Mary Dorothea CLARKE


CLARKE, Mary Dorothea

Service Number: NFX70938
Enlisted: 7 January 1941, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 10th Australian General Hospital
Born: Rylstone, New South Wales, 20 July 1911
Home Town: Bulli, Wollongong, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Nursing Sister
Died: Lost at Sea - Presumed Drowning (SS Vyner Brooke), Banka Island, 14 February 1942, aged 30 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
At Sea; (CWGC) Official Commemoration - Memorial Location: Column 141, Singapore Memorial (within Kranji War Cemetery).
Memorials: Augusta Australian Army Nursing Sisters Monument, Australian Military Nurses Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital Memorial Rose Garden, Singapore Memorial Kranji War Cemetery, Vyner Brooke Tragedy Memorial, W.A.
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World War 2 Service

7 Jan 1941: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service, Sister, SN NFX70938, Australian Army Nursing Service, Sydney, New South Wales
12 Feb 1942: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service, Sister, SN NFX70938, 10th 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.
14 Feb 1942: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service, Sister, SN NFX70938, 10th Australian General Hospital , Malaya/Singapore
15 Feb 1942: Imprisoned Malaya/Singapore


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

"NFX70938 Sister Mary Dorothea Clarke, 2/10th 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, thirty two survived the sinking and were taken Prisoner of War (POW) of which eight later died in captivity, another twenty two 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. Sister Clarke, aged 30, was one of twelve nurses who were lost at sea. She was washed out to sea on a raft along with Matron Paschke and Sister's Trenery, McDonald, Dorsch and Ennis. They were never seen again. She was the daughter of Percival Henry and Flora Clarke of Rylstone, NSW..." - SOURCE (