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Lim Bo Seng Memorial, Singapore Overview

Lim Bo Seng Memorial is an octagonal shaped pagoda, commemorating Major-General Lim Bo Seng - one of Singapore's war heroes during World War II. Located in Esplanade Park, this national monument is the only war memorial that commemorates an individual's contribution in World War II. Unveiled in 1954, the 3.6-metre high bronze pagoda is built in the Chinese national style architecture, making use of concrete and marble. Covered by a three-tiered bronze roof, four lions sit at the base.

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Architecture of Lim Bo Seng Memorial

Designed by Keng Siang, the first overseas Singaporean Architect, the memorial is at the height of 3.6 metres. It is built in a Chinese National Style architecture that consists of an octagonal pagoda. This pagoda is made up of marble, consisting of a three-tier bronze roof and a concrete pedestal that is guarded by four bronze lions around the memorial. The memorial has a bronze roof and bronze lions that hailed all the way from Hong Kong. There are four bronze plaques which have inscription accounting of Lim's life imprinted on them. The four plates read of 4 different languages; English, Chinese, Tamil and Jawi. The government donated the site of the memorial measuring 100 by 80 feet.

Lim Bo Seng Memorial
Lion statue sitting at the base of the memorial (Source)

About Lim Bo Seng

In 943, Major Lim Bo Seng was involved in Operation Gustavus which aimed at establishing an espionage network in Malaya and Singapore. Unfortunately, the operation failed and led to his capture in 1944. He was imprisoned and taken for interrogation to the Kempeitai headquarters. Later, he was transferred to the Batu Gajah Gaol prison in Perak. Lim was subjected to intense torture, and in spite of being abused and ill-treated, he did not disclose any bit of information. Confined in dilapidated conditions, he fell prey to dysentery and passed away in the same year. Lim Bo Seng was buried behind the Batu Gajah Gaol compound in an unnoticed location.

Lim's first grave landmark had been a humble wooden cross which was later decided to be replaced by a more eminent and permanent installation in 1948, but couldn't do so due to inadequate funds. However, in 1952, the Lim Bo Seng Committee raised funds that were sufficient to build a strong concrete structure as a memorial. It was completed in 1954, and its unveiling was done by Sir Charles Loewen who was the then Commander-in-chief of the far east forces.

This was done in the presence of Lim's wife, children and members of the Force 136. It was held at the 10th death anniversary of Major-General Lim Bo Seng. Later, on the 15th anniversary, Lim Bo Seng's eldest son and daughter, with several others, laid wreaths at the Memorial at the Esplanade Park and at the tomb of his memorial at MacRitchie Reservoir. Finally, on 28th December 2010, Lim Bo Seng's memorial was gazetted as a national monument.

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