Greta Westwood attended the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress in Singapore 27th June -1st July. She was accompanied by Colodia Muzvidziwa a nurse with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC). Of importance to the FNF the Nursing Now, Nightingale Challenge was launched by Lord Nigel Crisp. This campaign asks every health employer around the world to provide leadership and development training for a group of their young nurses and midwives during 2020.
The aim is to have at least 1,000 employers accepting the Nightingale Challenge, benefiting over 20,000 nurses and midwives aged 35 and under during 2020. Your organisation can sign up today.
Greta also arranged a visit to Kranji Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery with some scholars and other nurses who attended the ICN Congress. The British High Commissioner supported the visit and
Commander Martin Moore, the United Kingdom Defence Adviser commented:
“It was an honour to host the Florence Nightingale Foundation and UK nurses attending the International Council of Nurses Congress at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission at Kranji. It was fitting that the Foundation were able to remember the sacrifices of our forbears and also reflect on the excellence and dedication of our medical professionals”.
During our Remembrance Service the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Santa Filomena” was recited and wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph and the Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial.
The service was held on the hill overlooking where the Japanese Imperial Army invaded in February 1942. After the fall of the island the Japanese set up a prisoner of war camp at Kranji, and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands where many who succumbed to their injuries are now buried here, therefore it is relevant to highlight the Nursing contribution of our forbears and the inspiration provided by Florence Nightingale.
Greta Westwood commented:
“Such a memorable reflective day with Florence Nightingale Scholars and UK nurses attending the ICN Congress 2019. I was honoured to lay a wreath on behalf of the FNF and with Sgt Colodia Muzvidziwa on behalf of the QARANC Association. We remembered those who gave the ultimate sacrifice; they gave their today for our tomorrow”.
Those who attended the visit were: Alumni Leadership Scholars Nicola Ryley, Emma Wadey and Lian Lee, current Leadership Scholar Mary Frances McMacnus, colleagues from Nursing Now included Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Barbara Stillwell, Kathryn Irwin and Jane Dwelly Nightingale2020 Conferecne Director.
Before 1939 the Kranji area was a military camp, and at the time of the Japanese invasion of Malaya was the site of a large ammunition magazine. On February 8th, 1942, the Japanese crossed the Johore Straits in strength, landing at the mouth of the Kranji River within two miles of the place where the war cemetery now stands. On the evening of February 9th, they launched an attack between the river and the causeway. During the next few days fierce fighting ensued, in many cases hand to hand, until their greatly superior numbers and air strength necessitated a withdrawal. After the fall of the island the Japanese set up a prisoner of war camp at Kranji, and eventually a hospital was organised nearby at Woodlands, which was staffed by British and Australian personnel, the British predominating. The small cemetery started at Kranji by the prisoners was the origin of the large war cemetery created by the Army Graves Service after the re-occupation of Singapore.
The SINGAPORE MEMORIAL, bearing the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave. Many of these have no known date of death and are accorded within the CWGC records the date or period from when they were known to be missing or captured.
The SINGAPORE CIVIL HOSPITAL GRAVE MEMORIAL. During the last hours of the Battle of Singapore, wounded civilians and servicemen taken prisoner by the Japanese were brought to the hospital in their hundreds. The number of fatalities was such that burial in the normal manner was impossible. Before the war, an emergency water tank had been dug in the grounds of the hospital and this was used as a grave for more than 400 civilians and Commonwealth servicemen. After the war, it was decided that as individual identification of the dead would be impossible, the grave should be left undisturbed. The grave was suitably enclosed, consecrated by the Bishop of Singapore, and a cross in memory of all of those buried there was erected over it by the military authorities. The 107 Commonwealth casualties buried in the grave are commemorated on the Singapore Civil Hospital Grave Memorial. Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes.