Operation Opossum

'Opossum' was an Australian raid by a party of the 'Z' Special Unit on the island of Ternate off Borneo to rescue the Sultan Iskander Muhammad Jabit Syah of Ternate.

The mission was authorised by General Douglas MacArthur, the head of the South-West Pacific Area command, as he was concerned for the life of the sultan, who had been sympathetic to the Allied cause.

The 'Z' Special Unit sent a 13-man party, mostly Australians but with two Indonesian recruits from West Timor and one man for the northern part of Celebes island. The party landed on Hiri island, 1.25 miles (2 km) to the north of Ternate, and reached the coastal village of Kulaba after a six-hour march. Men of the unit rescued the sultan and also his two wives, eight children and retinue of courtiers and relatives. Japanese troops arrived in several boats on the following day, and there resulted a firefight in which three Japanese and one Australian officer, Lieutenant George Bosworth, were killed. Warrant Officer Dick Perry assumed command and ordered an attack on the remaining Japanese, who were all killed.

The sultan and his family were taken by PT-boat to Morotai island, and were then housed in the Queensland town of Wacol until the end of the war.