control tower at Republic of Singapore Air Force base, Sembawang. WO Huat was Duggie's guide for his visit and organised for these photographs to be taken in line with the base security policy.

 

The interior of the former HMS SIMBANG chapel

 

Exterior of the former HMS SIMBANG chapel

 

RNAS Sembawang shortly after being reoccupied by the Royal Navy in 1945, vehicles and temporary buildings of MONAB 9 can be seen.

Some of the buildings pictured in Duggie's visit are in this shot - the main hanger is partly visible on the top right; the officers mess is at the bottom; the junior rates accommodation block is the low, dark building near the tress in the centre of the picture.

 

Compare these photos with those taken in 1945'46

 

 

Photos courtesy of the Republic Of Singapore Air Force via Douglas Heath,  Vice Chairman of Tamworth Branch of the Royal Naval Association and Treasurer of the Tamworth Fleet Air Arm Association

 

 

 

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Copyright  Tony Drury & Douglas Heath 2010 


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