|SISTER IRENE MELVILLE DRUMMOND.|
(THE BLOGGER'S HOME TOWN.)
Irene Melville Drummond
Drummond escaped the ship in a lifeboat and came ashore at Radji Beach, Banka Island. Also on the island were 21 other nurses and 20 British servicemen from another ship that had sunk. Once it was discovered that the island was held by the Japanese, an officer of the Vyner Brooke went to surrender the group to the authorities in Muntok. While he was away Drummond suggested that the civilian women and children should leave for Muntok, which they did. At mid-morning the ship’s officer returned with about 20 Japanese soldiers. They ordered all the wounded men capable of walking to travel around a headland. The nurses heard a quick succession of shots before the Japanese soldiers came back, sat down in front of the women and cleaned their bayonets and rifles. A Japanese officer ordered the remaining 22 nurses and one civilian woman to walk into the surf. As they marched into water, Irene - who was the matron of the group - told the women "chin up girls, I'm proud of you and I love you all." A machine gun was set up on the beach and when the women were waist deep, they were machine-gunned. All but Sister Lt Vivian Bullwinkel were killed.
Drummond was mentioned in dispatches in 1946, and a memorial park, opened at Broken Hill hospital in 1949, commemorates her. She worked at Broken Hill hospital before joining the Australian Regular Army.