|Object type||Black & white, Portrait|
|Physical description||Black & white, Portrait|
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
This item is in the Public Domain
QLD. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of QFX19068 Captain Pearl B. (known as Pearl, Mitz ...
QLD. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of QFX19068 Captain Pearl B. (known as Pearl, Mitz or Mitzi) Mittelheuser, 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 dyas 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, twelve were lost at sea, twenty two 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 Mittelheuser was one of the remaining thirty two nurses who also survived the sinking and were captured as POWs, eight of which later died in captivity. Sister Mittelheuser died of illness on 18 August 1945 in Sumatra. (Photograph copied from original photograph attached to attestation form, lent by Central Army Records Office.)