A memorial to a Singapore hero and martyr.

Major-General Lim Bo Seng was one of Singapore's heroes and a martyr of World War II. The pagoda-like stucture at the Esplanade was erected as a tribute to him.

The pagoda is of marble with a solid bronze roof and ia guarded by four bronze lions.

Lim Bo Seng Memorial

Lim Bo Seng (alias Tan Choon Lim) was born in China on 27 April 1909. He came to Singapore when he was sixteen years old. He studied at Raffles Institution where he passed his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1928 and later at the University of Hong Kong. After his graduation he joined his father’s construction company.

The company had built some Singapore's historical buildings including the Victoria Memorial Hall and Parliament House. After Japanese invasion of China in 1973 Lim Bo Seng raised funds to support the Chinese war effort. Because of his anti-Japanese activities the British government at one time considered banishing him from Singapore and Malaya. Before the Japanese invasion of Malaya and Singapore

Lim Bo Seng recruited workers to prepare for the urgent defence of Singapore;  his men also assisted in blowing up the Causeway when British forces retreated from Malaya to Singapore. 

Lim Bo Seng

Lim Bo Seng was advised by the British to leave Singapore  for China when it was apparent that Singapore would fall to the Japanese in 1942. He, however, returned to Malaya in 1943 in a British submarine to join the underground resistance movement in Malaya. Later he went to Ipoh, the capital of Perak, to direct guerilla operations against the Japanese. The Japanese Military Police (the Kempetai) captured him in March 1944. He died on 29 June 1944 at the age of 34 after three months of Japanese torture at Batu Bajah Jail where he stubbornly refused to betray his comrades. He was buried in a shallow grave behind the prison.

When the British returned to Malaya in 1945 his body was brought to Singapore.  He was buried with military honours at MacRitchie Reservoir on 13 January 1946. A Memorial Service was held at the steps of the Municipal Building (City Hall). The memorial at MacRitchie Reservoir was erected on 27 June 1952 by the Lim Bo Seng Memorial Committee.

Later, a more befitting monument was erected. A sum of Hong Kong $85,000 was raised to erect the pagoda at the Esplanade. It was officially unveiled in 1954.