On Thursday 16th February, 140 guests joined the Nurses Memorial Centre Board of Directors to commemorate the 75thAnniversary of the Banka Island Massacre. The evening included presentations by the NMC President, Mrs Karla Freer, Ms Emily Malone (great niece of Betty Jeffrey) and Mr John Bullwinkel (nephew of Vivian Bullwinkel). Thank you to all who attended and helped commemorate an event that brought such sadness and hardship, but also inspiring stories of strength, tenacity and bravery.
A short excerpt from the speech the President, Mrs Karla Freer, gave: ‘We remember the great compassion and respect, of commitment and service shown by these nurses. They were extraordinary in their dedication to their duty in Malaya, long before their evacuation from Singapore. The survivors continued to nurse fellow prisoners throughout their long incarceration despite appalling conditions and the almost total lack of medical supplies. Surely on this commemorative anniversary we must remember their courage – their courage in becoming nurses to start with, and then in volunteering for army service; their courage in dealing daily with the stark realities of nursing in a war zone; of tending to and ensuring the passengers of the Vyner Brooke were off the sinking ship before they themselves left it; and their courage in surviving through years of imprisonment.’