RSS Singapura name in line with naval tradition

The Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (SNVF) veterans are proud that the Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Changi Naval Base's new name will include the name of our former headquarters RSS Singapura ("Changi Naval Base's new name to hark back to beginnings"; Feb 10).

It is regretful that Dr Sunny Goh seems to lack knowledge of historical naval tradition in naming ships and naval establishments ("Problematic new name for Changi Naval Base"; Feb 18).

The barracks at the Royal Navy base in Sembawang was named HMS Terror in 1945.

Before independence, the Royal Malaysian Navy base in Woodlands was known as KD Malaya.

When the RSN opened its training school in Changi in 2006, it was named RSS Panglima.

RSS Singapura was a former Japanese minelayer - IJN Wakata. It was turned over to the Royal Navy as a prize of war in 1947 and renamed HMS Laburnum.

The ship was handed over to the Malayan Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (Singapore Division), and commissioned as KD Singapura in September 1963.

In late 1965, we became the SNVF. The following year, KD Singapura, berthed at the Telok Ayer Basin and serving as SNVF headquarters, was recommissioned as RSS Singapura.

The ship was scrapped in 1968 and the SNVF was relocated to Pulau Blakang Mati, where the RSN was established and later moved to Changi Naval Base.

Hence, the name RSS Singapura should be contained in the naval base's name, in line with naval tradition and as befitting our guardians of the seas.

Adrian Villanueva

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2017, with the headline RSS Singapura name in line with naval tradition. Subscribe