The Gibraltar of the East

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Gorque
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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gorque » 29 Dec 2017 13:00

Hi Gooner:

The planning for the naval base was announced in 1923 and it was completed in 1939 and when completed then, it had cost the U. K.in the vicinity of £ 60 million. Adjusted for inflation, this comes to about £ 3,600,000,000.00 in 2016. This is not exactly chump change. The £ 60,000,000 is from the Wiki entry on the Singapore Naval Base which is from a James Morris from Fafewell the Trumpets.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gooner1 » 29 Dec 2017 14:51

Gorque wrote:Hi Gooner:

The planning for the naval base was announced in 1923 and it was completed in 1939 and when completed then, it had cost the U. K.in the vicinity of £ 60 million. Adjusted for inflation, this comes to about £ 3,600,000,000.00 in 2016. This is not exactly chump change. The £ 60,000,000 is from the Wiki entry on the Singapore Naval Base which is from a James Morris from Fafewell the Trumpets.
Wiki article.

The planning for the naval base at Singapore may have begun in 1923 but very little more had been done about it.
The DRC Report of 1934 had this to say:

"At Singapore there is a floating dock and an incomplete graving dock, not yet capable of being used. There are none of the repairing and other facilities of a great dockyard, practically no stocks of ammunition, and no mines or torpedoes. There are no heavy gun defences and the local seaward defences and air defences are incomplete. The floating dock and the stocks of oil fuel at the new base in the Old Strait are exposed to the risk of destruction before the fleet could arrive."

Previous costs and those incurred after and over and above the estimates would certainly have increased the cost of the naval base and its defences, but not to the tune of six-times!

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gooner1 » 29 Dec 2017 15:18

Terry Duncan wrote:
History, post-war staff studies, and reality say Jellicoe was right.
Post-war staff studies? I'd be interested in reading those.

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Gorque
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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gorque » 29 Dec 2017 15:33

Gooner1 wrote: Wiki article.

The planning for the naval base at Singapore may have begun in 1923 but very little more had been done about it.
The DRC Report of 1934 had this to say:

"At Singapore there is a floating dock and an incomplete graving dock, not yet capable of being used. There are none of the repairing and other facilities of a great dockyard, practically no stocks of ammunition, and no mines or torpedoes. There are no heavy gun defences and the local seaward defences and air defences are incomplete. The floating dock and the stocks of oil fuel at the new base in the Old Strait are exposed to the risk of destruction before the fleet could arrive."

Previous costs and those incurred after and over and above the estimates would certainly have increased the cost of the naval base and its defences, but not to the tune of six-times!
Hi Gooner:

I don't have any of the specifics as to how Mr. Morris arrived at the figure of £ 60 million, but I also do not intend to re-invent the wheel.

If you believe that Mr. Morris' figure is incorrect, then by all means feel free to research the amounts spent on the Singapore Naval Base yourself.

BTW: £ 60million/16yrs amounts to £ 3,750,000/yr.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gooner1 » 29 Dec 2017 16:59

Gorque wrote: If you believe that Mr. Morris' figure is incorrect, then by all means feel free to research the amounts spent on the Singapore Naval Base yourself.
Err .. I just have, a bit anyway.

From Defence Expenditure in Future Years, published February 1938, the estimated capital expenditure on the Defended Port of Singapore to the end of 1942 was £6,952,000.

This from an estimated total Capital expenditure of £347,000,000 for the five years. So 2% or so on Singapore.

Total defence estimates for the 1937-41 period were £1,570 millions.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Terry Duncan » 29 Dec 2017 17:56

Gooner1 wrote:Post-war staff studies? I'd be interested in reading those.
I dont know the titles, I can tell you it is part of the reviews and wargaming post-war to see what lessons could be learned from where things went wrong. Similar things went on about Jutland until WWII, just attempting to better Jellicoe's deployment and see if there ever was a second Trafalgar possible - there wasnt!. Kew would hold the originals I believe. It certainly isnt anything dramatic from all I have heard mentioned, just examinations of forces and where they could be best used. Generally the Singapore units come out of it poorly as they were inexperienced and not even always fully equipped.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gorque » 29 Dec 2017 20:09

Gooner1 wrote:
Err .. I just have, a bit anyway.

From Defence Expenditure in Future Years, published February 1938, the estimated capital expenditure on the Defended Port of Singapore to the end of 1942 was £6,952,000.

This from an estimated total Capital expenditure of £347,000,000 for the five years. So 2% or so on Singapore.

Total defence estimates for the 1937-41 period were £1,570 millions.
Hi Gooner:

Keep me informed of what you find as I've scoured the web and everything site I've found quotes the wiki article of £ 60,000,000.

I believe Simon Newman in March 1939: The British Guarantee to Poland makes mention of the defense outlays in the early thirties on Singapore. I remember that he mentions that it did take up a considerable portion of the military budget. I don't remember if he mentions a dollar amount or percentage as I read the study in 2012. I'll check it out, providing I can find the damned book. :)

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by T. A. Gardner » 02 Jan 2018 06:08

Given a more flexible Admiralty and government, Darwin would have made an excellent choice in alternative to Singapore. Sure, at the time it was a nothing town, but that shouldn't bother the RN. It has the makings of a good harbor, could have had a rail line extended to it without too much difficulty, and building a base there was no more or less costly than choosing Singapore.

It too would have been all but unassailable by the Japanese and much easier to defend than Singapore was. The cost savings in coast defenses alone would have been substantial.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gooner1 » 02 Jan 2018 12:04

T. A. Gardner wrote:Given a more flexible Admiralty and government, Darwin would have made an excellent choice in alternative to Singapore. Sure, at the time it was a nothing town, but that shouldn't bother the RN. It has the makings of a good harbor, could have had a rail line extended to it without too much difficulty, and building a base there was no more or less costly than choosing Singapore.

It too would have been all but unassailable by the Japanese and much easier to defend than Singapore was. The cost savings in coast defenses alone would have been substantial.
Darwin's population in 1933 was 1,566 people.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin,_N ... ion_growth

What you propose is pie-in-the-sky.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by antwony » 02 Jan 2018 18:16

T. A. Gardner wrote: It has the makings of a good harbor, could have had a rail line extended to it without too much difficulty, and building a base there was no more or less costly than choosing Singapore.
Apart from some short, often temporary, railways running between mines and harbours/ smelters/ coking plants, etc... and some dinky little toy trains in sugarcane growing areas, Australia doesn't really do trains.

Nearest railway head to Darwin, in the 1930's- 40's was, literally a thousand miles away in Alice Springs.

What you're proposing is making a railway, with more kilometres of track than live in the community it ran to, to service a fleet which senior Australian military personnel doubted would be available to deploy to the Pacific if Britain was at war with Germany.

It's not totally ridiculous as it does seem consistant with some kind of Depression era (I want say Keynesian???) "make work" government programme. Don't think the Australian Federal Govt did much of that and am pretty sure that constructing the new capital to move government departments there would take precedence over a railway to nowhere.

A future complication would be I'm not too sure how capable Port Adelaide, the terminus of the Alice Springs line, was back then. South Australia, where Adelaide is, used 3 different railgauges and presume South Australia's major port, Port Whyalla, would be a different gauge to the Adelaide- Alice Springs line as were; Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, etc...

Your anglophobia, Mr. Gardiner, leads you to make some stupid comments which, for me, detract from your excellent posts concerning the US Navy. You might want to try keeping schtum about all things Commonwealth.
Last edited by antwony on 03 Jan 2018 17:02, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by MarkN » 02 Jan 2018 18:26

Gooner1 wrote:
Gorque wrote: If you believe that Mr. Morris' figure is incorrect, then by all means feel free to research the amounts spent on the Singapore Naval Base yourself.
Err .. I just have, a bit anyway.

From Defence Expenditure in Future Years, published February 1938, the estimated capital expenditure on the Defended Port of Singapore to the end of 1942 was £6,952,000.

This from an estimated total Capital expenditure of £347,000,000 for the five years. So 2% or so on Singapore.

Total defence estimates for the 1937-41 period were £1,570 millions.
If you haven't already done so, I suggest checking the following files at Kew:
WO 32/3632
WO 32/3638
WO 32/3639

:wink:

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by MarkN » 02 Jan 2018 19:46

Whilst contemplating whether to take a trip down Kew way to look at WO 32 files, Hansard is online and offers some interesting commentary.

Singapore Naval Base debate, 4 March 1925
VISCOUNT WIMBORNE had given Notice to call attention to the Government's intention with regard to the proposed naval base at Singapore; and to move for Papers. The noble Viscount said: ...

The question I put to the Government is this: Is that contingency so remote as to justify our spending £10,000,000 on the mud flats at Singapore on coolie labour? There is less objection on that score, I admit, to the floating dock which I understand forms part of the scheme, and which I believe for many purposes is nearly, if not quite, as efficient. That at any rate would employ British labour, and if the battleship were to become obsolete, as some authorities think, that floating dock could be removed and would, I suppose, always possess a commercial value. The floating dock also is comparatively inexpensive as compared with the graving dock which it is proposed to make. The mud flats of Singapore, owing to the alluvial deposit I believe, or some such condition, are notorious among engineering people for causing estimates which were originally thought sufficient to be exceeded.

I am very much afraid that there is good ground for fearing that the estimate of £10,000,000 will prove inadequate for the work. And on that subject I should like to know whether in placing before the House and the country the Singapore scheme, the Government have included anything for the territorial defence of the base when constructed. That must be a considerable item. Troops will have to be there to protect it against attack. And have they included anything for the upkeep and maintenance of the dock when constructed? I think the Government will have to admit that this project involves not only a very large capital outlay, but also a heavy annual expenditure. These are not times when such a thing can be lightly entertained. The present rate of taxation is admitted to be a heavy handicap upon British industry, especially in our overseas markets, and any commitment involving additional expenditure must, I think we will agree, be jealously scrutinised.
Navy Estimates, 1925-26 debate, 23 March 1925: Sums of £11,000,000 are now being requested to create a naval base in Singapore.

Navy Estimates, 1930 debate, 25 March 1930:
The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Mr. George Hall)
The first question put by the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Rear-Admiral Beamish) was whether the Board of Admiralty are satisfied that the amount of oil fuel storage is sufficient to meet requirements. I can assure him that we are quite satisfied that the sum of £2,073,000 is quite sufficient to meet the present requirements.
Singapore Base debate, 22 February 1933
14. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty when the new base at Singapore will be completed; what is the total estimated cost, including the floating dock; and whether it is intended to erect machine shops and other essentials for the repair of battleships?

Sir B. EYRES MONSELL
The date for the completion of the Jackson contract is September, 1935, and we have no reason for supposing that it will not be completed by that date. The total estimate for the contract and contingent services, including the preliminary work carried out by the Admiralty, is £5,145,000; and the cost of the floating dock was £971,000. No decision has been made to erect machine shops, etc., for the repair of battleships.
Navy Estimates, 1934 debate, 19 March 1934:
The CIVIL LORD of the ADMIRALTY (Captain Wallace)

It is quite unusual for the Admiralty to find only one subject raised on Vote 10, and I am extremely obliged to the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) and to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) for enabling me to give, in a very few words, the reason for this increase in the total Estimate for Singapore. The hon. Member for Aberdare, who preceded me as Civil Lord of the Admiralty, will be well aware that this scheme has undergone a number of vicissitudes, and so far from the figure which we have now put into the Estimates being in excess of the original sum proposed, the original scheme as first adumbrated in 1933 allowed for something like £14,000,000 expenditure, of which £12,600,000 was to be borne on Navy Votes. Even, therefore, with the increase of £1,000,000, to which the hon. Member has referred, the amount which is now proposed to spend upon Singapore is actually less than the original Estimate.
And so on and on and on....

Seems £11,000,000 was as good as already spent on basic groundwork and facilities before the 1934-39 year plan was budgeted for, and £2,000,000 just to put oil into storage.

Not sure if the £14,000,000 mentionned in 1934 (allocated in 1933) is in addition to the £11,000,000 already spent or the grand total to that date....

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by MarkN » 02 Jan 2018 20:33

But then....
NAVAL BASE, SINGAPORE (EXPENDITURE).
HC Deb 18 March 1935 vol 299 cc838-9W

Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury the total amount spent, and estimated to be spent, by all the departments on the equipment and defence of the naval base at Singapore?

Mr. COOPER
It is estimated that the total capital expenditure incurred by the defence departments on the equipment and defence of the naval base at Singapore up to the end of the current financial year will be about £7,325,000, and that the amount remaining to be spent is in the neighbourhood of £7,500,000.
Equipment and defence - is the cost of construction included in these numbers????

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by MarkN » 02 Jan 2018 20:52

One more...
SINGAPORE NAVAL BASE (COST).
HC Deb 24 June 1942 vol 380 cc1992-3W

Sir J. Power
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the total cost of constructing and equipping Singapore as a naval base and fortress from the end of the last war until the outbreak of hostilities in September, 1939; and what contributions towards the total cost were made by the Dominions and or other sources?

Captain Crookshank
I have been asked to reply. The total expenditure incurred on the construction and equipment of Singapore during the period mentioned by my hon. Friend was approximately £18,234,000. The following contributions were received towards the cost of the work:

£ 1,000,000 Grant from New Zealand
£ ...250,000 Grant from Hong Kong
£ 2,000,000 Grant from Federated Malay States
£ ...500,000 Gift from Sultan of Johore on occasion of the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty King George V.
£ 3,750,000
In addition to these contributions the Straits Settlement Government presented the site of the Naval Base, and land for military defences amounting in value to approximately £146,000
If you read back the various debates between 1923 and 1935, you will see there was a lot of discussion about how much extra it would cost to defend and protect this 'new' Naval base. The almost £7 million figure presented by Gooner1 above was the allocation to the Army to equip and garrison Singapore for the period concerned - not the total cost since year dot.

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Re: The Gibraltar of the East

Post by Gooner1 » 03 Jan 2018 16:21

MarkN wrote:One more...
SINGAPORE NAVAL BASE (COST).
HC Deb 24 June 1942 vol 380 cc1992-3W

Sir J. Power
asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the total cost of constructing and equipping Singapore as a naval base and fortress from the end of the last war until the outbreak of hostilities in September, 1939; and what contributions towards the total cost were made by the Dominions and or other sources?

Captain Crookshank
I have been asked to reply. The total expenditure incurred on the construction and equipment of Singapore during the period mentioned by my hon. Friend was approximately £18,234,000. The following contributions were received towards the cost of the work:

£ 1,000,000 Grant from New Zealand
£ ...250,000 Grant from Hong Kong
£ 2,000,000 Grant from Federated Malay States
£ ...500,000 Gift from Sultan of Johore on occasion of the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty King George V.
£ 3,750,000
In addition to these contributions the Straits Settlement Government presented the site of the Naval Base, and land for military defences amounting in value to approximately £146,000
If you read back the various debates between 1923 and 1935, you will see there was a lot of discussion about how much extra it would cost to defend and protect this 'new' Naval base. The almost £7 million figure presented by Gooner1 above was the allocation to the Army to equip and garrison Singapore for the period concerned - not the total cost since year dot.

I think you got it :thumbsup: £18,234.000

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