SHOCKING and brutal, the 1942 execution of Australian Army nurses who had survived the bombing of the Vyner Brooke cargo ship on an evacuation dash from Singapore went down as one of the worst war crimes in history committed against Australians. Twenty-one serving nurses were killed in the atrocity which became known as the Bangka Island Massacre. For Melbourne woman Georgina Banks, the Bangka Island story is also a very personal one. Among those gunned down by Japanese soldiers as they were ordered into the sea at Radji Beach off the Indonesian island on February 16, 1942, was Dorothy 'Bud' Elmes, Ms Banks' great aunt. Bud's story and that of her fellow nurses who died in the massacre is retold by Ms Banks in her debut book, Back to Bangka. The first-time author and former actor will be in Warrnambool on Sunday, November 19, 2023, to share her insights into the story as guest speaker of the Warrnambool and District Historical Society's annual general meeting. Drawing on many of Bud's letters home from wartime Singapore, Back to Bangka explores the events surrounding the tragedy and the impact on Bud's family. Warrnambool's Mona Wilton was among 65 Australian nurses evacuated from Singapore on the ill-fated Vyner Brooke. She was one of the 12 Australian nurses who drowned two days before the massacre when the ship went down, becoming the district's only woman to die on active service in World War II. Sister Vivian Bullwinkel, the only nurse to survive the massacre, is the subject of the Australian War Memorial's first sculpture of a woman, unveiled earlier this year. To be held in the Mozart Hall at 2.30pm, Sunday's author talk is open to the public. Bookings at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 55610283.