Why did they try this?
The success of Operation Jaywick encouraged it’s leader Major, now promoted to Lt Colonel Lyons to plan a larger attack on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour. Six veterans of Jaywick formed the core of the proposed assault party of 23, sailors and commandos and I think for this essay it’s necessary and important to list all members of the party for reasons which will become self-explanatory:
Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Lyon, Lieutenant Commander Donald Davidson, Lieutenant Robert Ross, Lieutenant Bruno Reymond, Sub-Lieutenant Gregor Riggs Major Reginald Ingleton, Captain Robert Page, Lieutenant Albert Sargent, Lieutenant Walter Carey,
Warrant Officer Alfred Warren, Sergeant David Gooley, Corporal Clair Stewart, Corporal Roland Fletcher, Able Seaman Walter Falls, and Lance Corporal John Hardy, Able Seaman Frederick Marsh, Warrant Officer Jeffrey Willersdorf, Sergeant Colin Cameron, Able Seaman Andrew Huston, Corporal Archie Campbell, Corporal Colin Craft, Corporal Hugo Pace and Private Douglas Warne.
Operation Jaywick succeeded in part through its simplicity, Rimau was a much more sophisticated operation using15 motorised submersible canoes, known as SB’s ( Sleeping Beauties) fo the main attack on Japanese shipping, after the attack these SB’s were to be scuttled and escape made in the folboats which were used with great success on the previous raid.
The raiding party left Fremantle WA onboard the RN submarine ‘Porpoise’ on the 11th September1944 (9/11 in Americanized English). The initial plan was to establish a base with provisions for three months on a tiny island of Merapus lying off the east coast of Bintan which was believed to be uninhabited. A periscope reconnaissance proved otherwise; so Major Lyon decide on a change of plan. Lt. Carey was to remain to guard the supplies, the rest re-embarked on the Porpoise and the plan was now to capture a native junk, which they did on the 28th.
Seven members of the Rimau group took over the junk, the ‘Mustika’ the crew of which were transferred to the Porpoise and with one of the conducting officers a Major Chapman and returned to Australia, arriving back in Fremantle on the 11th October.
Four days later Major Chapman embarked on another sub the HMS Tantalus and they sailed for a rendezvous with the Rimau party on Merapus; there was no sign of the Rimau party and the site was a mess, scattered food and ration tins strewn around the place and it was estimated that whatever had happened there happened a couple of weeks earlier.
Nothing is known of what happened to the Rimau party except from the Japanese records, reports; the following is a condensed report taken from the Australian Navy history pages.
On or about the 6th October the ‘Mustika’ was off the west coast of Batam and insight of Singapore Harbour, whilst waiting for dark and preparing their SB’s the vessel was approached by what was thought to be a Japanese patrol boat but was actually a Malaya Police vessel, and the men on the ‘Mustika’ opened fire on this boat killing 4 of crew, whilst one escaped.
Having now lost all element of surprise Lyon decided to abandon the operation and scuttled the ‘Mustika’. they launched the folboats split into four groups. Three of the groups met up on Asore a small island where on the 16th they came in contact for the first time with a Japanese patrol, during the following action Major Lyon and Lt Ross along with 8 Japanese were killed, the rest of the group escaped but Lt Cmdr Davidson and Corporal Campbell had been seriously wounded. Their bodies were later discovered following another fight on the island of Tapai.
On the 4th November, four days before the scheduled rendezvous and extraction the Japanese found the operatives on Merapas in the fight which followed both Sub.Lt Riggs and Sgt Cameron were killed.
Over the next few weeks the remainder of the party were either killed or captured, a total of 11 were taken prisoner but AB Marsh died in captivity from malaria.
The remaining ten Major Reginald Ingleton RM, Captain Robert Page, Lieutenant Albert Sargent, Lieutenant Walter Carey, Warrant Officer Alfred Warren, Sergeant David Gooley, Corporal Clair Stewart, Corporal Roland Fletcher, Able Seaman Walter Falls, and Lance Corporal John Hardy were held in gaol until the 3rd July 1945 when they were placed on trial before a military court, where all ten were sentenced to death.
On the 7th July 1945 one month before the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima these ten men, one English 9 Australians, were beheaded by the Japanese.
War crimes investigators adjudged that no war crimes had been committed as those decapitated had voluntarily deprived themselves of the right to be treated as prisoners of war by discarding military dress and posing as Malays.
Operation Jaywick in its simplicity a resounding success; Operation Rimau in its sophistication an abysmal failure.
Reference and thanks
My thanks to the following for most of the infomation contained in this post