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. Conducted by the South Australian Women’s Memorial Playing Field Trust Inc.