To remember Cedric Matensteyn who was the co -founder of navy’s special boat squadran
On the 70th birth anniversary of the co-founder of the Sri Lanka Navy Special Boat Squadron (SBS), Late Commander (VNF) Cedric Martenstyn NVX 5068, which fell on 5th October 2016, Sri Lanka Navy renamed their Arrow Boats as “Cedric” in honour of him. The SBS was raised by the present Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and Commander Cedric Martenstyn in October 1993 keeping in line with the Royal Navy’s Special Boat Squadron and the US Navy SEALS Special Boat Unit.
Cdr Martenstyn with his expert knowledge on Speed Boats and Outboard Motors designed the 16-foot Arrow boats which were extensively used by the SBS in the Kilaly Lagoon, Jaffna to fight against the LTTE small boats. Then two new types of weapons, namely 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launchers (AGL) and 7.62 x 51 mm Multi-Purpose Machine Guns (MPMG) were installed on board these craft with a ‘continuous rail mounting’ design. As a result, with the three main ingredients of Firepower, Maneuverability and Speed of the boats, coupled with highly trained and motivated SBS personnel being the motto “Fortune favours the brave” brought about many victories to SLN in Lagoon Warfare.
The Late Commander Martenstyn took over the Command of the SBS in 1995, being the first Volunteer Navy (VNF) officer to Command a Special Force in Sri Lanka. Commander Martenstyn along with another SBS officer, Lieutenant Commander Thushara Palihena were considered Missing in Action (MIA) on 22nd January 1996 when the helicopter they were travelling crashed into the sea off Vettilaikerni due to enemy fire. This occurred when the Late Commander Martenstyn was returning to the Palalay Air base having inspected the SBS troops stationed in the Elephant Pass Army camp on that fatal day. Considering his immense contribution in designing and manufacturing the Navy’s first arrow boat and appreciating his gallantry and valour in fighting the enemy, on his 70th birth anniversary, the Sri Lanka Navy has named the Arrow boats as “Cedric”.
– SBS “Arrow” Boats