Australia’s Heroic and Daring Commando Raid on Singapore
By Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin
Published by Hachette
RRP $29.99 in paperback
Hachette has just released Operation Rimau written by the team of Peter Thompson (Pacific Fury, Shanghai Fury) and Robert Macklin (Redback One).
Like other books I’ve mentioned recently, this book is a rerun of an earlier book, Kill the Tiger, published in 2002, with new material added.
What is particularly interesting about the updated edition is the prologue and the specific reference to the current prime minister’s enthusiastic embrace of Japan, and especially Japanese submarine technology. The Prime Minister of course is English-born and Oxford-educated, without, perhaps, the memory of a generation who heard snippets and anecdotes from men who fought the Pacific war. My own late father had two trips to New Guinea during the war. It was these experiences that haunted his final years.
Which brings me to the book: In the last months of 1944, a group of elite Australian and British commandos was selected for the biggest Allied behind-the-scenes operation of the Pacific War. Their mission: to devastate the enemy’s shipping by destroying the Japanese ships at anchor in Singapore Harbour.
Operation Rimau was intended as a body blow to the Japanese and a signal to the world that Britain would reclaim her Eastern Empire. Britain was trying to reclaim past glory – while Australia’s wartime prime minister John Curtin had turned to America. In this atmosphere, Operation Rimau was planned.
This book tells what really happened to these brave commandos – from the very beginnings of the operation through to their intense and courageous fighting in the South China Seas, and its aftermath. It exposes the sloppy planning behind the raid, and names of the officers who betrayed and abandoned them in their hour of need, and details the political double-dealing which for so many years hid the real story behind red tape and bureaucratic lies.