Singaporeans who have underwent military training should be aware of the ghostly story of Pulau Tekong 3 door bunk that is located was located in Pulau Tekong Camp 1. Camp 1 is now defunc.
I was part of that batch of recruits when Recruit Tham W.K died.
In April 1983, the recruits in Charlie Company, Infantry Training Depot were preparing for their 16 KM route march. The OC of the coy as per protocol, asked whether the recruits were feeling unwell. None raise their hand. However, one Recruit Tham was down with flu but kept quiet.
The scorching weather took its toll on some recruits who gradually fall out who were picked up by instructors at the rear of the marching troops. Recruit Tham fell out and managed to slip away.
During the breaks, the head-counts did not surface anything amiss as Tham was assumed to be with the medical orderly. They commanders realised Tham has went missing when the recruits return their arms to the armoury later that evening.
A search party was organised to look for Tham and went on throughout the night. They did not find him.
Camp 1 suspended training and the search went on. Tham’s platoon commander found a half pitched tent and Tham laid inside, dead. Tham was holding a water bottle with its cover opened.
A post-mortem showed that Tham had seemingly died of stomach rupture. His body temperature was high from the heat of the route march but he went against the advice of instructors by he gulping down massive amounts of water suddenly. It has the same effect of pouring ice cubes into a thin glass of hot water, which can cause the glass to crack. However, the post mortem also found puncture marks on his body, which could not be explained to this day.
Tham was promoted to NCO and cremated at Mount Vernon with full military honours. The NCOs returned to the site where he died to offer incense and prayers. One NCO asked the late Tham not to come back and haunt the rest, but rather to express his last wishes in a dream so that his soul could rest in peace after his wishes were fulfilled.
But Tham returned to haunt the rest.
One of the instructors came to the Platoon 9 bunk to remove his personal effects. When he opened up his metal cupboard, there was a foul stench from inside that could not be explained.
Some trainees of Charlie Company heard Tham’s shouting for the platoon to fall in at the common company compound.
One of the platoon 9 section mates woke up in the middle of the night and saw the white figure of Tham’s standing in front of his former cupboard.
During one of the subsequent route marches by Golf Company, the company noticed a figure of a soldier in full battle order standing in the distance among some trees. The OC dashed forward to take a closer look. He quickly ordered the whole company to double past without slowing down to see what he saw. Subsequent route marches were diverted to avoid that area.
The last I heard is that Tham’s former bunk was converted into a store room and padlocked. But when I left Tekong in 1983, that bunk was not known to have three doors.
Editor’s Note: Do you know anything about the mysterious three door bunk? E-mail us: [email protected]