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Our Committee is raising funds to create a lasting legacy telling the story of Lemnos' link to Gallipoli and Australia's Anzac story. Our projects include the Lemnos Gallipoli Memorial in Albert Park, the publication of a major new historical and pictorial publication and more. To make a donation you can also deposit directly by direct debit into the Committee's bank account: Account Name: Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee Inc; Bank: Delphi Bank; Account No: 204299-020 BSB No: 941300; Include your surname in the reference section. For further information on our legacy projects or to make a donation please contact either Lee Tarlamis 0411553009 or Jim Claven 0409402388M

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Bangka Island 75th anniversary commemorative service - Melbourne Nurses Memorial Centre

Photo Jim Claven 2017

It was an honour earlier this evening to attend the 75th anniversary commemorative service for the Bangka Island massacre of 16th February 1942 held by Melbourne's Nurses Memorial Centre.
There were over 120 people present, including representatives of the Army and Air Force, as well as many former nurses and senior medical staff.
I attended the event with Committee member Ange Kenos, who is also President of the Essendon RSL sub-branch (pictured above).
Photo Jim Claven 2017

NMC President Karla Freer opened proceedings with a presentation telling the story of the Australian nurses at Singapore and the subsequent deaths of the nurses from the SS Vyner Brooke. There were also moving addresses by relatives of some of the 65 Australian nurses who were aboard the SS Vyner Brooke in February 1942, including Mr John Bullwinkel (nephew of Lt. Col Vivian Bullwinkel AO, MBE, ARRC, Ed, FNM) and Ms Emily Malone (a relative of Nurse Betty Jeffrey OAM). A message from the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Daniel Andrews, was read to the assembly. Mr Murray Thompson, MLA, also attended the event.

Photo Jim Claven 2017
The commemorative display included the photographs of all of the Australian nurses killed as a result of the sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke and the subsequent massacre at Radji Beach on Bangka Island. The Australian Army Nursing Service uniform of Lieutenant Clarice Halligan, who was killed at Radji Beach, was on display (pictured below). Also on display were the medals of Colonel Annie Sage, RRC, Matron-in-Chief Australian Army Nursing Service, who was part of the Australian team that made first contact with the surviving nurses in their Japanese POW camp in 1945 (pictured below).
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017

Following the presentations, a short service was held at the WW2 nurses memorial on St Kilda Road. RAAF Group Captain Chris Potter read the ode to the fallen.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017

Photo Jim Claven 2017
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Also present were Maggie Stowers and her fellow volunteers and supporters from the Queenscliffe Historical Museum, who helped restore the gravestone of Nurse Violet Duddy who served on Lemnos in 1915.
Photo Jim Claven 2017
Thanks to NMC President Karla Freer and all at the NMC for putting together this important commemorative occasion.NMC Vice-President and our Committee Treasurer, Arlene Bennett, is currently on Bangka Island to attend the service being held on the site of the massacre of the Australian nurses. We look forward to her report on and photographs of this important overseas commemorative event.
For more information on the Australian nurses on the SS Vyner Brooke and at Bangka Island massacre go to my previous post by clicking here.

Jim Claven
Secretary
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee

1 comment:

  1. A very moving evening. Sadly, only one MP present - the highly respected Murray Thompson. Sadly, no media present.

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