Soon after the declaration of war on Japan, a secret military reconnaissance unit was established, based on the British Special Operations Executive (known as SOE) and called the Inter-allied Services Department. The unit was tasked with the role to "obtain and report information of the enemy ... weaken the enemy by sabotage and destruction of morale and to lend aid and assistance to local efforts to the same end in enemy occupied territories." In 1943 it became known under the cover name Special Reconnaissance Department (SRD) and included some British officers who had escaped from Singapore. After arriving in Australia, they assembled in Melbourne, forming the nucleus of ISD and together with some Australians established what became the Z Special Unit.
Training began in a number of locations around Australia including on Fraser Island off the Queensland coast, In Broken Bay near Sydney, at Careening Bay in Western Australia, at the "House on the Hill" in Cairns and at East Arm near Darwin. From these training areas and bases, Z Special undertook intelligence gathering and raiding missions throughout Southeast Asia including New Guinea, Singapore, Timor, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam and the Dutch East Indies.
The first operation was Jaywick in September 1943. Led by a 28 year old officer from the Gordon Highlanders, Captain Ivan Lyon. Using an old Japanese fishing boat renamed Krait this captured vessel was re-fitted and provisioned for a voyage from Australia to just south of Singapore where it released six commandos in three folding kayaks to attack Japanese shipping in the harbour. They placed limpet mines on several Japanese ships sinking 40,000 tons of shipping. After the successful attack, they paddled south, were picked up by the Krait and successfully returned to Australia.
This was followed by Operation Rimau again led by Lyon but this time things went very wrong very early.

ISBN: 9780143784982
Author: Davies, Will
Publication date: 02/03/2021
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336