Peggy Everett FARMANER

FARMANER, Peggy Everett

Service Numbers: WX3438, W233413, WX3458, WFX3488, WFX3438
Enlisted: 14 August 1940
Last Rank: Sister
Last Unit: 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station
Born: Claremont, Western Australia, 8 March 1913
Home Town: Claremont, Western Australia
Schooling: Methodist Ladies College, St. Mary's Church of England Grammar School
Occupation: Nurse
Died: Murdered as a POW of Japan in the Bangka Island massacre, Radji Beach, Bangka Island, Netherlands East Indies, 16 February 1942, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
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, Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Bicton Vyner Brooke Tragedy Memorial, W.A., Kapunda Dutton Park Memorial Gardens Nurses Plaques, Launceston Banka Island Massacre, Quairading Memorial Wall, Singapore Memorial Kranji War Cemetery
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Non Warlike Service

14 Aug 1940: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, W233413, General Hospitals - WW2, Involvement: 14/08/1940, (Non-War like, Pre-War) Homeservice; Service: A.A.N.S; Unit: 110th Australian General Hospital. NAA Home Service Record of Staff Nurse: Peggy Everett FARMANER.

World War 2 Service

14 Aug 1940: Enlisted WX3438
14 Aug 1940: Enlisted Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, WX3458, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station, Perth, WA, Australia
14 Aug 1940: Enlisted W233413
18 Nov 1940: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Staff Nurse, WFX3488, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station, Involvement - as per stated: 1/11/1940, relinquishes appt., with 110th Gen. Hosp., appt., to 2/4th A.C.C.S - A.I.F; Auth., MSM No. 75213; (NAA, Pg-13) Service Record of Staff Nurse: Peggy Everett FARMANER, SN WFX3488, (2/4 A.C.C.S., 2nd AIF WW2).
14 Aug 1941: Promoted Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station, Promotion: 14/08/1941, Sister; Unit: 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station; Service: (2/4 A.C.C.S., 2nd AIF WW2); (NAA, Pg's-12,13) Service Record of Sister: Peggy Everett FAMANER.
7 Dec 1941: Involvement Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Nursing Sister, WFX3438, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station, Malaya/Singapore
12 Feb 1942: Embarked Australian Army Nursing Service (WW1), Sister, WFX3488, 2nd/4th Casualty Clearing Station, Evacuated - Embarked Ship - Date and Place of Departure: SS Vyner Brooke, 12/02/1942, Singapore, (with 65 other nurses, and civilians); to Japanese Aircraft Attack - sinking disaster - SS Vyner Brooke - Date and Place: 14/02/1942, Banka Strait (by Banka Island); (AWM) The 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.



Vyner Brooke

Peggy 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 Farmaner, aged 29, 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.

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

The last letters from the Australian Army Nurses, who were executed on Radji Beach, to their families in Australia are so very sad.

"Don’t worry about me mother” wrote Peggy Farmaner on 2 February 1942. Two weeks later she was cruely executed by Japanese soldiers on Radji Beach, Bangka Island.

Sister Peggy Everett Farmaner, WFX 3438, born in 1912 was a member of the 2/4th Casualty Clearing Station.

A newspaper article records that she” … was the daughter of George Frederick Farmaner and Flora Susan Farmaner of 9 Lapsley Place, Claremont, Western Australia and part of an old pioneer family well known in that area. She was educated at Methodist Ladies College and St Mary’s Church of England Grammar School, from where she matriculated. She did her nursing training at Perth Hospital.

“When war was declared she was in Sydney but immediately returned to her home State to enlist. In August 1940 she left on the ‘Queen Mary’ for Malaya. She worked with four other nurses at a Clearing Station in the most forward area of North Johore. The Nurses then moved to Kluang where they established a hospital on a rubber estate. On January 20, 1942 they were again evacuated at two hours notice, were moved to another place, which within 12 hours was found to be the wrong place. From here they moved to Singapore…

“The last letter her parents received from her was written on February 9, 1942. She was killed a week later, ’God knows the position is desperate but I am strangely unperturbed. Don’t worry about me, mother’ she wrote …”. (2)

"Her death was absolutely devastating for everyone," says Peggy's grandniece, Susan Thomson. Peggy completed her primary school education at MLC, and then attended St Mary's Anglican Girl's School for her senior years. After leaving school Peggy trained as a nurse, and when war broke out signed up to the 2/4th Casualty Clearing Station in Malaysia.

Tom Hamilton, the doctor who headed the 2/4th CCS, described her as "a pretty little Western Australian, who was full of fun."

When war was declared on the Japanese on December 8, 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the 2/4th CCS was relocated to the Oldham Hall School.

The newspaper article is accompanied by a photo of Peggy - a refined looking young woman proudly sitting for the photo in her nurse’s uniform. In happier times earlier in her life, a newspaper article and photo (‘West Australian’ 17.6.37) records her at the 9th Annual Ball of the Methodist Ladies College Old Girls Association at the Karra Katta Club.

After the ship sank Peggy reached the lifeboat with Matron Drummond and grabbed a trailing rope (p.169, On Radji Beach) and so reached Radji beach. She was one of the Australian nurses forced into a line facing the sea and murdered by Japanese troops at the beach.

Peggy Farmaner is included in the memorial to all the nurses unveiled in 1999 by Mrs Vivian Statham (nee Bullwinkel) and Wilma Young at Honour Avenue (at the lake near the tennis court of the Botanical Gardens), Kings Park, Bicton, WA. Her plaque is number M264.

Perhaps the best memorial to Peggy is reported to have occurred when the surviving nurses returned to Australia on the ‘Manunda’, “When the nurses spent the night at Hollywood Military Hospital, in Perth, the reception-rooms were banked with flowers.

“For each nurse was a special gift of a posy from the garden of the late Sister P. Farmaner, one of those who died on Bank Beach.

Her mother brought the flowers to her daughter’s comrades …” (“The Australian Womens Weekly” 3.11.45)

Principal Sources

(1) Letter dated 9/2/42 to her mother
(2) (‘The Daily News’ Perth, WA. 19 Sept 1945)
Michael Pether Auckland New Zealand
On Radji Beach by Ian Shaw
Public records