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
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
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.