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OP Jaywick Update

26–27 SEP 1943: World War II and Operation Jaywick destroys Japanese shipping. An Australian Special Operations Australia Unit operating from the former fishing vessel, Krait, mines Japanese ships in Singapore Harbour. Seven ships were sank or badly damaged.

Operation Jaywick was a raid on shipping in Japanese-occupied Singapore harbour between September and October 1943. The raid was carried out by members of Special Operations Australia (SOA) from Z Special Unit. The team comprised of four British soldiers, and 11 AIF and Royal Australian Navy personnel, commanded by a British officer, Major Ivan Lyon.

Disguised as Malay fishermen, Lyon’s team travelled from Exmouth in Western Australia to Subor Island, 11 kilometres from Singapore, in a captured boat, renamed the MV Krait. The Krait was a slow-moving, wooden-hulled vessel about twenty metres long and sporadically suffered engine trouble for the duration of the voyage.

On reaching the island three-and-a-half weeks after leaving Australia, the team launched three two-man collapsible canoes (folboats). Lyon and five others then paddled into Singapore harbour. Arriving at night they split up and slipped from ship to ship attaching limpet mines, paddling another 80 kilometres to rendezvous with Krait six days later on 2 October.

When the mines exploded, seven ships were sank or badly damaged. The Krait recovered its intrepid but exhausted canoeists and travelled back to Australia, arriving at Exmouth on 19 October 1943.

Photo: Group portrait after the completion of Operation Jaywick, “Z” Special Unit, Australian Services Reconnaissance Department, showing the personnel who carried out the operation. Back row, left to right:- PA2717 Able Seaman (AB) Mostyn Berryman, RAN; B3666 AB Frederick Walter Lota Marsh, RAN, who died on 1 February 1945 while a member of “Z” Special Unit; F3383 AB Arthur Walter Jones, RAN; B3312 AB Andrew William George Huston, RAN, who died on 1 November 1944 while a member of “Z” Special Unit. Centre row:- QX19907 Corporal (Cpl) Andrew Anthony Crilly, 2nd AIF; B/1506 Acting Leading Seaman Kevin Patrick Cain, RAN; B/2575 Leading Stoker James Patrick McDowell, RN; S3428 Leading Telegraphist Horace Stewart Young, RAN; S/6543 AB Walter Gordon Falls, RAN, who was executed by the Japanese on 7 July 1945 while a member of “Z” Special Unit; Cpl R G Morris, RAMC; Front row from left to right – Lieutenant (Lt) Hubert Edward Carse, RANVR; Lt Donald Montague Noel Davidson, RNVR, who died on 18 October 1944 while a member of “Z” Special Unit; 66175 Major (Maj) Ivan Lyon, MBE, The Gordon Highlanders (officer commanding Operation Jaywick), who was killed in action on 16 October 1944 while a member of “Z” Special Unit ; Maj Herbert Alan Campbell, CBE, OBE, King’s Own Scottish Borderers (did not accompany the expedition); NX19158 Lieutenant Robert Charles Page, 2nd AIF, who was executed by the Japanese on 7 July 1945 while a member of “Z” Special Unit.

Operation Jaywick was conducted from 1 September 1943 to 19 November 1943 and involved a clandestine attack by a group of six allied operatives against Japanese shipping at Singapore. More;

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