The British set up large-calibre gun fortifications at various points along the island that were aligned to the south, facing the sea in expectation of a seaward Japanese assault.
Consequently, there was a joke that the name Sentosa stood for "So Expensive and Nothing to See Also".
In the nineteenth century, the island was considered important because it protected the passage into Keppel Harbour.
Different versions of how the island came to acquire such an unpropitious name abound: In 1827, Captain Edward Lake of the Bengal Engineers in his report on public works and fortifications had proposed an alternative name for Blakang Mati as the "Island of St George".
However, the island was seen as too unhealthy for habitation and his proposed name was never realised.
Ten years later, the 1st SRRA was disbanded and its guns dismantled.
The coast artillery was replaced with Gurkha infantry units, first the 2/7th Duke of Edinburgh's own Gurkha Rifles and later the 2/10th Princess Mary's own Gurkha Rifles.Even though Indonesia was in close proximity there were few amateurish attempts of direct action by the Indonesians against Singapore, .The Gurkha battalion rotated on a six monthly basis to Borneo where most military action during Confrontation took place.A little discussed fact is that many generations of Malays and Chinese who had lived harmoniously on the island were relocated into high-rise apartments on Singapore, the idyllic island life was lost and not by choice.The island was renamed "Sentosa" in 1972, which means peace and tranquility in Malay (from Sanskrit, Santosha), from a suggestion by the public.Sentosa is marked as Blacan mati (left, above Singapura) in this 1604 map of Singapura by the Portuguese cartographer Manuel Godinho de Erédia.