This ex-Japanese fishing boat was involved in WWII’s most daring raid
A rickety ex-Japanese fishing vessel destroyed more enemy ships in World War Two than any other Australian warship.
The ‘Krait’ had no kitchen and no toilet but was the small boat used to carry a handful of Australian and British soldiers into enemy territory on the top-secret mission ‘Operation Jaywick’.
Soldiers from the Z Special Unit stealthily used canoes to destroy or damage over 39,000 tonnes of Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour in 1943.
The successful mission is heralded as the most daring commando raid of World War Two.
It was so dangerous, the soldiers involved were promised “danger money”. But it was never received.
Ian McPhedran, author of The Mighty Krait, tells Chris Smith before the soldiers set off for Singapore on the secretive mission, they underwent intense and unrelenting training on the Hawkesbury River.
“Not only (was there) training, but personal combat… (and) intensive weapons training. All that was going on there, weeks and weeks in this secret training camp.”
Ian says when the team of Australian seaman were confronted with the ‘Krait’, the vessel that would ultimately take them into enemy territory, they were taken aback.
The last surviving soldier from the mission, Mostyn Berryman, told Ian what that moment was like.
“He speaks in the book very clearly about it. He first saw this thing and he said, ‘What the hell’s this?'”
The Krait can now be found at the Australian Maritime Museum and has been restored to its former glory.
Click PLAY below to hear more about Operation Jaywick and The Krait
After hearing the story about The Krait, listener Jody called in to reveal his grandfather was part of the Z Special Unit and had been on the dilapidated vessel.
His grandfather hadn’t mentioned the boat and it’s history until the year before he died.
“They were sworn to secrecy,” Jody says.
Click PLAY below to hear from caller Jody