Applecross RSL to commemorate 75th anniversary of Vyner Brooke tragedy

Applecross RSL president Craig Chapman and Helen Pickering.
Applecross RSL president Craig Chapman and Helen Pickering.

THE Applecross RSL sub branch will hold a special commemorative service to remember the 75th anniversary of the Vyner Brooke tragedy during World War II.

On February 14, 1942, the small vessel Vyner Brooke was carrying 65 Australian nurses who had just been evacuated from Singapore.

It was attacked by bombers and sunk near the Indonesian island of Bangka.

A dozen nurses were killed in the air raid and another 21 were slain by a squad of Japanese soldiers after swimming to shore at Radji Beach.

The remaining 32 nurses, who came ashore elsewhere, were taken prisoner and spent the next three and a half years in squalid Japanese prison camps, where a further eight died of ill treatment, malnutrition or tropical disease.

The commemorative service is expected to last 45 minutes and will be attended by WA Governor Kerry Sanderson, families and friends of the nurses, defence personnel and veterans.

Born to Sing choir will perform, including an a cappella version of Largo, one of the songs sung by nurses detained in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.