Mrs Annabelle Bull was aged 36 in 1942. She and her daughter Hazel survived the sinking of the Vyner Brooke and were later interned in Muntok, Palembang, and Belalau. Hazel was aged 6 in 1942.
Her two other children, Millie and Robyn, were separated from their Mother when the Vyner Brooke was bombed and were believed to have been killed. Instead they were rescued along with a Siamese woman who claimed the children were her own and that her name was ‘Mrs Stanton’. She changed the children’s names to Joan and Peter.
Mrs ‘Stanton’ was probably in fact ‘Mrs Pearson – Siamese’ who had been on the ‘SS Vyner Brooke’ and who appears in the handwritten list of those passengers the survivors believed had died. She had changed the children’s names to protect them so would have had good reason to change her own name. All three reached Java and were placed in camps there.
They were cared for in Camp by Miss Leila Bridgman from the Singapore YWCA who helped arrange for them to be repatriated back to Singapore after the War. Miss Bridgman had been on the Giang Bee. Much later after the war Miss Bridgman wrote an account of what happened to her and the children which can be read HERE.
Soon after the children had been reunited with their parents in Singapore in September 1945, a newspaper correspondent interviewed the children and their mother, Hazel Bull, and wrote the following :