Beach Road Pt.1 – NCO Club

Whenever it’s Chinese New Year time or rather before the Chinese New Year, I will always made a trip down to the then NCO Club at Beach Road. During the early 80s (1982) when I was first enlisted, we were still allowed to buy duty-free cigarettes and liquor (beer). So it’s always such a long long queue to buy such ‘New Year Goodies’ as there was a limit on how much one was allowed to buy. Later in years, only the duty-free beer were allowed to buy and as times go by, even beer also not allowed anymore!

First known as NAAFI Britannia Club in the 50s… then in the 70s it was the NCO Club (my time)… later in the 90s, it was converted into Warrant Officers and Specialists Club. See this link of The CHEVRONS.

Here is an old army map showing the location of the NAFFI Club;

You can see the old Alhambra Cinema along the same side of Beach Road then. Below is the NAAFI club in the 50s;

Photo Credit : http://www.marsden.me.uk

A postcard view below of the club;

Credit : LimYap Collectibles

Frankly, I didn’t make full use of the facilities there during that period. But the swimming pool don’t seems to be much difference compare to in the past (during NAAFI period). The pool still look more or less the same as in the past;

Below is an interesting map showing the NCO Club in 1976;

This map even show the original shoreline before the first land reclamation. Also some of the landmarks are not built yet while some were still there.

Here is the aerial view in 1969 by Mr.Boey YB;

If we walk past the former Beach Road Camp to the NCO Club, you may find that it’s all ‘boxed up’ for construction works. This 3.5-hectare site could be transformed into a mixed-development – with more than 600 hotel rooms as well as commercial and retail space, which to be ready probably in year 2010.

The following are some

beautiful photos from URA site;

Below shows the plan of the 4 buildings that will be conserved in this plot of land;

Let’s take a look at how the NCO Club changes over the years;

Here is the Beach Road Camp;

Beach Road Camp is what I normally called, do you know the actual name of this camp?

Photo Credit : All 4 photos above from URA.

If you wish to know more about this re-development of this Beach Road site, pls check it out at URA Web Site.

Of course what I enjoyed most in this NCO Club is probably the Tombola nite. Those who frequent the club will know what I’m referring to. The other thing I enjoyed was shopping at the SAFE Superstore at this outlet at that time.

I bought my first SLR camera from SAFE hehe, and that was a Nikon FA! Wonder if the SAFE superstore is still operating now? Any idea?

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14 Responses to “Beach Road Pt.1 – NCO Club”


  1. 1 profkingsfield2004 Friday, May 25, 2007 at 8:19 am

    LKK
    Beach Road Camp was known as the Singapore Volunteer HQ and the Straist Settlement Volunteer Force before it became a PDF Camp around 1966. In the 1970s it was used as a court-martial center. The present Beach Road buildings were not like this.

    The Singapore Volunter Corp were made up of several units – malays, Chinese, Eurasians in the early 20th Century. Example F Company Malays were at the Bras Basah Gaol, a building at the corner of Bras Basah Road and Bencoolen Street – now SMU Information Science Department. The Chinese were at Bras Basah Road – near Raffles Hotel. The HQ for the SVC was in present-day beach Road Camp but comprised only drill halls.

  2. 2 profkingsfield2004 Friday, May 25, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Actually many thinsg the British left behind for us (or rather the SAF). Recently I discovered that the present MRT line that passes through Keat Hong Camp from Gombak Station to Yee Tee Station was formerly the same alignment that the British built.

    Shortly after the end of WW2, a military network of tracks were built linking Stagmont Ring (where SAF has the School of Signals and a former armored unit) and Keat Hong Camp together. This was the place where captured Japanese lomotives from Singapore, Malaya, Java and Indo-China were stored before shipping out to be destroyed.

    The building of the Nicoll Highway was a land reclamation plan conceived by the then British Colonial Government after old Kallnag Airport was shut down in 1955. Later when the PAP came into power in 1959, a social project was undertaken to get party cadres involved in “gotong royong”. So you will pictures of PAP cadres doing punkie and shovel work at the Esplanade; near the Merdeka Bridge end. This was almost the same spot where the Highway Collpase took place in recent times.

  3. 3 laokokok Friday, May 25, 2007 at 9:02 am

    You are right Peter, the camp was previously Singapore Volunteer Corp site. The Beach Road is like a total facelift, and I guess it’s gonna be ‘worst’ in 20 years time.

  4. 4 Lam Chun See Saturday, May 26, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    For my reservist years, our (PDF)Bn HQ was at Beach Rd Camp. As such, I went there many times; e.g. for Routine Reporting, medical checkup and several low-key TEWT (Tactical Exercise Without Troops) one week long type exercises.

    But my most memorable experience of PDF was during my OCS days. During the 1-week break, I went to the dental clinic there to have my impacted molar removed. I think the nurse who assisted the dentist was either new or a trainees. In the process, the poor girl was scolded by the dentist. I can remember the exact words; “Push it aside! Push it aside! You want me to sutured his tongue is it?”

  5. 5 Philip Chew Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    LKK

    The NAAFI Britannia Club was originally located at the now Civilian War Memorial. It was built just after the war. The back of my school (RI) was just oppostie. I have a photo to show it.

  6. 6 laokokok Monday, March 24, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Hi Philip,
    Thanks for the info. Do you mind email me the photo so that I can post it here?

  7. 7 Miss60s Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    REF: NCO CLUB

    Oh my goodness! Never thought I’ll see these pictures :’)

    I used to swim for NCO club..we call ourselves “Splashers”, if i remember correctly.

    I still remember the food stalls..first one was chicken rice stall, then rojak, then there’s wan tan mee stall, and dessert stall with ice-kacang, cheng teng, chendol,etc… gosh..

    the little baby pool…

    I wonder if there are anymore of those pictures…oh, and the pub on the left hand corner with billiard tables etc.

    Jackpot or slot machines downstairs and a electronic shop selling tv where i always hang out after swimming lessons on Sundays :)

  8. 9 John keely Friday, April 30, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I too have many fond memories of the nco club, although I am of an older generation. As a member of the British Army a spent 2 years in Malasia (1958 – 1960) and spent many a happy hour in the club. I still remember vividly on warm balmy nights, after swimming in that wonderful pool, drinking in a heady atmosphere pervaded with a sentuous mixture of exotic aromas and sights, and above all, beautiful women. Excuse the flights of fancy of an older man. It was with great sadness I discovered, on a recent visit to Singapore that all my memories had been buried in the rubble of a building site. Ah well I stil have the memories.

  9. 11 Vic Balasdon Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Hi
    Those pictures bring back some good memories!
    Thank you.
    I was in Singapore from October 1960 until March 1963, with 42 Commando, Royal Marines, at RNAS Sembawang (just up the road from Nee Soon).
    I also saw the seamier, somewhat less pleasant side of that lovely city when on Shore Patrol. Junior NCOs “caught up” the duty every six or seven weeks, and, with a driver and two Marines, we would go to the RMP HQ in Bras Basah Road (I think) and be split up to go with either an RMP patrol or RN patrol. We never went with the RAF patrols (Snowdrops).
    W e always congregated outside the “Brit Club” at “kicking out time”.
    I look back on those days (not the shore patrols, although they had their lighter moments, too!) with affection and a yearning to return, although I know that I never shall.
    Stay safe, all of you
    Vic

  10. 12 kokle0 Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 3:43 am

    I just came back from a nearly month long vacation in S’pore with my wife. Went to Beach Rd and to my surprise the Britannia Club was still there but vacant.I lived in S’pore in the early 60′s and was posted at the American Embassy on Hill St. The club back then was a British servicemens club. I had friends in the British military and was often invited. Quite a rowdy place back then, frequent fights and altercations due to some who had a few too many drinks. Does anyone remember the Old Golden Venus club at the Orchard Hotel? I met my wife there. Still married after 40+ years. She is still a Singapore citizen ! Several of my wifes friends married Brits in that time span but sadly we have lost contact. Excuse my rambling but a lot of old memories.

  11. 13 Stacy Monday, September 23, 2013 at 5:00 am

    I absolutely lovve yyour blog and find aalmost all off your post’s to be exactly what
    I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content in
    your case? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write about here.
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  1. 1 Former NAAFI & SAF NCO Club « Yesterday….Today….Tomorrow Trackback on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm

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