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The Rock-itt : April 2011
days to get to Singapore, sink as many ships as they could and get back to the Krait. Each canoeist wore a black two piece suit of Japara silk over a khaki shirt, two pairs of black socks and black shoes with reinforced soles. They each carried a .38 revolver and 100 rounds of ammunition. As mentioned before they did not speak any Japanese and as secret agents could expect little mercy from the Japanese. If they were caught each one of them had a Cyanide capsule which would take effect within five seconds of being swallowed. This was an extremely dangerous mission! Whilst waiting to make the attack they were hampered by strong winds and tides and by 26th September they were nearing the end of the window of opportunity that would enable them to reach the waiting Krait. That night, around 8pm, the three two man crews silently entered the harbour at different points quietly selecting their targets. Imagine the tension they must have felt as just a glance from the ship above them would have given the game away. Fortunately their expertise in training and their luck held out whilst they attached their magnetic explosive devices to the Japa- nese ships hulls. Canoe 1 paddled to a 10,000 ton tanker where mines were attached adjacent to the prop shaft and the engine room. Canoe 2 twice crossed the harbour in search or major targets and finally selected three, two 5,000 ton vessels and the Taisyo Maru a 6,000 ton tanker. Canoe 3 went for two new freighters, the Nasusan Maru and the Yamataga Maru. By dawn the canoes were successfully back at their base camp eager to hear the sound of their success. Seven separate explosions were heard be- tween 5.15am and 5.50am and the harbour was boiling with sinking ships and defenders trying to find the perpetrators of this disaster. The canoeist laid low the whole day after the raid and at dusk on September 27th they set out to rendezvous with the Krait. The crew of the waiting ship had spent 16 long days avoiding detection and just short of five days after heaping destruction on the Japanese the canoeists were picked up by the Krait which stole away still unnoticed and headed for Australia. The seemingly impossible Operation Jaywick had been a massive success. The names of the heroes of Operation Jaywick are celebrat- ed in street names in Exmouth and on a me- morial stone in Urangan, Queensland near where they trained for the mission. The MV Krait went on to work in the timber trade in Borneo until in 1963 the Krait Com- mittee was formed in Sydney to bring her back to Australia. Their complete success in that endeavour can be witnessed at the Mari- time Museum in Darling Harbour where the famous vessel is moored. An old lady of the sea with a massive history! There is a local connection to this story, a lady called Margaret Clarke who lives in Syd- ney is the niece of Lance Corporal John Har- dy. He was a member of Services Recon- naissance Department/ Z Special Unit and was chosen along with six of the original members of Operation Jaywick to try to re- peat this dangerous mission in 1944. The repeat operation was called Operation Rimau and John Hardy along with the other members of the team travelled from Australia to the outskirts of Singapore Harbour by sub- marine, Their mission was again to attack and destroy enemy shipping from small boats using magnetic limpet mines. Sadly the mission did not go as planned and had to be abandoned. L/C John Hardy and the remaining men of his unit waited on Mera- pas Island for the submarine HMS Tantalas to come and rescue them but it never arrived. They attempted to make their way south by “island hopping” along the three thousand kilometres of enemy-held territory between Singapore and Australia. In the actions that followed L/C John Hardy with nine others were captured by the Japa- nese and held as a prisoner of war in Singa- pore. At twenty three years of age on 7th July 1945 L/C John Hardy was executed by be- heading. He now rests in peace at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore. Many thanks to Wikipedia, The Maritime Muse- um, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Margaret Clarke for their help in preparing this piece. The route of the 8,00 km voyage undertaken by Operation Jaywick. The Plaque on the wheelhouse of the Krait, dedicated to the brave men of the Jaywick operation. Lance Corporal John Hardy’s final resting place, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.