By: RaY KinZoKu

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Saturday, 8-Dec-2007 00:15 Email | Share | Bookmark
KELANTAN & WW2 : The Pillbox of Pantai Kundor

The quiet & secluded Pantai Kundor or Kundor Beach
Hidden in a nearby coconut grove is a WW2 pillbox
This is no Guadalcanal or Iwo Jima but Kelantan, Malaysia
Compared to other remaining pillboxes in Kelantan ...
..this one is in the best state of natural preservation ...
Remaining like it was more than 60 years ago !
The rush to war could be sensed from the rough finishing
An inside view from one of the loopholes ...
Another view, this time from the entrance ...
The Pillbox of Pantai Kundor

Naminori Senshi.
Chi darake ano sunahama ni

It's 8th of December 2007.

And today, like I always did every year,
again, I dedicate the day's entry to this nearly forgotten episode of a Great War.

Exactly 66 years ago,
the Imperial Japanese army ( Dai-Nippon Teikoku Gun ) declared war on the British in Malaya.

It all started with a midnight invasion through the shores of Kuala Pak Amat in Jajahan Kota Bharu, State of Kelantan, on the northeast coast of the Malay Peninsular, just an hour before the famous ( well publicized ! ) Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor.

So, I was out again looking for another relic from that war, to add to my list of those already found. This time, to to Pantai Kundor ( Kundor Beach ). I knew from available sources that there should be one on Pantai Kundor, only that I have no exact idea where.

From what I learned, the actual battle didn't come to the shore of Pantai Kundor.
The exact landing point 66 years ago was some five kilometers south, at Kuala Pak Amat, which was located very close to an airfield of strategic value. Nevertheless, Pantai Kundor then was as important as Kuala Pak Amat during that decisive moment in history, very much probably had served as one of several crucial, heavily guarded defensive points in WW2 Kelantan.

I first stepped foot there only during " Hari Beruk Sedunia 2007 " ( and no, I am not one of the Beruks .. Never ! ) which was held there some months ago. The relic thing was beyond my sight then. So, I went down the route once again and had my car parked at the very same spot where I parked during the event. Hoping to find something from there. Trying my luck on my own judgment ( rather than asking the locals ), I managed to find it, a 66 years old or so British pillbox, perfectly intact and preserved albeit naturally, hidden in a coconut grove.

So, they say a photo is worth a thousand words and therefore, I concluded my findings with the following shots and ( less than a thousand words each ! ) descriptions :

Pantai Kundor in Daerah Badang, Jajahan Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

A secluded and quiet stretch of sandy beach, facing the South China Sea.

Few people really know how to get here but it is actually located just next to the famous Pantai Cahaya Bulan or dearly known among the locals as PCB. However, getting here is quite tricky. Well, not really if I told you how. From the town centre, take the usual route to Pantai Cahaya Bulan ( Jalan Pantai Cahaya Bulan ) but head towards Kuala Besar ( take a left turn at a T-Junction, pay attention to roadside signboard for direction ). Halfway to Kuala Besar, a signboard bearing the word " Pantai Kundor " with an arrow pointing to the right, will further show the direction to the beach - a distance of 4 km on narrow village road, over narrow bridges, through Malay kampungs and coconut groves.

Kampung Pantai Kundor on the map.

Notice its proximity to the more well known Pantai Cahaya Bulan ( this is an old map, Pantai Cahaya Bulan is written as " Pantai Chinta Berahi ", the former name. Name changed, but the acronym stays, the P.C.B ). Just next to P.C.B is the actual battle site, the small and quiet estuary of Kuala Pak Amat, located next to Pantai Dasar Sabak.

Somewhere in the Pacific ......

Well .... not really. Surely not like what most might think of.

Sure, with sight like this, one would immediately feels like being somewhere in the former pacific theater of the World War 2, either on Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal or even Midway. But such sight is still common in Kelantan. Maybe there is one in your own backyard. This one in Pantai Kundor is surrounded by tall coconut trees and Nipah palm bushes with simple and rustic kampung houses in the background. The pillbox stood in eerie silence - with only warm salty sea breeze to remind visitors of its former purpose.

It is amazing that while much of the former wartime landscapes surrounding the remaining pillboxes throughout Kelantan, had long lost to the elements, human activities whatsoever, this landscape on Pantai Kundor, seems to be exactly like it was 66 years ago. The pillbox itself, being obviously non-cared for and neglected, remains like it was built a year ago.

In battle, knowing where your foes are, is the first step in securing victory.

But, still doesn't mean that you would be the victor.

It is interesting to note that almost all remaining WW2 pillboxes in Kelantan were built to face the sea, proving that the British already knew where and how the Japanese invasion would take place.

Though the Japanese, being made aware of such British preparation through their spy networks in the then Malaya, could simply choose an alternative route through land from Pattani and Singhorra ( their troops landed on both places a day earlier ), they chosed to face the British head to head, instead. I am not sure why but I do know that the attacking force was lucky enough as the defending party were ill equipped as the British decided to pay more attention to the defense of Singapore.

Step in and make yourself like home !

Or maybe not.

The inner cavity of the pillbox seen through one of the loopholes.

What was once stocked with munitions and nervous defenders, is now filled with decaying palm fronds and empty drink cans. This small space is used to be manned by several soldiers on guard during the critical hours, perhaps poking their rifles and machine guns, through loopholes available on each corner. The shoreline itself was probably lined with barb wires and mines at every vulnerable point and the pillbox itself must be the most important point of defense for the troops stationed there.

Reading the tense of pre-invasion through workmanship.

Concrete mixture for everyday constructions is prepared with fine grain of sand to ensure strength and overall quality to the end result. But in wartime, time and material are too precious to be wasted on things that would be blown apart anyway. The tense atmosphere of the time, just before the invasion could be felt through the material used and the outer finishing of the pillbox such as this one in Pantai Kundor. Notice the embedded, seem " out of place " pebbles and small stones ( machine gun loophole ).


These are my previous entries on World War II in Kelantan and those related :


WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Jalan Tok Hakim, Kota Bharu

WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Jalan Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu


WORLD WAR 2 PILLBOX IN KELANTAN : Pantai Irama & Pantai Pulau Belongan , Bachok


WORLD WAR 2 IN JAPAN : A visit to Yasukuni Shrine & Yushukan ( Japanese War Memorial )

WORLD WAR 2 IN JAPAN : Hiroshima ~ The Beginning Of The End

IMPERIALISM : What did we learn ?

Meet The Guillemard !

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