Caroline Mary ENNIS


ENNIS, Caroline Mary

Service Number: VFX38751
Enlisted: 20 August 1940
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 10th Australian General Hospital
Born: Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia, 13 August 1913
Home Town: Swan Hill, Swan Hill, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Lost at Sea - Presumed Drowning (SS Vyner Brooke), Banka Island, Banka Island, Netherlands East Indies, 14 February 1942, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Burial at Sea; (CWGC) Official Commemoration - Memorial Location: Column 14, Singapore Memorial (within Kranji War Cemetery)., Singapore Memorial, Singapore
Memorials: Augusta Australian Army Nursing Sisters Monument, Australian Military Nurses Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bicton Vyner Brooke Tragedy Memorial, W.A., Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital Memorial Rose Garden, Kapunda Dutton Park Memorial Gardens Nurses Plaques, Oxley War Memorial, Singapore Memorial Kranji War Cemetery
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World War 2 Service

20 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, SN VFX38751, 10th Australian General Hospital
20 Aug 1940: Enlisted SN VFX38751, General Hospitals - WW2
7 Dec 1941: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, SN VFX38751, 10th Australian General Hospital , Malaya/Singapore
12 Feb 1942: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, SN VFX38751, 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.
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 Steve Larkins

Sister Caroline Mary Ennis was one of sixty five Australian nurses and over 250 civilian men, women and children evacuated on the SS 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. Of the others  was one of twelve nurses who were lost at sea. She was washed out to sea on a raft along with Matron Paschke and Sisters Clark, Trennery, McDonald, and Dorsch. They were never seen again. Those who made it to shore on Banka Island were taken Prisoner of War (POW) of whom 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. (