Roll of Honour - Z SPECIAL UNIT. S.O.A.
|HOUGHTON R G||444165-AKS182||WOII||Died - Beriberi disease||20/04/45||Balikpapan||Borneo|
|MYERSE H||616204-AKS176||Sgl||Executed - Samurai||08/07/45||Mt Mentawir||Borneo|
|McMILLAN L T||64785-AK258||Capt||Lost-Presumed drowned||20/03/45||Balikpapan||Borneo|
|STOTT D J||20681-AK257||Maj||Lost-presumed drowned||20/03/45||Balikpapan||Borneo|
During the southern winter of 1944, twenty-two New Zealand soldiers, based at Trentham Military Camp, 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Wellington, New Zealand were sent to train with Z Special Unit in Melbourne, Australia. They were then sent to Fraser Commando School, on Fraser Island, Queensland, to be trained in using parachutes, unarmed combat, explosives and the Malay language.
Four New Zealanders were killed during operations in Borneo.
Major Stott and Captain McMillan were both presumed drowned in heavy seas while going ashore in a rubber boat from the submarine USS Perch in Balikpapan Bay on 20 March 1945. Their bodies were never found.
Warrant Officer Houghton made it to shore in a second boat but was captured ten days later and languished in Balikpapan Prison where he died of beriberi about 20 April 1945.
Signalman Ernie Myers parachuted into enemy-held territory near Mount Mentawir on 30 March 1945, but landed with two other operatives inside a Japanese camp area. They resisted strongly, but the Australian in the party was killed and Myers was captured along with the Malay interpreter of the group. Both men were tortured for three days, before being beheaded. Their bodies were recovered soon after the Japanese surrender when Lieutenant Bob Tapper, another New Zealander who was working with the War Graves Commission, discovered their remains. Evidence given to the commission by native witnesses ensured that the Japanese involved paid the penalty for this atrocity.