Courage, loyalty and service are the hallmarks of our doctors, nursing and other staff of our hospital particularly during the
Battle for Singapore and the Japanese Occupation.
Today it reflects the high standard of medical services provided by the Republic.

The First General Hospital was built in 1882 on the present site to meet especially the needs of the sea-faring population of Singapore. The hospital was staffed by both nuns and nurses until the new Hospital buildings were completed in 1926. A lunatic asylum and a Medical School were also in the same locality.

When Singapore was a Colony the Chief Medical Officer, the Matron, Sisters and Consultant Surgeons, were all British while the Asians held subordinate positions. Before World War II because of the shortage of beds in the General Hospital many patients requiring admission had to be turned off.

The clock-tower block was then restricted for first class patients, the middle block for children and babies and the lowers floors were for third class patients.

The courage, loyalty and service of the medical staff especially the doctors and nursing staff were seen during the Japanese invasion of Malaya and the Battle of Singapore. The first casualties of Japanese bombing were admitted at the Hospital which was the main civilian hospital on 8 December 1941 when Singapore was first bombed. By 15 February 1942 there were about 3400 patients in the General Hospital.

Throughout the Malayan Campaign and the Battle for Singapore all medical staff, doctors, nurses, attendants and 'amahs' (female attendants) continued to work harmoniously and did their best for the patients though shells from Japanese artillery fell all around them.

In the old Brebner House build in 1923 as a Nurses Hostel was a plaque which read:

To the Nurses of Singapore and Malaya Commemorating
Their courage And loyalty And their Patient kindness
To the interness of Singapore 1942-45
In deep gratitude from the patients of Singapore Hospital And their friends.

The names of the 129 nurses who worked during the Japanese Occupation in the internees' wards of the General Hospital, the hospitals of Kandang Kerbau, Tan Tock Seng, Middleton and the Mental Hospital were recorded on the plaque.

Near the former Norris Block of the General Hospital beside Hospital Drive is a common grave. The tombstone has a simple wooden cross and the inscription on the tombstone reads:

Beneath this cross lie 107 British soldiers and 300 civilians of many races who perished in captivity in February 1942.
The soldiers are commemorated by name at Kranji War Cemetery.

Immediately after the British Surrender on 15 February 1942 the Japanese Imperial Army gave orders to the authorities of the Singapore General Hospital to evacuate the Hospital within 24 hours. More than 1000 civilian patients who could walk were sent back to their homes. Other civilian patients were transferred to the mental asylum while the military wounded were sent to various other places. The hospital was the occupied by the wounded Japanese soldiers.

Hospital block were named after those medical staff who were killed by Japanese bombing - they were Margaret Brebner, Dr .D.J.Bowyer and Dr. Victor H. Norris. Margaret Brebner, the Matron of the General Hospital, was ordered to leave Singapore; she reluctantly did so but the ship on which she traveled was bombed by the Japanese. Dr Bowyer who was Chief medical Officer was tortured to death by the Japanese and Dr Norris was killed by a bomb at Kandang Kerbau Maternity Hospital.

The Singapore General Hospital is perhaps the most modern one in South-East Asia and is fully air-conditioned. It has now been privatised and is managed by the Singapore General Hospital Private Limited.