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Episodes & Studies Volume 2

Operation in Borneo

Operation in Borneo

In 1944 Stott and Morton were seconded to the Australian Army for special service work in the Pacific. On 20 March 1945 Stott and a small party were taken by submarine to a point off Balikpapan, Borneo, where they were to land and make a reconnaissance for the projected landing of Australian forces. Stott was in one of the two rubber dinghies—the first section of the party—which left the submarine. The dinghies became separated and this was the last that was seen of him. Immediately after the end of the war in the Pacific a search party questioned the natives and the Japanese in the locality but none had ever seen or heard of him. All the evidence indicated that he did not land but must have been drowned on the night he left the submarine.

Morton landed on 22 March and took over leadership of the party, now numbering eight. The Japanese knew that they were ashore and sent strong forces to capture them. For the next six weeks Morton carried out his reconnaissance in spite of being constantly pursued by the Japanese. On one occasion his party successfully fought a pitched battle with a large enemy force. In May he managed to buy an old boat from the natives, and in it he and the remainder of his party sailed for several hundred miles before being picked up by a passing plane.

Morton was awarded the MC. The last part of the citation to his award reads: ‘Although costly, this operation resulted in a vast amount of reliable intelligence being obtained which proved of great value in the subsequent landing.’