Changi Museum

1000 Upper Changi Rd N, Singapore 507707

Location : Now at 1000 Upper Changi Road North

DESCRIPTION

Changi Murals Chapel and museum, also known as St Luke's Chapel in the past, was a place of Christian worship and a source of comfort and centre of social activities for Allied prisoners-of-war imprisoned in Changi during the Second World War. It was located in the "Dysentery Wing" of the military barracks in Changi.

St Luke’s is particularly famous for its murals painted by Stanley Warren, a bombardier of the 15th Regiment of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

HISTORY

During the Japanese Occupation, the Changi Royal Air Force (RAF) base, Roberts Barracks Block 151 at Changi Military Base was converted into a temporary prison hospital for prisoners-of-war of the Allied Forces. Disease and malnutrition was rife among the captives and the Christian chaplains tending the sick and weak were vital for maintaining morale among the prisoners. Rev. F.H. Stallard, C.F., managed to obtained permission from a Japanese military commander to convert part of the hospital's "Dysentery Wing" (Blk. 151) into a chapel. The chapel was dedicated to "St. Luke the Physician" and became known as St. Luke's Chapel.

An artist before the war, Bombardier Stanley Warren was incarcerated in Changi prison. Sick, lacking artistic materials and suffering considerable hardships he nonetheless managed to complete five murals depicting scenes from The Nativity, The Ascension, the Crucifixion, the Last Supper, and a picture of St Luke himself. (St Luke was the patron saint of physicians).

Covered with whitewash by the Japanese, the murals remained undiscovered until 1958. Upon their discovery, a search ensued to find the artist and Warren was traced back to North London. He then returned on several occasions to Changi to restore his murals.

The Chapel furnishings were moved to Selarang Barracks on 27 August 1943 and the building and chapel were subsequently occupied by the Japanese Air Force as a storeroom. The Changi murals were tempered and whitewashed over and one of the images was almost totally destroyed by the Japanese, where part of the wall was blasted to make a doorway. The existence of the chapel and the Changi Murals remained undiscovered until the late 1950s. In 1988, the actual chapel was carried to and rebuilt in Australia; a replica chapel was built in Changi Prison.

CURRENT

In 2001, Changi Prison was redeveloped; the chapel and museum had to be relocated outside the new prison complex to their current location in Upper Changi Road North. The original Warren murals still remain at the army logistics training centre in the Changi camp.

Although only a replica, this exquisite little chapel has an amazing sense of tranquillity about it, and one senses the ghosts of the past.



References:

1. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (22 July 2013). Changi Museum. Retrieved from Wikipedia, the
free encyclopedia: Link Here

2. National Library Board Singapore. (2002). Changi Murals Chapel. Retrieved from Singapore
Infopedia:Link Here

3. New home for prison chapel, musuem. (1999, September 27). The Straits Times, Home, p. 33.

4. Historic Sites and Public Education Units. (2001). The Changi chapel and museum. Treasures of Time (p. 6). Singapore: National Archives of Singapore.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TT)

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