Sister Bates & Sister WilmottPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Father Ted Doncaster / Bryan Hardy

A plaque commemorates Sister Bates and Sister Wilmott who were among the nurses who were murdered in the massacre at Banka Island in February 1942 during World War Two. 

The Vyner Brook was attacked on the 14th of February in the Bangka Strait and sank within half an hour. While all the nurses survived the bombing, many drowned or were killed by the returning Japanese planes which raked those survivors struggling in the water with deadly machine-gun fire. The 53 remaining nurses staggered ashore in various stages of exhaustion, having spent anywhere from eight to 65 hours in the water.

One group of survivors was washed ashore on Bangka Island. It was a motley group, comprising nurses, soldiers and civilian men and women. Finding themselves in a desperate situation, they surrendered to Japanese soldiers on the 16th of February. The men in the group were immediately led to a beach behind a bluff. The Japanese soldiers returned alone, cleaning their rifles and bayonets in front of the horrified women. The nurses were then ordered to walk into the sea, where they were machine-gunned. Only one nurse survived, Sister Vivian Bullwinkel. Although wounded, she feigned death until she felt certain the Japanese had left the beach.


Address:South Terrace & Sandgate Street, Memorial Park, South Perth Civic Centre, South Perth, 6151
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.988056
Long: 115.867222
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:16-February-1942
Actual Event End Date:16-February-1942


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 12th April, 1999
Front Inscription

In memory of Sister L M I Bates and Sister B Wilmott

Members of the Australian Army Nursing Service and former residents of the District of South Perth who lost their lives in the Massacre at Banka Island (off Sumatra Island) during February 1942.

Unveiled on 12 April 1999 by His Worship the Mayor Mr J E Hardwick JP and Mrs Vivian Statham (Nee Bullwinkel) AO MBE ARRC ED Florence Nightingale Medal, a survivor of the Banka Island Massacre.

On the occasion of commemorating the 100th Anniversary Year of Nursing in the Australian Armed Services.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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