Commando attack at Keppel Harbour: 70th anniversary of Jaywick

Commando attack at Keppel Harbour: 70th anniversary of Jaywick
Malaysia-based Australian soldiers at the Kranji War Cemetery during a ceremony on 26 September 2013, commemorating the 70th anniversary of a highly successful raid on Singapore’s Keppel Harbour during the Japanese Occupation. Known as Operation Jaywick, it was launched on 26 September 1943 and saw 14 British and Australian commandos paddle 200km from an Indonesian island into the harbour, where they blew up seven enemy ships with mines. The ceremony also honoured the civilians who were captured and killed in the wake of the raid, and the commandos who died in the failed follow-up Operation Rimau in 1944.

Jaywick's aftermath

Although successful, Operation Jaywick had tragic consequences.

The Japanese were enraged that they could be attacked in their backyard and they took revenge against the civilian population, whom they mistakenly thought had been involved in the raid.

Many were tortured, including 57 civilian internees at Changi Gaol (Prison), when they were hauled away on Oct 10, 1943. This was infamously known as the Double Tenth Incident.

Two of those tortured were Choy Khun Heng and his wife, Elizabeth Choy, Singapore's most famous World War II survivor who died on Sept 14, 2006, aged 96.

Of the 57, 15 died during interrogation. A year later, in October 1944, Z Special Unit launched another raid on Japanese ships in Singapore, Operation Rimau, involving 23 commandos with more equipment.

Six of the men had been involved in Jaywick.

No survivors

But unlike Jaywick, none of them survived.

During the mission, 13 were killed and the 10 captured survivors were executed in Singapore on July 7, 1945.

The remains of 17 of the commandos are at the Kranji War Cemetery.

On Sep 26, at Kranji, about 250 people attended a commemoration ceremony to mark Jaywick's 70th anniversary.

It was attended by war veterans from Singapore, Australia and Britain.

The high commissioners of Australia and Britain also attended.

Of the 14 commandos who had taken part in Jaywick, only able seaman Mostyn Berryman, believed to be in his 90s, is still alive, but he was too frail to attend the ceremony.

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