Friday, June 29, 2012

Thames (NZ): Thames-ites' war service in WWII

In the near future, when I complete work on the nurses' of Thames Hospital, the next project will be...

Collecting information on the men and women who served in World War Two, who came from the wider Thames area. In the first instance a record of those who were killed in action. Anyone with information on family members, you are welcome to email me or leave the information at The Treasury, Thames. The collection wil be held at The Treasury, where there is already information on soldiers of the South African (Boer) War.

A nurse who trained at Thames Hospital and registered in July 1932, died in a POW camp in 1945 - GLADYS LAURA HUGHES, Registered Nurse No 7365.
Auckland Star 6/10/1945
Source: Australian War Memorial Museum
Lieutenant Hughes' service number was VFX61331, in the Australian Army (Unit: 113th Australian General Hospital AANS)
Date of death: 31 May 1945  Place of death: Sumatra, Indonesia Cause of death: Illness

"She was one of sixty five Australian nurses and over 250 civilian men, women and children evacuated on the Vyner Brooke from Singapore three dyas before the fall of Malaya. The Vyner Brooke was bombed by Japanese aircraft and sunk in Banka Strait on 14 February 1942. Of the sixty five nurses, twelve were lost at sea, twenty two survived the sinking and were washed ashore on Radji Beach, Banka Island, where they surrendered to the Japanese along with twenty five British soldiers. On 16 February 1942 the group was massacred, the soldiers were bayoneted and the nurses were ordered to march into the sea where they were shot. Only Sister Vivian Bullwinkel and a British soldier survived the massacre. Both were taken POW, but only Sister Bullwinkel survived the war. Sister Hughes was one of the remaining thirty two nurses who also survived the sinking and were captured as POWs, eight of which later died in captivity. Sister Hughes, aged 33, died of illness on 31 May 1945 in Sumatra." Source: Australian War Memorial Museum