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'KRAIT - outline of her history'

Date: 1977-1981
Medium: Paper based material
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Helen Stevenson
Object Name: Paper
Object No: ANMS1285[024]

User Terms

    A manuscript of the history oft he KRAIT compiled by William "Bill" Cockbill from the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Master of KRAIT.
    The forward reads : "In the following outline of KRAIT's history, it should be bourne in mind by the reader, that all the inormation gatherd about the life of the vessel has been obtained from various operatives who have served with the vessel during her wartime activities. This outline merely purports to put together different bits of information that have come to light through meeting with the different ex-servicemen and civilians who have been associated with KRAIT since she was first captured, and used in the "Jaywick" raid on Singapore.
    If all the suggestions to enlarge on the story of KRAIT's life story were incorporated in this outline, it would be necessary to write a book about her life.
    I believe the information contained herein is pretty close to the true story of her many and varied activities.
    It is a story which needed to be out together for the record." - Bill Cockbill

    Significance"KRAIT is much more than just a little wooden ship. It is not what she is but what she has done to earn herself a place in the history of Australia.
    She is a dedicated Floating Memorial, a floating legend to perpetuate the memory of those who served in her and is a reminder to all Australians of the courage and service given by many in the building of our
    traditions. She singularly belongs to Australia and to Australians and forms part of our history."
    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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