The Head of Australian Defence Staff in Indonesia Commodore Bob Plath has thanked the people of Bangka Island for their assistance in honouring a war time tragedy.
In February 1942, a group of British and Australian civilians and soldiers came ashore on Bangka Island and gathered at Radji Beach. Their ships had been attacked and sunk by the Imperial Japanese army which was sweeping across what is now Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
A Japanese patrol executed up to 50 British soldiers and sailors, before shooting 22 Australian nurses who were forced to walk into the sea to their deaths. Only one of the nurses survived.
Last Thursday, CDRE Plath joined Australian Defence Force nurses and some of the families of those who died on Radji Beach. The Australians were joined by a group of local nurses from nearby Muntok who also laid flowers in the nurse’s memory.