Returned Services League personnel, local residents and visitors have paid their respects at the Port Macquarie War Memorial for a commemoration of the Bangka Island massacre.
The massacre occurred on February 16, 1942 when 21 Australian Army nurses, who had survived the sinking of SS Vyner Brooke and surrendered were machine-gunned by Japanese soldiers at Radji Beach, east of Sumatra.
One nurse, Sister Vivian Bullwinkel survived the massacre and spent the following three and a half years as a prisoner of war.
Port Macquarie RSL sub branch president Greg Laird, who spoke at the event said it is a significant event to remember, particularly because Army nurses often went without recognition.
"It means a lot to these girls because Army nurses don't get a lot of recognition," he said
"It does mean a lot to us because I know it does give them a sense of pride and it's nice to get that message out to people in town that this did happen and we shouldn't forget it."
The names of 12 nurses lost at sea and 21 massacred on the beach are commemorated at the Singapore Memorial at Kranji War Cemetery.
Their names also appear on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.
"We were down on Army nurses (this year at the commemoration) because we're all getting older, to have four retired army nurses and one who is a full colonel and still in the reserves is great to see," said Mr Laird.
"The service was started within the RSL by Peg Webster, who was an Army nurse and I gave Peg a pledge when she was not well that I would continue doing this in memory of her and all the nurses."
Vyner Brooke Memorial at Bangka Island, Indonesia records the names of all 65 nurses who were aboard the SS Vyner Brooke.
Twenty four survived and returned to Australia after being in prisoner of war camps for nearly four years.
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