Friday, November 26, 2010

Kota Bharu World War II Memorial / Kerapu Bank

There is a odd looking building which seems out of place in Kota Bharu town. The building was actually built in 1912 and first used as a commercial bank, The Mercantile Bank of India Limited, thus the name Kerapu Bank.

The "Kerapu" however refers to the rough exterior walls of the building. During the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1945, this building was used as the headquarters of the Japanese secret police, the Kempetai. After the war, the building was reused as a bank.

In 1981, the first floor of the building was converted into an Art Gallery while the ground floor was used to display handicrafts. The building was converted into a memorial dedicated to the World War II in 1992 and was officially opened in 1994. It has a lot of memorial symbol about the Japan's colonization and keeps documents that record the World War II. Entrance fee to the museum is RM 1.

There is a small courtyard beside the building which exhibits some war artifacts from Kota Bharu. Entrance to this courtyard is free.

This pillbox is a replica of a barricade which was used during the Second World War (1941-1945). This particular model is found along the coast of Pantai Sabak. However, this historical artifact is now covered by water as a result of constant coastal erosion.

Initially, the Pill Boxes were built by the British Army in 1939/1940 as barricades during World War II. For this purpose, these boxes were constructed along the coast, that is from Tumpat, Kelantan to Kuala Besut, Terengganu. Apart from the coastal areas, such constructions are also found at other strategic places such as Kelantan riverside, near the airport of Kota Bharu and in areas such as Lalang Luas, Machang, and Gong Kedak, Pasir Puteh.

A Pill Box is made of concrete cement that could accommodate 9-12 soldiers. Each box has a narrow hole at every corner which is meant for observing and shooting enemies with guns.

Old vehicles such as antique car, trishaw and lanca were on display here.

An armored car and army landing boat. The boat was used by the Japanese army to carry soldiers from the mother vessels of Awangisan Maru, Ayatosan Maru and Sakura Maru to the Kuala Pat Amat, Kota Bharu on midnight 7/8 December 1941 in an attempt to conquer Malaya. This landing boat was found buried in Kelantan River at Palekbang, Tumpat in 1988.

The V 1oo Armored Car is equipped with machine gun and smoke bomb as its defensive weapons. It is used during battle or emergency to carry Army officials and VIPs from one place to another.

This memorial was established between The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia and The State Government of Kelantan to commemorate the first commitment of Australian Combat Units against the Imperial Japan at Kota Bharu in the early hours of Monday 8th December 1941.

In this opening battle of the war in the Asia Pacific region, Lockheed Hudson aircraft and crews of the Royal Australian Air Force operated against the Japanese seaborne invasion force. This memorial recognizes the sacrifices in particular of the aircrew personnel of No.1 Squadron RAAF who died during the engagement at Kota Bharu on 8 December 1941


soulesscloudy said...

its always left behind...

M-Knight said...


Anonymous said...

good info..
never been there although i'm kelantanese... sigh

Mygadgets said...

I love those car... very unique!

Read your ebook like real book

Kezok said...

nice.. good work