Bangka Strait Memorial Service
On February 16th, 1942, 22 Australian Army Nurses were machine gunned by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army on Bangka Island's Radji Beach in the Dutch East Indies (now known as Indonesia). All but one nurse were killed in the massacre. Five years later, the lone survivor, Vivian Bullwinkel, gave evidence at a war crimes trial in Tokyo, having survived the war.
Thirteen years after the massacre, the first Bangka Strait Memorial Service was held at the South Australian Women's Playing Fields and has been held annually on the Sunday closest to 16th February. The memorial service has expanded its scope of commemoration to Australian women who served their country overseas in the armed forces.
Each year, a guest speaker addresses the Bangka Strait Memorial Service.
A transcript of the 2006 address by Harry Medlin can be accessed here.
The address given by Brigadier Rob Atkinson in 2008 can be accessed here.
In 2013, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, Governor of South Australia, was the guest speaker and you can read a transcript of his address here. His speech offers a more detailed account of what occurred on Radji Beach than the brief overview provided above.
In 2014, Dr Barbara Orchard was the guest speaker and you can learn more about her here.
On Sunday 14 February 2016, the guest speaker was Colonel (Rtd) Susan Neuhaus and a transcript of her speech is available here.
The guest speaker in 2017 was the Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson AO, Director of the Australian War Memorial, and you can read a transcript of his address here.
Next Bangka Day Memorial Service
Sunday 16 February 2020 at 10am