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'Timber men pay to save KRAIT'

Date: 1982
Medium: Paper based material
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Helen Stevenson
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Newspaper
Object No: ANMS1285[009]

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    Description
    A newspaper clipping from The Sydney Morning Herald 30 April 1982 titled 'Timber men pay to save KRAIT'. The article is a letter from a Herald reader telling of the donation of timber from a group of North Coast sawmillers to assist in the restoration of the KRAIT.
    SignificanceThe KRAIT has a long history of service in Australia and was very successful in WWII in an evacuation and attack on Singapore Harbour known as Operation Jaywick. Despite its small size and age, KRAIT came to symbolise the extraordinary courage and resilience that characterised much of Australia's involvement in the war in the Pacific.

    HistoryOriginally a fishing vessel named KOFUKU MARU, KRAIT was built in 1934 in Japan and collected fish from fishermen and ports around the Rhio Archipelago, transporting the catch to markets in Singapore.

    In early World War II the vessel was confined to port and was used by Captain Bill Reynolds to evacuate hundreds of civilians to Sumatra and rescue survivors of ships sunk along the coastline of Sumatra and Malaya. It was renamed KRAIT, a deadly species of snake, and soon was central to the highly successful covert Operation Jaywick in September 1943. Under the cover of darkness and disguised as a Japanese fishing vessel, it took 14 men, 5 British and 9 Australian commandos and Z Special Force personnel, to within 20 miles of Japanese occupied Singapore undetected. Three pairs of operatives in folboats (folding canoes) used limpet mines to blow up and damage seven Japanese tankers and freighters, totalling 37,000 tonnes. A few days later the raiders and KRAIT met the rendezvous point successfully and all members of the unit were returned safely. It was commissioned HMAS KRAIT in 1944.

    After the war KRAIT was sold to a British saw miller for the Borneo timber trade and was renamed PEDANG (Sword). In the late 1950s two Australians, in Borneo for a business trip, recognised the vessel and set up a public appeal and trust fund to purchase the vessel. It returned to Australia in 1964 and was operated by the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol. In 1985 it was transferred to the Australian War Memorial and restoration work was completed by the Sydney Maritime Museum to return it to its wartime appearance. It has been on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum since 1988 and is the focal point for an annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

    In July 2011 one of the last surviving members of Operation Jaywick, RAN Leading Telegraphist Horace "Horrie" Stewart Young passed away.

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