War and History Poetry posted January 24, 2014


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Vivian Bullwinkle - sole female survivor..

Women at War

by Aussie

The ship was strafed by yellow face
Nurses with patients swam for shore
Radji Beach - Banka Island; safe place
Twenty-one nurses and wounded galore.

Joined by one-hundred brave British men
All decided to surrender to Japanese
Japanese found the motley fen
Wounded, dying; Vivian spoke with ease.

Bowing low she found her voice
"We surrender, help us please."
Bandy-legged, gibbering by choice
Japanese marched the men to the seas.

Machine guns spat deadly fire
Allied troops - blood-red foam
Bullwinkle screamed "Japanese liar"
Nurses watched their men go home.

Smoking guns coughed and spat
All the dead men floated still
Japanese kicked nurses where they sat
The women rose with steadfast will.

Twenty-two nurses waded into sea
They knew they would join the men
The guns opened fire - Japanese glee
Silence reigned over them.

Bullwinkle was hit - not dead
She played 'doggo' - hour or more
The waves washed her dose of lead
She made her way to the shore.

Found a soldier she could nurse
They clung together watching still
Bullwinkle let out a wailing curse
"Bastard brutes - I would kill!"

Twelve days they spent waiting for relief
Bullwinkle needed to reach the boat crew
They surrendered to the yellow thief
POW camp became their stew.







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1941 WW2: Vivian Bullwinkle enlisted with the Australian Army as a nurse. Whilst travelling with wounded men and her army nurses, the SS Vyner Brook was strafed by Japanese fighter aircraft - the ship was clearly marked as a hospital ship. The survivors made it to Radji Beach on Banka Island not far from where they had left Singapore. Bullwinkle lost her fight for the British soldier, he died shortly after they were imprisoned with the crew of the ship. She spent three and one half years in the POW camp and after the war was a highly decorated Captain. She died in 2000.
Doggo: to lay still and pretend to be dead.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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