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On Radji Beach : The Story of the Australian Nurses after the Fall of Singapore - Ian W. Shaw

On Radji Beach

The Story of the Australian Nurses after the Fall of Singapore


Published: 1st February 2012
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Published: 1st September 2010
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On 12 February 1942, Singapore was just days away from its fall to the Japanese. As the city burned, hundreds of desperate people scrambled to the docks to flee. Amongst them were 65 Australian Army nurses, who boarded a coastal freighter, the Vyner Brooke.

But theirs was a doomed voyage. Japanese bombers attacked and sank the vessel off Sumatra. Those who survived drifted for up to three days before making landfall on one of the many beaches on Banka Island.

A group of survivors, including 22 nurses, gathered at Radji Beach. They voted to surrender, but the Japanese patrol that found them divided them into three groups and the executions began. In the last group were the Australian nurses, who died in a hail of bullets as they walked, abreast, into the sea.

Miraculously, there was one survivor, Vivian Bullwinkel, who in spite of a bullet wound endured 13 days in the jungle before surrendering to another Japanese patrol. She was reunited with the other surviving Vyner Brooke nurses in a makeshift camp on the island. Three-and-a-half years later, only 24 made it home.

Meticulously researched from the diaries and papers of some of the nurses who survived, this is a moving account of the fate of every nurse who boarded the Vyner Brooke that day.

About The Author

Ian Shaw is passionate about social history, and stories that resonate well beyond the time and place in which they occurred, and which speak of broader characteristics we associate with being "Australian". On Radji Beach is his second book. His third, Glenrowan, is due to be published mid-2012.


Very sad and so true


This is a must read. It is history. We must never let people like these be treated the way that they were. This is a must read for younger Australians. It is our history and our heritage



Never forget our brave Australian girls


This is compelling reading about the brave and inspirational Australian WW11 Army Nurses which must be told. We must be aware of what these beautiful girls did for our country. They must never be forgotten.

Melbourne Australia


Essential reading to honour these brave


Excellent reading for those interested in the story of these brave adventurous women all volunteers.Well researched and accurate.

Adelaide Australia


mans inhumanity to woman


gift for 97 year old bed bound bookworm

burrill lake nsw


australian history


a must read for all australians, what respect for these poor people who did so much for all of us at a terrible price to them. I felt so ignorant to know so little about what they went through. it made me very humble.

sydney au


An amazing story of courage!


Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. This was a part of history that I had not heard of before so I was totally enthralled by the story. It was very well researched and written!



I would recommend that people read this


This book makes you think about what some went thro and showed how they coped.

western australia


On Radji Beach

4.9 7


ISBN: 9780330404259
ISBN-10: 0330404253
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 1st February 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 20.0 x 13.1  x 2.5
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1