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Sunday, 09 October 2016






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Lagoon war boats named after war hero

Sri Lanka Navy's Arrow boats were re-named 'Cedric' in honour of the co-founder of the Sri Lanka Navy Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the late Commander (VNF) Cedric Martenstyn NVX 5068, on his 70th birth anniversary.

Late Cdr. Cedric Martenstyn

The SBS was raised by the present Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and Commander Cedric Martenstyn in October 1993 in line with the Royal Navy's Special Boat Squadron and the US Navy SEALS Special Boat Unit.

Cedric 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.

With this enhanced firepower and its crew of highly trained SBS commandos these boats brought about many victories to the Navy in lagoon warfare with the LTTE fighting boats.

A Navy news release said: 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.

Sri Lanka Navy’s Arrow boats re-named ‘Cedric’

Commander Martenstyn along with another SBS officer, Lieutenant Commander Thushara Palihena were considered Missing in Action (MIA) on 22 January 1996 when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed into the sea off Vettilaikerni due to enemy fire.

This occurred when the late Commander Martenstyn was returning to the Palali Air base having inspected the SBS troops stationed in the Elephant Pass Army camp on the 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". Following the footsteps of his brave father, his son Flying Officer Jason Martenstyn, a qualified pilot, joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an AN 32 transport aircraft pilot on 6 September 1994 and died in action on 13 September 1995.

In the annals of the history of Sri Lanka, Commander Cedric Martenstyn and Flying Officer Jason Martenstyn are one of the few father and son duo who paid the supreme sacrifice for the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the motherland.


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