Caroline Ennis & Dorothy ElmesPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

Trees commemorates Caroline Ennis and Dorothy Elmes who were nurses stationed in Singapore in 1942. Ennis died as a result of the bombing of the "Vyner Brooke" and Elmes was massacred by the Japanese on Bangka Island.

On 12 February 1942, with the fall of Singapore to the Japanese imminent, sixty-five Australian Army nurses, including Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, were evacuated from the besieged city on the small coastal steamer Vyner Brooke. As the Vyner Brooke was passing between Sumatra and Borneo, Japanese aircraft bombed and strafed the overloaded ship and it sank quickly.

The survivors in lifeboats were strafed by Japanese aircraft but some reached Bangka Island off the coast of Sumatra. Twelve Australian nurses were either killed in the attack on the ship or drowned in the sea. The remaining fifty-three nurses reached Bangka Island . The 22 Australian nurses were ordered by the Japanese into the sea and shot. Vivian Bullwinkle who pretended to be dead was the only survivor. Realising that the lives of all survivors of the Vyner Brooke would be at risk if the Japanese discovered what she had seen, Sister Bullwinkel concealed her wound from the Japanese and treated it herself. She survived harsh imprisonment to give evidence of the massacre at a war crimes trial in Tokyo in 1947.

Note: The plaque in 1995 has Dorothy Elmes incorrectly listed as Caroline Elms.


Address:King Valley Road, Cheshunt Hall, Cheshunt, 3678
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.799335
Long: 146.430847
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Trees
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:03-September-1939
Actual Event End Date:15-August-1945


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 8th March, 1959
Left Side Inscription

In memory of
Dorothy Gwendolyn Howard Elems (sic)

Died in Active Service

Banka Island

Tree Planted
March 8th 1959

Right Side Inscription

In memory of Caroline Mary Innis (sic)

Died in Active Service

Banka Island

Tree planted
March 8th 1959

Inscription in Proximity

Ash Trees
Planted In The
Hall Centenary Year 1995
In Memory Of
Mary Ennis And Caroline Elms (sic) 
 Who Gave Their Lives
During World War 2

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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