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     1 SIR turns 50

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Factsheet: 1st Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR)


1 SIR was formed on 12 Mar 1957 against the backdrop of impending self-government. Recruitment began on 4 Mar 1957 at the British Army's Malayan Recruiting Centre at Bras Basah Road as well as the Government Exchange at Havelock Road and Chua Chu Kang Road. Only people born in Singapore were recruited. Out of a total of 1,420 applicants, only 237 were accepted for training.

By July 1959, the unit had a total strength of 654 officers and men under the command of LTC R. W. Stephenson and was based at Ulu Pandan Camp. It was not until March 1963 that 1 SIR reached its full strength of 816 men.

1 SIR Today

1 SIR is one of six active infantry battalions in the SAF and comes under the command of 2nd Singapore Infantry Brigade (2 SIB). The enlistment and training cycles are based on a two-year mono-intake system which also caters for basic military training.

Besides training, 1 SIR also plays an important role in the Army's transformation efforts in testing and validating new doctrines for the 3rd Generation Army.

1 SIR Cap Badge

The first cap badge of 1 SIR was one of a lion standing on a tower. The "lion" represented the sacred animal of the land and the "tower" represented a city, thus denoting the "Lion City". This logo reflected the British influence with richness and grandeur. A parade was held at Ulu Pandan Camp on 11 March 1961 to introduce
the Battalion Cap Badge to establish the identity of the battalion. The first Regimental Badge was replaced in 1986 by one bearing the State Coat of Arms with the motto "Yang Pertama dan Utama" ("First and Foremost").


Significant milestones include:

1961: The Yang di-Pertuan Negara, Inche Yusof Bin Ishak, presented the Queen's Colours and the Regimental Colours to 1 SIR on 27 July 1961.

1967: The start of National Service led to many of 1 SIR's experienced commanders being called upon to train the new servicemen.

1968: 1 SIR came under the command of 2 SIB in June and in October, 1 SIR started training national servicemen.

1969: 1 SIR moved to a new home at Guillemard Camp in January and became a fully operational national service battalion by end 1969.

1973: 1 SIR supported the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games or SEAP Games by providing manpower to ensure the smooth running of the games.

1980: 1 SIR received her first mono-intake on 26 December 1980. Besides training young Singaporean men to become confident soldiers, 1 SIR was also actively involved in National Day Parade in the areas of show support and show management.

1986: The present "Leopard" unit symbol was unveiled by LG(Ret) Winston Choo, then Chief of General Staff on 14 March. Since then, the name "Leopard" has become synonymous with the men and commanders of 1 SIR.

1993: 1 SIR provided manpower to support the SEA Games closing ceremony in a performance entitled 'Flames of Unity' which was hailed as "eye-catching and beautiful" by the local press.

: 1 SIR moved to her present home at Mandai Hill Camp in September. To commemorate the re-location of 1 SIR, a parade and a special Leopards' Homecoming event were held at Guillemard Camp.

Significant Operations

As the first regular infantry battalion in the SAF, the early days of 1 SIR saw her play an active role in protecting Singapore's internal security during the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 1970s. The operations that 1 SIR took part in included:

  • Performing escort and crowd dispersal duties during the Public Works Department strike in 1961.
  • Maintaining road blocks and cordoning off affected areas after the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1963.
  • Conducting border patrols at Sabah during the Confrontation (1963-1964).
  • Assisting the police in foot and vehicle patrols, road blocks and cordon and search operations in Chinatown and Tiong Bahru during the 1964 racial riots.
  • Operation Thunderstorm to prevent South Vietnamese refugees from entering and staying in Singapore.
  • Assisting in the rescue operations during the Hotel New World disaster in March 1986.


1 SIR has consistently done well in the SAF's annual Best Unit Competition. To date, 1 SIR has won the Best Combat Unit award twice in 1970 and 1998. It has also won the Best Infantry Unit seven times in 1970, 1976, 1977, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2005.

Source: News Release 9 Jul 2007