St Andrew’s Church at the Airbase

Pete sent across a number of photos from the 1960s, and I’ll be posting them up over the next few days. Here are two of St Andrew’s Church – does anyone know where exactly this is? When was it built? Is it still around today?



St. George’s Church, Minden Road (off Tanglin) is a beautiful Anglican Church built in 1911 for the British soldiers based around that area which was then a military barracks, and is still an active place of worship.


38 thoughts on “St Andrew’s Church at the Airbase

  1. The St Andrews Church I knew in 1960 was situated at the corner of Piccadilly and Oxford Rd. As Boy Scouts we used to march down Piccadilly past Mornington Crescent and turn left down Oxford Road. The Seletar Theatre was next door to it. I see from Google Earth that there looks like a parking lot there now.

  2. Ah, the mystery is solved. Thanks. Yes, unfortunately it is a parking lot now, though if JTC proceeds with its 6-lane motorway, that intersection will be gone completely.

  3. Does anybody know where the Medical Centre/ Sick Bay/Hospital was? I was there 1957 to 1960 – School Captain.

    1. I was based at RAF Seletar from 1955 to 1958 and again from 1961 to 1963. I clearly remember that the medical section/hospital was situated just along the main road after Base Headquarters on the left hand side of the road after the turning which led to the West camp.

      As your query was sent some time ago you may have received an answer from another source by this time. Unfortunately, I have only just found the web site with your query on it.

      I have been back to Singapore about six or seven times in recent years ( I usually go on an annual basis to Singapore/Penang for about a month). I have on occasion spent up to six months at a time there over the past few years and last year went right up to Seletar. I hope this is of help.

      Best wishes and regards from Ray Sangrouber

      1. HI Ray, I have been trying all ways to find you I think that you are the Ray Sangrouber who was at Southfield Grammar School 1947 – 1952 Could you please e-mail me and let me know as I hold a reunion for our class every year at least for those who can make it. 13 have now passed on and I can update you and I will send you some of the photo’s if you would like them and you letme have your address. the last thing I have found out is that you joined the Australian Air Force but I don’t know if you are still there. I have sent you e-mails through Forces Reunited but I have no way of knowing if you have received them Ken Brown

  4. My father was CSFC Chaplain at St Andrews between 1968 and 1970, so these photos bring back memories! It sounds as though the building is no more, but the round stained glass window (depicting St Andrew) shown in the second photograph was still in existence in June 1996 — in the CSFC church at RAF Cranwell — when I last saw it. The window had been recovered from Seletar in 1971 when St Andrews closed, and installed in a new church at RAF Finningley. (Also now closed!)

    Incidentally, St Andrews Church hall was located across Oxford Road? I remember the medical centre/dentist’s being behind St Andrew’s and parallel with Piccadilly.

    1. Kit,, nice to see your notes about St Andrews Church at RAF Seletar. For the life of me,I am unable to remember the name of your sister.I think that she weas younger than you.
      One amusing thing that I remember happened on a Saturday afternoon when I was walking along Jalan Kayu. I saw that a crowd had surrounded a Hillman Minx car that had been driven across two railway sleepers bridging the monsoon drain. As I approached the crowd,I recognised your mother (Joan) sitting mesmerised at the steering wheel.
      There was only an inch or so each side of the sleepers and discussions were trying to decide how to get the car back safely back on the road. One man suggested he put the car into reverse and drive back,but that was far too risky.In the end,some of the men carefully and slowly pushed the car from the precarious location. Once on safe ground, a huge cheeer went up. I spoke to your mum and asked if she ewas o.k. She replied that apart from the embarressment,she was fine. She begged me not to tell your dad,to which I agreed.
      At the Church service next day,your dad let it be known to the congregation what Joan had done. Somehow your dad got wind of it but definitely not from me.
      I last saw your parents during an official visit to RAF Finningly when they liverd at Beech Avenue,not far from from the camp entrance.
      Kit,please come back to this site and pass on more memoirs of your stay at Seletar.There will be many ex Seletarians that will be deloghted to hear them.
      Finally,wher are you located now? I seem to think thast your family emigrated to Canada.

      Best regards

      Ken Benge

    2. Kit, This might be a long shot. But I knew Padre Charles Davison who a a Chaplain of St. Andrews before your Dad.1960-1962. Was the SS Supt for a while and have many happy memories of the Church. Can u tell me if your Dad still had a peal of Bells to ring out each Sunday Morning?

      1. Hello Jim, sorry it’s taken me a while to respond! Now you mention it, I have a dim recollection that the “peal of bells” was a recording (a vinyl record?) played in the Chaplain’s office before the service and linked to a loudspeaker located in one of the trees outside, on the Birdcage Walk/Church Hall side…

      2. Hi Kit tku vm for reply. The chimes of the Bells rang out every Sunday during my time 1960-1962.Happy Memories. I met up with Charles Davison later in Germany when he was the A.P.C at Rheindahlen.
        Happy New Year and Every Blessing

  5. I’ve checked with “Google Maps” as I wasn’t sure about St Andrew’s Church being on the corner of Piccadilly and Oxford Road. It was actually on the (north western) corner of Piccadilly and Old Birdcage Walk, and the Church Hall was across Old Birdcage Walk. I think the C of E/Anglican Church was located in the acute angle of Piccadilly and Oxford Road.

    The medical centre would have been off Hampstead Gardens on the side facing Piccadilly.

  6. Kit Rabson, your father (Donald) was an inspiration to those like me who arrived at Seletar wIth few friends on the camp. I recall Church outings on Thursday evenings. Among the visits were the Sultan Mosque,the Christmas Dinners at Cuscaden House Hotel (no longer there!) and many other places of interest. My wife was Guide Commisioner and I was Treasurer for the Combined Scouts and Girl Guides of which your dad was Officer in Charge.
    I returned to Seletasr camp in 2007 when much of the camp had been occupied by local families. I again visited Seletar in 2009 when most of the houses and married quarters had been demolished to make way for the complete makeover required by the Singaporean government. Jalan Kayu still had some shops but
    major roadworks had ended the quietness of the place.
    I tried in vain to find out where the Rabsons went to after leaving the RAF.
    As you say,the stained glass window is located at the rear of the CSFC Church at RAF Cranwell. I was very sad toi see that the window was hidden away from easy viewing. Inside the Church at Cranwell were items of furniture both from Seletar and Changi. Also saw some of the invitations sent out by Donald at the re-
    of St Andrews at RAF Finningley. Do you remember 1 Beech Avenue,Finningley?
    Ken Benge

    1. Hello Ken Benge! Thanks for your kind recollections of life at Seletar. I have fond memories of Cuscaden House Hotel (including at least one Christmas dinner!), so I am sorry to hear that it has been another casualty of progress. My family often went there on a Saturday evening for “tea” after shopping in Singapore City. My sister still remembers the time that it was her birthday and Rev. Doug Harvey (CSFC Chaplain from Changi I think) brought her a “laughing bag” — although I suspect at the time other customers in the restaurant wished he hadn’t!

      Yes, I have many good memories of life at No. 1 Beech Avenue. I would be happy to fill you in with some of the Rabson’s history since 1973, but this is obviously not the place! You can contact me on “cdrabson at googlemail dot com” if you wish. Regards,

      Kit Rabson.

    2. Hi, we lived at 44 Regent Street from 64-68. I later served in the RAF Regt, interestingly enough a friend of mine from 2 Sqn found the pews from St Andrews Church which went from SIngapore to RAF Catterick and then to RAF Honington and were due to be scrapped so he rescued them, kept some as pews for seating and recycled the rest into furniture.

  7. Hello,
    Probably of no interest to anyone but myself, but I was born in Singapore (Changi Hospital) in 1961, when my father (Flt Sgt Bryan) was stationed at RAF Seletar, and was baptised at St. Andrews Church. My father recently gave me my birth certificate, on the back is a hand written note which says “Baptised according to the Church of Scotland order of service in the Church of St. Andrew, RAF Seletar, Singapore on Sunday 31st December 1961 by me”
    The Rev……………….
    Unfortunately I can’t read the name, it’s Rev C.F. Dawson? or Davison?
    Can anyone help me?
    Shona Trench (nee Bryan)


      1. Thank you Jim….(sorry it’s been 3 years since you replied) I have occasions when I’m busy researching everything and then nothing for a long spell…..
        Good to know his name.

  8. does anyone remember where is Mr Ingleby, Mr And Mrs Poole who were Sunday School teachers at St Andrews church in 1968

  9. Dearest who have enjoy the serenity of Seletar. It is so beautiful to be able to see into your beautiful and wonderful memories. Such a privilege.
    I would like to seek some clarification about a research paper i am doing. It is a precursor to a book that is being written. The indian church in singapore. I personally worship at the Church of the Epiphany. This church was moved out of the camp in 1966. Prior to this the pioneers whom i spoke to speak about ST MARY”S (1947-1949). Before that they used to worship at seletar hanger (1945-46). Even earlier they used to rent a shad at Lor Thanggam.
    The above accounts, does anyone remember otherwise?
    Saint Andrew’s was anglican or free church??
    Group Capt RWG Freer is mentioned on their foundation plaque.

    Would greatly appreciate your insights.

    1. Since no-one else has responded, I will say that Saint Andrew’s was free church. (Officially, CSFC, which was Church of Scotland and Free Churches.)

    2. Hello Mr Isaac, I have just seen your message from 2014. I was at the service in 1966 you mention as my father was the CoE Senior Padre at the station at the time. My father retired from the RAF in 1976 as a Group Captain and is still alive, with very full and sharp memories! The Freers you mentioned remain good family friends. if you want more information please contact me via email. I would be happy to help with your research.

  10. I do remember this lovely church.

    As a boy of 12 or 13, between 1955 – 57 and going through a period of religious interest, I was ‘Confirmed’ there, by the Bishop of Singapore, with a school pal whose name escapes me at the moment. A solemn moment.

    I seem to recall it was on a cross-road, presumably somewhere in the middle of the base?

    1. My Mum Avril nee Haine was a member of the choir. You may remember her? She was 14 in 1957 so you may know who I’m talking about? She was in the choir with John Bennett who worked in the base’s Pay office at that time. You may remember him too? He was 18 years old that year.

      If you do remember please contact me. I’m desperate to find John Bennett. He was my Mums boyfriend at Seletar

      Many thanks

      Sharon Ford

  11. Does anyone remember Avril nee Haine and John Bennett? They were both in the St George Church choir 1956 -1958.
    Avril is my Mum and she was 15 years old when she came back to UK. Her father (my Grandfather) was Ivor ‘Taff’ Haine. He was in the Air Sea Rescue or the Marine Craft unit, Seletar. I’m not sure which.

    John Bennett was Avril’s boyfriend at that time. He worked on the base in the Pay Office serving his National Service.
    He came back to UK a couple months after Mum. He was 19 years old.

    If anyone has any information regarding these people, please please please do get in touch.
    I’m desperately needing to know who may remember them,

    Many thanks
    Sharon Ford

  12. Hi Sharon,
    Just picked up on your posts in 2015 ! ( fascinating, these long gaps between posts and responses? )
    I can’t help you with those names, I’m afraid. I do believe there was a girl in the choir called Beverley Chown (who I secretly adored) and one of our Scoutmasters ( the Base Scout Troop was the 17th Singapore [Eastern] ) was called Albert Bateman. He was a Nat Serviceman and was a butcher from Luton ( I think) Great guy. I think he was in the Air Sea Rescue at Seletar as he took some of us out on one of the fast patrol boats, once or twice and took us all over Sing island, and an island in the Straits, on camping.trips.
    Good luck with your search.

  13. How nice to se all these recollections of RAF Seletar and especially St. Andrews Church. Don Rabson was a truly great person. He always had time to chat with anyone who had the need to share their problems. I think that Don Rabson retired from the RAF as Wg,Cdr and passed away shortly afterwards. I exchanged e mails with kit when he and his mum (Joan) lived in Berkshire,

    1. Ken — a link to your comment has just appeared. I thought you might have gone off-line, as I did try to e-mail you… Sadly, my mother passed away last year after a few months of poor health: it was a shock to all of us.

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  15. Cpl Peter Teague
    Jan 18th 2021

    My daughter found this site and passed it on to me. I was on Seletar base from May 1954 and my wife Barbara (then my fiancé) was flown out in July and we were married in what my marriage certificate says was St Peters Church on the camp. We lived off camp until May 1956 in Paya Lebar Road when I was sent home for demob. We returned on holiday to find the camp under local army air corps control, they allowed us in but the building that had been the Cof E church had been taken over as an engine store. I asked if this nulled our marriage but apparently not! Paya Lebar road in 1956 ended at our bungalow with Ulu on two side but in 1987 the road continued out of sight and was houses in all directions. Our bungalow was still there but highly modernised. After 67 years of marriage we still have happy memories of our 2 year RAF honeymoon, a trip to Kuala Lumpur, many tips to the Services club swimming pool but I have forgotten the name of the restaurant (?Stamford Cafe?) that served a huge mixed grill and the offered free a large mushroom omelette and chips to anyone who felt they needed it!

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