The island of Ternate had been occupied by Japan since 1942. The Sultan sent several islanders to Australian army headquarters on Morotai Island asking to be rescued. The Dutch were enthusiastic about the mission.
The mission was authorised by General Douglas MacArthur who was worried about the Sultan's life. The Sultan had been sympathetic to the Allied cause.
Z Special Unit sent a contingent of 13, mostly Australians and two Indonesian recruits from West Timor and North Sulawesi. There were also some Dutch officers.
The mission left Morotai on 8 April 1945 and landed on Hiri Island, two kilometres north of Ternate.They went to the coastal village of Kulaba after a six-hour trek. Members of the unit rescued the Sultan along with his two wives, eight children and retinue of courtiers and relatives.
Several boatloads of Japanese soldiers arrived the next day resulting in a shooting fight which resulted in the death of three Japanese and Australian officer Lieutenant George Bosworth. Warrant Officer Dick Perry assumed command and attacked the remaining Japanese who were all killed.
The sultan and his family were taken to Morotai by PT boat where the Sultan spoke with MacArthur. They were then settled in the Queensland town of Wacol until the end of the war.