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An Order of Service booklet for the recommissioning of MV KRAIT

Date: 1973
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Louis D'Alpuget
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: ANMS0147[029]

User Terms

    An Order of Service booket for the recommissioning of MV KRAIT in 1973.
    The recommisioning service was held at Towlers Bay in Pittwater on Sunday 11 February, 1973. The presiding chaplins were Reverend James Doust and Keith Evans.

    SignificanceThe KRAIT has a long history of service in Australia and was very successful in WWII in evacuation and attack situations in Singapore. Despite its small size and age, it sporadically suffered engine trouble for the duration of the voyage, the KRAIT's role in Operation Jaywick was significant in both getting the crew to Singapore under disguise and getting them back to Australia again.
    HistoryThe opening address of the service reads:

    "Dear Friends,
    As chaplins to the Volunteer Coastal Patrol, we have been invited on behalf of the trustees: Major General Sir Denzil Macarthur-Onslow, Mr Ray Irish and Mr John Gardener, to recommission this ship KRAIT, already dedicated as a War Memorial in memory of the men of "Z" Special Unit, who lost their lives on the special operations: "Jaywick" and "Rimau" of the Second World War.
    In so doing, we shall praise the Lord for his goodness; we shall ask His mercies towards KRAIT and all who sail in her; and we shall pray for ourselves and one another, as is pleasing to the Lord Our God. So, I call upon you to join with me in the Lords Prayer."

    Originally 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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