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The Mighty Krait

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The Mighty Krait

Ian McPhedran

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Over many years, thousands of people have walked past a modest black timber fishing boat bobbing in the waters of Sydney’s Darling Harbour, paying it little attention. But appearances can be deceptive.

The humble little Japanese-built trawler called the Krait played a crucial role in one of World War II’s most audacious and successful Allied commando raids. In 1943, she carried 14 operatives from the top-secret `Z’ Special Unit from Australia to Japanese-occupied Singapore and back again. Battling deadly tides, fierce storms, hostile ships and detection from the air, this small vessel and its courageous crew made it to the heart of the enemy stronghold to conduct a daring raid that destroyed 26,000 tonnes of enemy shipping. Operation Jaywick was one of the greatest Special Forces operations of all time.

But the story doesn’t end there. After the war, the Krait was used by smugglers and then as a work boat before it was discovered, purchased by veterans and eventually handed to the Australian War Memorial. A mighty and concerted effort by a dedicated few has saved and restored the little boat with a big past. Now the battle is on to preserve and display it at the Australian National Maritime Museum, as a permanent memorial to our Special Forces.

The Mighty Krait is a compelling, uplifting and unforgettable story of Australian military history – and a solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice of our armed forces against incredible odds.

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