Photograph of Sergeant Alexander Lavell

Historical note: 

This photograph of Sergeant Alexander Lavell was taken in Australia around 1960. He is wearing the uniform of a sergeant in the 1st Australian Infantry Brigade and on his sleeve you can see the three white chevrons of his rank as a sergeant.Above his sergeant's rank is the formation sign of the 1st Infantry Brigade, the rectangular blue ribbon of the US Presidential Unit Citation that he earned in recognition of his service at the battle of Kapyong, Korea April 1951, and the title of his corps, Royal Australian Infantry.  Above his pocket are the campaign ribbons for his service from the Second World War to the Emergency in Malaya. Alexander Lavell was an Aboriginal man from Victoria who went on to serve in South Vietnam in 1966-67 and retired from the Australian Army with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He regularly attended ANZAC Day marches in Sydney.

Category: 
Photographs
Conflict: 
Second World War
Korean War
Malayan Emergency
Vietnam War
Story: 
Staff Sargeant Alexander Lavell
Production Date: 
c1960

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor