Australian Z Force (more correctly called "Z" Special Unit), View attachment 821 Australian specialist military units were formed in Australia to undertake sabotage operations behind enemy lines and assist resistance groups in occupied territories. In June 1942 Z Special Unit was formed from volunteers from the RAN, the AIF, the RAAF, and Allied service personnel. These commandos were used for covert operations deep into enemy territory launched from bases in Australia. Their most remembered mission was Operation Jaywick. This secret raid aboard the MV Krait would prove to be the longest commando raid of the war. Conducted from 1 September to 19 October 1943, it involved a clandestine attack by a small group of Allied operatives against Japanese shipping at Singapore. The M.V. Krait: After Pearl Harbour and the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the vessel was taken over by the Royal Navy in Singapore and, at the surrender on February15, 1942, she was used by an Australian, Bill Reynolds, to rescue escapees from Singapore. She eventually reached Ceylon, after being machine-gunned by Japanese Zeros in Malacca Strait, and later went to Bombay where she was renamed 'Krait' after a small but venomous Indian snake. On returning to Australia she was fitted with a new Gardiner engine, prepared for the Singapore raid, and then sailed across North Australia to Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. The Krait sailed from Exmouth Gulf through Lombok Strait, across the Java and South China Seas, and through the Rhio Islands to within 20 miles of Singapore. There she dropped three canoe teams who penetrated Singapore Harbour at night and with magnetic explosive limpets destroyed 7 ships and damaged others which totalled nearly 40,000 tons of Japanese shipping. Members of "Operation Jaywick", "Z" Special Unit. View attachment 822 On their return and still flying the Japanese flag they were approached at midnight in the Strait of Lombok near Bali by a fast-moving Japanese patrol ship with its searchlights blazing. Horrie Young is one of the three, surviving Australian members of Operation Jaywick. View attachment 820 For Horrie Young and his fellow crewmen it was the longest 30 minutes of their lives, during which they awaited what they were convinced was their imminent death. Horrie Young, a 22-year-old naval telegraphist thought of the young son he would never see, who had been born the night they had embarked from the submarine base at Exmouth in Western Australia. Thinly disguised in sarongs and wearing foul-smelling hair and skin dye, the 14-man crew knew they would not survive being captured by the enemy - and knew their orders were not to be taken alive. "We all thought that it was curtains," he recalls. "This Japanese patrol ship came tearing up on the port side. They came right alongside and were taking a very good look at us and we were sure they were going to board us." Lieutenant Donald Davidson, the second in command, came below deck and approached Young who was seated at his radio transmitter. With classic British understatement, Davidson told the young Australian: "I'm terribly sorry, Young, but this doesn't look good." Both men then looked at the bundle of wired explosives placed above the radio. "The ship was wired thoroughly and ready to blow. The plan was that we would blow ourselves up and try to take them with us," Mr Young says. "Then, for some unaccountable reason, after about half an hour of watching us, the Japs just turned and tore off at a great rate of knots, and we were able to escape." Jaywick was the brainchild of Major Ivan Lyon, a member of Britain's secret Special Operations Executive in the Far East. After the success of "Jaywick" another bigger effort was conducted the next year. "Operation Rimau" ended in disaster, with all 23 men losing their lives, including six members of the Jaywick team.