Skip to Content

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Sunset service for massacred nurses

Closed
by April 23, 2017 General

Anzac Day Dawn Service at Kings Park. Picture: Michael Wilson

PerthNow

A SUNSET service at Perth’s Kings Park will commemorate the 75th anniversary of a WWII massacre of Australian nurses.

In February 1942, the Vyner Brooke was one of the last ships to leave Singapore with evacuees, including 65 Australian nurses.

The vessel was sunk by Japanese bombers in the Banka Strait.

Survivors who made it to Radji beach, on what is now Indonesia, were separated by Japanese troops.

The men were shot and boyoneted.

The remaining women, 22 nurses and a British civilian, were ordered to wade into the sea and shot in the back.

But one survived – Sister Vivian Bullwinkel.

She went on to tell of the horror of the massacre, writing to the women's families after the war ended and giving evidence at the International War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo.

According to the Australian War Memorial of the 65 Australian nurses on Vyner Brooke, 12 were killed during the air attack or drowned following the sinking, 21 were murdered on Radji Beach, and 32 became internees, eight of whom subsequently died before the end of the war.

Originally published as Sunset service for massacred nurses

Previous
Next