Operation Rimau

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


24 thoughts on “Operation Rimau

  1. Nice write-up. When I find the time I’ll look at previous posts.

    I thought I had subscribed to this before, and when I did not receive updates I thought you were just not posting.


    1. Thanks ej, I haven’t been doing much of late except getting under your skin 🙄 which is damned nigh on impossible to do, must be your Italian heritage 🙂


    2. Let me tell you a story (try not to doze off) . . . because of an accident and subsequent coma, at around five years old I lost my speech. When I did regain it (slowly), I stuttered badly. My stuttering improved (meaning it lessened, but never went away), but those early years were very frustrating for my inability to verbally defend myself.

      The Internet changed all that as it gifted me great freedom of expression through the written word, but I learned something else . . . in writing, I am a very cold, mean, and ruthless person when I get mad. I seem to have a knack for zeroing in on weaknesses, insecurities, and soft spots of people, and can dig deep and effectively into others.

      So much so that it loses me the moral high ground. A number of years ago I took a voluntary hiatus from on-line interaction because I crossed self-imposed lines against someone who was ill-equipped to match me.

      When I cautiously resumed, I worked hard at not letting things get to me. Some things still can, but not on topics we are ever likely to discuss, and even then my response is always to walk away.

      The banter? That is just pure joy. I even wrote about it.


      1. Trouble is some are so thick that they don’t realize that it’s fun take it seriously and are offended, and it makes me enjoy offending them more.


      2. Oh, there’s no denying the entertainment value of it. Unfortunately, on-line sensibilities explode much faster than in real life. At this stage of my life, I’ve come to realize the entertainment value of it is not what it used to be.


  2. Excellent research, Beari. The Australian contributions to the war need to be out there more often. Great job.


    1. For reasons unknown to me: an Englishman living in Australia these past 64 years, the older Australians are loathe to push the efforts made, we just like to celebrate quietly (if somewhat drunk)by ourselves with the Kiwi’s on Anzac Day (25th April- this year is the centenary of the original ANZACS) and on Armistice Day, the 11th of the 11th when we remember our war dead.
      In Australia we have what are known as RSL Clubs; you can probably read a lot about this organization through Google, and every night at 6pm sharp without fail there is a minutes silence held with everyone standing whilst the ode is repeated:

      “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.”

      It’s aways very moving, I know you would appreciate it.


      1. I’ve heard that ode before but was not aware it came out of ANZAC observance. I recently read a very good article in Smithsonian Magazine about the battle – men were literally sent to the slaughter and of course – Churchill was in the middle of it.


        1. Churchill was the instigator of it, thought he was another of the great fighting Churchills, his time was still to come.


        2. Oh, you mean the fiasco in Norway? 😉


        3. Not sure which fiasco you’re referring to gp ❓


        4. Just before he became PM.


        5. I think Churchill had the right idea this time, the clown Chamberlain and his War Cabinet stopped Churchills plan to take and try to hold Narvik against the threat of a Nazi invasion, and subsequent occupation of Norway.


        6. Then my resource is way off – as Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill was in charge and had made the decisions.


        7. It’s rather long gp but very interesting hope you have an hour or two to spend I think it’s well worth while even though it has nothing whatsoever to do with the war in the Pacific.

          Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty wanted to mine the Norwegian ports/harbours to stop a German Invasion, but Chamberlain and his War Cabinet overruled him with disastrous results.



        8. Although I don’t consider Wiki the Bible [no one knows who writes it or if the data is confirmed], but I will concede to you being British and will always have loyalty to the greatness of ‘Winnie’. I on the other hand feel he had the right idea, but his leadership left a lot to be desired.
          If there are only two people on Earth, there will be more than one opinion on everything. 😉


        9. I agree about Wiki however if you want to read the full extent of the Norway Debate theres always the Hansard. Hansard is the recording absolutely word for word of everything that is said in the British and Commonwealth Houses of Parliament.


          Heres a start if you have a few days 😀 to spare,

          For we English Churchill became the right man in the right place, I recall listening to his strong voice urging us encouraging us to keep on against great odds as a young boy in London during WWII, we waited to hear him speak and lead which he did with great success.


        10. I was not contesting the idea behind Norway – just Winnie execution of it – sort of like Gallipoli


        11. I think in this case gp I can’t see any likeness Gallipoli was a disaster in the making fom the instant it was conceived with no real merit, I imagine Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was happy ( a great man and leader)

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I thought you might fid this of interest gp, it’s the ode in it’s entirety plus some info regrding the RSL in Australia, something which all Australians are justifiably proud of and if it were more promoted universally I do believe it would be the envy of Veterans the world over



      1. I’ve copied it to my computer and was hoping to put out a good post for ANZAC – should I include the ode do you think? Or, as an American, do my own thing for the day’s remembrance?


        1. Can’t see any reason why not gp, it’s in the public domain and the RSL don’t own it, they use it to best advantage with all proper and due respect so if you want to use it go right ahead I’m sure any Australian following your work will appreciate it 100%


        2. Thanks, Beari.


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