Army Bases Ditch Names of Democratic Revolutionaries

A portrait of King Rama IX replace the statues of the revolt leaders at what used to be known as “Phaholyothin Artillery Center.”

BANGKOK — His Majesty the King on Tuesday approved a name change for two military bases, ditching the names of two revolutionaries behind the 1932 democratic revolt.

Phahol Pholphayuhasena Artillery Center and Fort Pibulsongkram in Lopburi province are hereby known as Fort Bhumibol and Fort Sirkit, respectively, after the names of King’s Vajiralongkorn’s parents.

The change was announced in a Royal Government Decree on Tuesday, though the announcement itself was retroactively effective from December 2019.

Phahol Pholphayuhasena and Pibulsongkram were co-leaders of a coup that toppled the absolute monarchy in 1932, and installed parliamentary democracy in Thailand, which was then known as Siam. Both men were army officers who later went on to serve as Prime Ministers.

Tuesday’s announcement did not mention the reason for the name change, though associations between the two revolt leaders and the armed forces were gradually scaled back in recent months.

Their statues were removed from military installations, and the Lopburi artillery base scrubbed the mention of Phahol Pholphayuhasena in its sign as early as January.