- Lind, L.J.
- Ship histories and stories, History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- HMAS River Snake, HMAS Black Snake
- December 1988 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Perhaps the least known of service memorials in Australia is that to the Services Reconnaissance Department which is located on Garden Island, Western Australia. It is appropriate the memorial has been placed on this site because SRD personnel trained on the island during World War 2 and the area is still used by their commando successors today.
The ll3 names recorded on the memorial include members of all three services including the Royal Marines, British, Australian and Portuguese, and rare on a service memorial four civilians.
The SRD served in Singapore, Malaya, Timor, Java Sea, New Guinea, New Britain, Philippines, Borneo and the China Sea between 1939 and 1945. Most people remember the SRD, or Z Force as it was known, for their heroic actions in Operations Jaywick and Rimau, both of which were canoe attacks on Japanese shipping in Singapore which took place in 1943 and 1944 respectively, however, SRD actions covered most of the Pacific War Zone.
Little known, because of the importance of secrecy, were the intrusions of the famous ‘Snake’ boats which in the closing stages of the war posed a serious threat to the scattered and vulnerable Japanese garrisons.
KRAIT, the former Japanese fishing vessel, KUFOKO MARU, won world-wide acclaim, but MUSTIKA, the junk captured by Operation Rimau and BLACK SNAKE, DIAMOND SNAKE, GRASS SNAKE, RIVER SNAKE, SEA SNAKE, CORAL SNAKE, TAIPAN and the support ships EDUARDO, MOTHER SNAKE and ANACONDA were mystery ships which operated with cloaked stealth.
HMAS RIVER SNAKE commanded by Sub Lieutenant J.P. Gowing, RANVR participated in Operation Suncharlie and served in the Moluccas and Borneo area in 1945. HMAS BLACK SNAKE commanded by Sub Lieutenant J. Key, RANVR served in the Philippines, Moluccas and Borneo area participating in Operations Swift, Stork and Magpie.