Alma May BEARD


BEARD, Alma May

Service Number: WFX11175
Enlisted: 15 August 1941, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 2nd/13th Australian General Hospital
Born: Toodyay, Western Australia, 14 January 1913
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Nursing sister
Died: Killed in Action (Murdered - POW of Japan), Banka Island, 16 February 1942, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Singapore Memorial (Kranji War Cemetery)
No known grave - column 141 She and the other nurses are commemorated on the Wartime Nurses Memorial of First and Second World Wars, at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire, England. It was dedicated 4 June 2018 by HRH Countess of Wessex GCVO
Memorials: Australian Army Nursing Sisters Monument, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Banka Island Massacre, Kranji Singapore Memorial, Vyner Brooke Tragedy Memorial, W.A.
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World War 2 Service

15 Aug 1941: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service, Sister, SN WFX11175, Perth, Western Australia
7 Dec 1941: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Sister, SN WFX11175, 2nd/13th Australian General Hospital, Malaya/Singapore
12 Feb 1942: Embarked 2nd AIF WW 2, SN WFX11175, 2nd/13th Australian General Hospital, Evacuated - Embarked Ship: SS Vyner Brooke (with 65 other nurses, and 116 civilians) Date and Place of Departure: 12/02/1942, Singapore; to Banka Strait (by Banka Island) Attacked by Japanese Aircraft; Disaster - Sinking of SS Vyner Brooke - Date: 14/02/1942; (AWM) Sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke.
16 Feb 1942: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Sister, SN WFX11175, 2nd/13th Australian General Hospital, Prisoners of War


Emotional Welcome As Gallant Women Return

Fremantle, Western Australia; The Australian Women's Weekly

Saturday; 3 November 1945, Page 19.


BY: Josephine O'Neill

No legendary figures, but ordinary women, you, who died

Facing the water, last glance each to each

Along the beach, leaving your bodies to the accustomed surf

Your hearts to home

No legendary figures, but ordinary women, you, who lived

Holding the spirit, through the camps slow slime

Unsoiled by time ...

Bringing your laughter out of degraded toil

As a gift to home

As ordinary women, by your dying you fortify the mind

As ordinary women, by your living you honor all mankind.


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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"...WFX11175 Sister Alma May Beard, 2/13th Australian General Hospital, Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). She was one of sixty five Australian nurses and over 250 civilian men, women and children evacuated on the Vyner Brooke from Singapore, three days 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 on board, twelve were lost as sea and thirty two survived the sinking and were captured as Prisoners of War (POWs) of which eight later died during captivity. Sister Beard was one of the remaining twenty two nurses who also 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." - SOURCE (