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Defending Singapore

As a small, young and vulnerable nation, we faced daunting security challenges in our early years.

National Service was introduced to address these concerns, serving as a cornerstone for the building of a shared national identity and a strong defence force. Singaporeans stepped forward to defend our nation.


Mr Timothy de Souza training to be a pilot in the United Kingdom at the tender age of 21 back in December 1968.

Courtesy of Mr Timothy de Souza.

Mr de Souza graduated with the first batch of pilots from the Republic of Singapore’s Air Force in 1968 after being trained at the SAFTI Military Institute as part of the pioneer batch of Officers.

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What drove Mr de Souza to step forward to defend his home and nation?

This medal, commissioned by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, was presented to the first batch of 900 National Service enlistees in 1967. It bears the Chinese words “尽忠报国”, which stands for one’s utmost loyalty in serving the country.

Collection of the National Museum Singapore, National Heritage Board.

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