Operation Parakeet

'Parakeet' was the British occupation of the Medan and Sabang area of Sumatra island in the Netherlands East Indies after the surrender of Japan (October 1945).

On 4 October a convoy carrying the headquarters of Major General H. M. Chambers’s Indian 26th Division), naval force commander (Captain G. B. Sayer), headquarters of Brigadier H. P. L. Hutchinson’s Indian 71st Brigade, headquarters of Brigadier T. E. D. Kelly’s Royal Artillery Indian 26th Division, 1st Lincolnshire Regiment, 6th South Wales Borderers, 1/18th Royal Garhwal Rifles and the necessary ancillary and administrative troops departed Madras for Sumatra. At sea the convoy divided, the naval headquarters, headquarters of the 26th Division, headquarters of the 71st Brigade, the Lincolns and the Garhwalis making for Padang, half-way down the south-west coast of Sumatra, while the headquarters Royal Artillery with the South Wales Borderers made for Medan on the north-east coast. Each part of the convoy had five tank landing ships, some of which joined en route from Malaya, Colombo and Chittagong.

At Emmahaven, the port of Padang, the Japanese emissaries, led by Major General Nakao Yahagi, chief-of-staff of Lieutenant General Moritake Tanabe’s 25th Army, went on board the large infantry landing ship Persimmon on 10 October to receive orders, and on the same day other representatives of 25th Army went on board the destroyer Venus at Belawan, the port of Medan. Both towns were occupied on the same day and on 12 October Chambers established the Headquarters Allied Forces in Sumatra in the town hall at Padang.

Three days later the 26th Division came under command of the Allied Forces Netherlands East Indies, and on 21 October Chambers received the formal surrender of the Japanese forces from Tanabe and the senior Japanese naval officer in the island, Vice Admiral Sueto Hirose.