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June 04 , 2009

The Heroes of Rimau

Unravelling the Mystery of One of World War II's Most Daring Raids


On September 11, 1944, the British submarine "Porpoise" slipped quietly from Fremantle Harbour, bound for Indonesia. It was carrying the 23 Australian and British members of Operation Rimau who, under the leadership of the remarkable Lieutenant-Colonel Ivan Lyon of the Gordon Highlanders, intended to repeat the successful Jaywick raid of 1943 by blowing up 60 ships in Japanese-occupied Singapore Harbour, 19 days later, the preliminary part of the operation successfully completed, the submarine commander bade farewell to the raiders at Pedjantan Island, promising to return to pick them up in 38 days' time. A handful of Chinese and Malays and the conquering Japanese were the only people ever to see the 23 men again. According to the scant official post-war record, the mission was an utter failure. All of the party were captured of killed - ten of them beheaded in Singapore only five weeks before the Japanese surrender in, it was claimed, a ceremonial execution. The fate of eleven of the others remains officially unknown. After a 31 year search, Major Tom Hall, with the assistance of writer Lynette Silver, has overturned the official version and uncovered the truth. Aided by thousands of Japanese and Allied documents and by the first-hand accounts of several Indonesians and Malays, sole witnesses to the events of 1944, they have established the fate of every member of the party and unravelled the story of "The Heroes of Rimau" - a story that has for 45 years been all but lost, distorted by hearsay and fantasy, by military cover-ups and conspiracy, by official bungling, ineptitude and apathy. This book not only chronicles a feat of extraordinary daring in the face of overwhelming odds - a gripping tale of inspired courage, self-sacrifice and eventual tragedy - it also exposes the appalling sequence of events which has, until now, resulted in the shameful suppression of the truth about one of the most amazing stories to emerge from World War II.
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