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'The man who skippered her recalls for Army the first secret mission of the KRAIT'

Date: 14 September 1967
Overall: 396 x 276 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from J Millane
Object Name: Newspaper clipping
Object No: ANMS1380[052]

User Terms

    An article from the Australian Army's newspaper, The Soldiers Newspaper, Vol 9, No 10, dated September 14 1967.
    The article is titled 'The man who skippered her recalls for Army the first secret mission of the KRAIT' and features a photograph of Ted Carse and Horrie Young, both original crew members of the KRAIT.

    The article is the story of Ted Carse, captain of the KRAIT during Operation Jaywick. Carse tells how he came to be part of Z Special Unit and ended up on Operation Jaywick and what is was like during the mission.

    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.
    HistoryLieutenant Hubert Edward Carse, known as Ted Carse, was the captain aboard the KRAIT during Operation Jaywick in 1943. He was selected by the Director of Naval Intelligence to be part of a small and secretive unit, AISD, which he had not heard of but agreed to. As Carse tells the ARMY newspaper "I reported to DNI at the Navy Office in St. Kilda Road and was told by Cocky Long that he wanted someone to take a small ship into enemy waters.
    Whoever took the ship would have about a 50-50 chance of coming back. I had just had an argument with my wife in Sydney and couldn't care less. So I said I was available.
    I had a week’s leave in Sydney and then flew top priority to Cairns - throwing off colonels and brigadiers on the way. When I got to ZES - Z Experimental Station - I realised my mistake. But I was stuck with it. By this time I was a lieutenant, RANVR, in command of a ship that had not worked for two years ...
    After training remnants for three months, the adjutant asked me if I would like to go on a dangerous job. I told him that for the past three months I'd had the most dangerous job of my life trying to sail a naval whaleboat with an Indonesian crew who did not understand me and whom I could not understand.
    The adjutant, Capt. Arch Ross, who was British Vice-Consul in Java before the invasion, and a very nice chap too, told me it could be worse.
    I broke the golden rule and volunteered.
    I was asked by the Co this time - to inspect her and decide what she would need for a 13,000 mile cruise.
    At this time the only crew member was Leading Stoker Paddy McDowell, who had been a Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy a couple of times.
    When I asked him what he'd need for a 13, 000 mile cruise, he said, 'A new bloody ship and a new engine.’ In two days I was again on a top priority flight, to Hobart, to get a new engine, a six cylinder Gardner diesel.
    Finally at the end of June '43, we left Cairns with a Gordon Highland major, Ivan Lyon, in command of the operation.
    I was solely in command of the ship and responsible for its safety. "
    Carse tells that throughout the mission they lived in constant fear of being exposed. "It is a peculiar thing that the more frightened you get, the drier your throat becomes. As we were limited to one water bottle - a quart Army style bottle - for shaving and drinking - this dryness went on".
    Despite a successful raid, the return trip whilst still in Japanese controlled waters was harrowing. On one occasion a Japanese cruiser came very close and looked the KRAIT over. Carse was not hopeful that they would not be boarded and exposed so another crew member, Donald Davidson, rigged the No. 3 hold for blowing up. Fortunately the Japanese cruiser took no more than a cursory look and moved on. The rest of the trip "was plain sailing" and the KRAIT and her successful crew arrived back in Exmouth.
    Ted Carse did not see KRAIT again until he sailed upon her on the trip from Brisbane to Sydney in 1964.

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