The Rabaul Nurses Camps 1942-1945

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This is a brief description of the camps in which the nurses of Rabaul New Britain were held. For a full description see my book.

Just before the invasion of Rabaul New Britain in January 1942, the six Government Nurses and one civilian woman from Namanula Hospital were evacuated to Vunapope Mission. The six nurses from the 2/10th field ambulance followed with their patients then the mission nurses were slowly brought in. Vunapope was used as a camp to hold the nurses by the Japanese till they were taken to Japan.

Vunapope Mission

After transportation to Japan the Nurses were first placed at the Bund Hotel where the Australians were first introduced to the American Etta Jones from the island of Attu. There is a full chapter on Etta Jones in my book.

The Bund Hotel 1949.
The Bund Hotel 1949.
Camp location map.
Camp location map. Source NARA

In December 1942 the Nurses were transferred from the Bund Hotel to the Yokohama Amateur Rowing/Yachting Club. Club house address: 7-3 Chome Shinyamashita Yokohama

Yokohama Amateur Rowing/Yachting Club balcony
Yokohama Amateur Rowing/Yachting Club balcony

This is a picture of the clubhouse balcony it is from a YARC 1938 yachting program souvenired by the nurses. It has been enlarged from a tiny thumbnail picture. It is the only photograph I have been able to find of the club house.

During the war the balcony in the photograph above was palisaded in so that the nurses couldn't look directly onto the harbour. Below this balcony was the water front and boat storage area.

Plan of upper story of Club House
Plan of upper story of Club House
Plan of bottom story of Club House.
Plan of bottom story of Club House

In July 1944 the women were transfered to the old Totsuka Hospital. The address of the camp was 4573 Izumi-cho, Totuska-ku. The following photographs were taken in 1949 and are the only ones known to be in existance.

Totsuka Road
Totsuka Road

Behind the pine tree on the right of this picture the track leads up to the old Totsuka hospital that was used as the camp

Front of Totsuka
old Totsuka Hosptial (1949)

The old Totsuka Hosptial (1949) used as camp for Rabaul Nurses and Mrs Jones 1944-45.

front room
front room of Totsuka Hosptial (1949)

This picture is taken inside the room (dining room) on the far left of the picture above.

Side view of building.
Side view of building
Nurses and Etta Jones
Nurses and Etta Jones

Nurses and Etta Jones standing at front of Totsuka building day after liberation 1945. Etta is third from the left in the front row.

floor plan
Totsuka floor plan

The survivors disagree slightly about this floor plan. After 60 years this is only natural. There was an open space in the middle of the building where the women tried to grow vegtables.