1854 marked the humble beginnings of Artillery in Singapore. It was contained within the newly formed Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps (SVRC). The Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps existed till 16 December 1887, when it was disbanded to facilitate the formation of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery (SVA) on 22 Feb 1888. This is the date that the Gunners now see as the birth of their formation. Following its rather abrupt independence, Singapore had to urgently develop a strong and credible military.
In August 1967, Defence Minister Goh Keng Swee tasked a young CPT M S Gill, who had only that year been promoted twice from 2LT, with the responsibility of building up the Artillery. Doctrine was developed based on operational concepts, local terrain and selected training values.
Within a short few months, on 1st June 1967, 20 PDF (Arty) was redesignated as 20 SAB (Singapore Artillery Battalion), and assigned to operate the 120mm Light Tempella Mortar. And on 1st August 1967, the Artillery Training Wing (ATW) was formed in SAFTI. Taman Jurong was the birthplace for much of the Singapore Artillery. 20 SAB, with 9 Officers and 100 men was formed there after its training in the ATW.
1st batch of Artillery Officers
The first batch of 27 regular Artillery officers graduated in 1968. In February the same year, the first intake of 45 artillery national servicemen were conscripted as recruits and sent to the School of Artillery for training. To enable the earlier batch of regular officers to hold senior appointments, an Advanced Tactical Course for Artillery Officers (ATCAO) was conducted in January 1969.
In 1969, it was decided the General Artillery Headquarters should be the highest level of artillery headquarters providing artillery liaison at General Staff and territorial command levels and acting as a tactical and administrative headquarters for all artillery units in the Singapore Armed Forces. The Headquarters at Taman Jurong Camp comprised a General Staff Branch, logistics Branch and a
Manpower Branch. The artillery-training wing became the School of Artillery in November 1969.
1st batch of Artillery Recruits
1970 - 1973
In the 1970s, the units were equipped with the 120mm mortars and new units were formed 21 SAB in 1970, 22 SAB in 1971, 23SAB in 1973, 24 SAB in 1972. With the delivery of the V200 APC, 21 SAB became a self-propelled battalion. In 1971, the first Artillery Staff Officers Course was conducted at the Singapore Command and Staff College at Fort Canning with only 9 students on the course.
1974 - 1983
In 1974 the General Artillery Headquarters was renamed Headquarters Singapore Artillery and all artillery units were similarly redesignated with the suffix Battalion Singapore Artillery. In 1977, the late President Benjamin H. Shears presented the regimental colours of the Singapore Artillery at the Jurong Stadium.
By 1978, the Artillery Reserve Administration was no longer able to meet the training requirements of the reservists and hence the ARTC was established in 1978, As for HQSA that was first sited at Taman Jurong camp until 1976 when it moved to Kangaw Camp. In July 1983, it was given its new home at Khatib Camp.