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Malaysian flag found on the vessel MV KRAIT

Date: 1960s
Overall: 440 x 870 x 10 mm
Medium: Fabric, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mrs Cynthia Foley
Object Name: Flag
Object No: 00045647
Related Place:Malaysia,

User Terms

    Malaysian flag made of cloth with reinforced white hoist and small cloth tie holding a wooden toggle at the top. It features a dark blue canton in the upper left quarter and a yellow crescent with 14-pointed star within. Mervyn Goetze of the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol found this flag on board the famous World War II commando raider KRAIT. It was previously used as a rag during the vessel's final years in the timber trade and was probably produced in about 1963, as the design features fourteen stripes.
    SignificanceThis flag is representative of KRAIT and its career.
    HistoryIn 1949 a competition was held to design a flag for the newly established Federation of Malaya. The design chosen from the final three consisted of eleven stripes with a yellow crescent and star on the left side. In May 1950 King George VI gave his consent on the flag's design and the flag of the Federation of Malaya was first flown officially on 26 May 1950. Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined together with the federation to form a new nation called Malaysia in 1963, and the flag was altered to include fourteen states comprising the new federation. On 16 September 1963 the flag was first flown throughout the country to signify the birth of the new nation. To coincide with the event a number of commemorative flags were mass produced to celebrate the independence of Malaysia.

    KRAIT was a Japanese fishing boat, originally named KOFUKU MARU, which was thrown into the spotlight when World War II broke out. The vessel was in Singapore Harbour and was used by Australian civilian Bill Reynolds who escaped from the Japanese-occupied harbour on 12 February 1942 and helped evacuate refugees to Sumatra.

    Upon reaching to Australia, the now-named KRAIT (after an Indian venomous snake) was chosen to take Australian and British volunteer members of the commando unit, with Z Special Unit back to Singapore's Keppel Harbour in September 1943. KRAIT offered the Australian government a unique chance to get close to enemy bases and gather intelligence and perform subterfuge under the guise of a Japanese fishing boat.

    Operation Jaywick was the task given to the unit of the Australian Service Reconnaissance Department which travelled through Indonesia past Bali, as close to Singapore harbour as possible then went to wait in a bay off Borneo. From there, six of the crew got onto three folboats (folding canoes) which were then paddled right into the harbour with the men attaching limpet mines to the ships within the harbour. The mines had just exploded when the six men had vacated the harbour and were on their way back home. Seven Japanese ships were destroyed that night with 40,000 of the 70,000 tonnes of Japanese shipping moored in the harbour damaged.

    On the boat's return to Australia on 19 October 1943, the boat had travelled 6500 km in 48 days, 33 of which were in Japanese occupied waters. The operation was deemed a success but was kept secret in case of similar attacks. In 1944 Operation Rimau took place and KRAIT travelled back to Singapore Harbour. On 5 April 1944, for administrative purposes, KRAIT was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS KRAIT. And on 15 August 1945, the Second World War ended. Darwin's naval Officer in Command was more than happy to be rid of the vessel which was infamous for its breakdowns and problems. KRAIT was moved up to Ambon for the official ceremony of the Japanese surrender.

    In 1947, KRAIT was being used in Borneo to deliver mail between Jesselton in the west and Sandakan in the east. It is said that at this time, KRAIT was used to ship drugs as well as mail around the area. The name was changed to PEDANG which is Malay for 'sword'. In 1958, Australian Dick Greenish began to take steps to bring the vessel back to Australia which was at that time hauling logs at Sandakan.

    Many people got behind the fundraising for the KRAIT which was launched by the Lord Mayor of Sydney and through 'The Sun' newspaper 12 000 pounds was raised to buy the ship and bring her back to Australia.

    The Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol agreed to take on the KRAIT as a training and rescue boat upon its return to Australia. It was during this time that RVCP engineer Mervyn Goetze carried out work on the KRAIT and found the Malaysian flag on board. A committee called 'The KRAIT Memorial Fund Committee' through Z Special Forces Unit worked hard in raising funds and creating awareness for the KRAIT for it to become part of the Australian War Memorial's collection and it is currently on loan and display at the Australian National Maritime Museum (2009).
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Malaysian flag found on the vessel MV KRAIT

    Assigned title: Malaysian flag found on the vessel MV KRAIT

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