In addition, Ms Silver discovered that part of a page detailing what happened to the nurses in a key account had been ripped out, in what she believes was an act of censorship. Prince Harry also made an unexpected appearance in London in March, when he attended a court hearing as part of legal action he is taking against a number of publishers. She knew she was part of this network (to rescue Allied soldiers). The Japanese soldiers had separated men and women on Bangka Island before shooting both groups out of sight of the other. Of the small group of men who were massacred, two are known to have survived: Ernest Lloyd and Eric Germann. She has recently received emails from people who personally knew the nurses. Military historian Lynette Silver is discussing what happened to 22 Australian nurses who were marched into the sea at Bangka Island, Indonesia, and shot with machine guns in February 1942. All except one were killed. Now, a historian has collated evidence indicating they were sexually assaulted beforehand – and that Australian authorities allegedly hushed it up. The other women whose work has revealed evidence of these alleged sexual assaults are broadcaster Tess Lawrence and biographer Barbara Angell.

Ms Lawrence reported in 2017 that, before she died, Ms Bullwinkel confided in her that “most of” the nurses were “violated” before being shot, and that she’d wanted to reveal this but couldn’t – a secret, she said, that “tortured” her. They have been playing together for three years – with their previous biggest win being £12. Thirteen members of the syndicate opted to share news of their win. Carol Hamlyn, 59, said the win meant she could have a dream retirement. Many of her personal documents were left behind in Cockermouth, and years later, when it was assumed she must have been dead, they were donated to the Cumbria county archives. In 1947 she came to stay in Cockermouth, as the guest of a local doctor she met when he was a POW in the hospital in Lille where she worked. The first thing the nurses planned to spend their money on was a bumper batch of cakes and goodies to treat the staff, patients and families at Cleland Hospital.

The group, from Cleland Hospital in Motherwell, each pocketed more than £66,666 after matching a Euromillions UK Millionaire Maker code. A syndicate of 15 hospital nurses from Lanarkshire are celebrating after scooping £1m in the National Lottery. June Fraser, 58, who was in charge of checking tickets each week, said she had used the National Lottery app to check them on Saturday morning. Her diary was later spotted by a French-speaking volunteer archivist who translated it and researched her story. Ms Silver now wants the Australian War Memorial (AWM), which already includes the story of the massacre, to tailor its tours to include this account of the alleged sexual assaults. In 1942, bags supplier a group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre. He told an Australian investigating officer that he heard screams and was told soldiers were “pleasuring themselves on the beach and it’d be the turn of platoon next”. An Australian Defence Force spokesperson says a decision on whether a new investigation into these sexual assault claims will commence is up to the government, but that “new historic allegations can be reported by family” to a unit which investigates such crimes.

The account was by Jean Williams, wife of Major Harold Williams, about investigations he conducted for the Australian War Crimes Section. The Australian historian also cites an account of a Japanese soldier who was being treated for malaria nearby on Bangka Island, which is off Sumatra. According to the Australian government, the perpetrators of the massacre remain unknown and “escaped any punishment for their crime”. Nurse Vivian Bullwinkel was shot in the massacre but survived by playing dead. Olga – alias Thérèse Martin – worked as a Red Cross nurse during both world wars, and as a courier and liaison officer for the French Resistance in the Second World War, for which she was awarded France’s highest military honour, the Croix de Guerre. Olga Baudot de Rouville was a nurse and French Resistance operative during the World War Two, risking her life to help dozens of British soldiers and airmen escape occupied France.

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