Note: This is a draft. The proofreading is not complete.
The Story Of The Batu Maung Fort
The War Musuem started when the British came and created the military fort on Bukit Batu Maung (or ‘Batu Maung Hill’) in the 1930s. It was designed by Royal British Engineers and the project was officially designated the ‘South Channel Gun Emplacement’. A team of labourers (war prisoners or employees of the British Empire) from South Africa, India, Nepal, Gibraltar and beyond was appointed to build the fort.
Batu Maung Fort was designed to protect British shipping routes around the Malayan Peninsula and also to provide military defence for the Royal Air Force base at Butterworth which was just sitting across the Penang Channel. The fort was mainly staff by British & Punjabi Indian soldiers. The Punjab soldiers had a particularly fearsome reputation amongst the locals, so that during those early years the place earned the nickname of ‘Punjab Hill.’ However, once completed, the fort was only use for 5 years before the Japanese came and conquer Penang.
When the Japanese came, the British decided to destroy most of the military technologies so the technologies do not fall into the Japanese Imperial Army control. The fortress was then turned into a prison for 3 years and 8 months during the Japanese occupation.
Once the Japanese army surrendered in the 1940s, the fort was left abandoned and hidden for almost 60 years. In 2002, Mr. Johari Shafie who is passionate about the history of Malaya, found the fortress, collected the bits and pieces of evidence, books and information from those who have been imprisoned in the fort, restored it and turned it into the first outdoor living war museum, one of its kind in South East Asia.