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The Illustrated London News featuring photographs from Operation Jaywick

Date: 24 August 1946
Overall: 370 x 260 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from J Millane
Object Name: Newspaper clipping
Object No: ANMS1380[008]

User Terms

    A page from the Illustrated London News dated 24 August, 1946. The page, titled 'The 1943 "Rubber Canoe Raid" on Singapore: A Gallant War Exploit', features five photographs and a diary extract taken during Operation Jaywick, the raid on Singapore Harbour on 23 September, 1943.
    Despite the resounding success of Operation Jaywick and the devastating failure of Operation Rimau, both missions were not made public for security reasons until the end of World War II.
    The photographs in this edition of the Illustrated London News depict various stages of Operation Jaywick, including one of Lieutenant Bob Page, Major Ivan Lyon and Lieutenant Donald Davidson, toasting their success once they had returned to Australia. All three men would later be killed in Operation Rimau.
    SignificanceThe KRAIT has a long history of service in Australia and was very successful in WWII in an 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.

    Mr Forde, Minister for the Australian Army, revealed to the Australian Parliament on August 1 the story of a brave exploit which he described as one of the best kept secrets of the war. It was the story of four British and ten Australian servicemen who entered Singapore harbour on the night of September 26, 1943, in rubber canoes and, attaching limpet mines and fire bombs to Japanese ships, destroyed seven tankers and cargo boats totalling 37,000 tons. Nine of the men received decorations and the others were mentioned in despatches. The accompanying photographs, received by airmail from Australia, illustrate the heroic exploits of these men.
    Secretly trained for months in Australia, the party travelled 2000 miles unescorted through enemy-patrolled waters in an ancient Japanese fishing vessel, the KRAIT. Anchoring within 21 miles of Singapore, the KRAIT unloaded rubber canoes with stores, in which the men, travelling by night, reached Singapore harbour and were delighted to find it full of shipping. Two nights later, under favourable conditions, the canoes entered and crossed the harbour, watched by numbers of unsuspecting Japanese, After selecting their targets and attaching limpet explosives, the men returned to their temporary hide-out ashore, reaching it before they heard explosion. After reconnaissance to determine the damage achieved, the men returned in their canoes to the KRAIT and sailed for Australia. In a subsequent raid in 1944, six of the men were captured and 'executed with honours' by the Japanese who issued an order of the day praising their heroism. The British servicemen who took part in the raid were Captain (later Lieut.Colonel) I.Lyons, Gordon Highlanders, subsequently killed, awarded the D.S.O; Corporal R.G. Morris, R.A.M.C., awarded the M.M.; Lieut. (later Lieut.Commander) D.N. Davidson, R.N.V.R., subsequently killed, awarded the D.S.O.; and Leading Stoker J.P. McDowell, R.N., awarded the D.S.M."

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