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Keywords:

  • Australian war nurses;
  • history of nursing;
  • massacre of nurses;
  • military nurses;
  • Vivian Bullwinkel

This article describes the series of tragedies 65 Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) women suffered during the fall of Singapore in February 1942, until their rescue from a prisoner-of-war camp in September 1945. The story unfolds through the experiences of one nurse, Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, who was the sole survivor of the massacre of a number of these women on Bangka Island; the article examines her immediate and enduring reaction to this incident.