Special Boat Section/Squadron/Service

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A timeline of the Special Boat Section (Home)

Type: Official Letters
Author: Lt Henry S. Quigley, Admin Officer 2SBS
Year of Publishing: 2010
Keywords: sbs, horner

7 pages of a Special Boat Section memorandum about 2 SBS from its formation through to February 1944. An official memorandum by Lieut. Henry S. Quigley, Admin. officer 2 SBS dated February 1944. The last page details equipment used by 2 SBS. This document is from the collection of Arthur Horner who was attached to No.1 Commando and 2 SBS, provided to the CVA in 2010 courtesy of his son Ashton Horner. 

ANDREWS, Trevor John

Sergeant Trevor Andrews was  a member of the SBS personnel who were on the submarine HMS Affray to carry out further training in exiting submarines etc. The submarine sank with all hands in Hurd Deep off Alderney in 1951. 

ARNOLD, David James

Sergeant David Arnold, SBS formerly 45 Commando, died during operations in Aden [1].
On August 7, 1964, the marines were conducting operations in the Radafan Mountains. Sgt Arnold was killed during a planned night ambush near the village of Dhala, a centre of intense dissident activity. He is commemorated on the Special Boat Service Memorial in Poole and at the National Memorial Arboretum. Sgt Arnold was also a noted racing canoeist, winning several events in the early 1960s, including the Devizes to Westminster Race [2]


No 8 Commando
Sergeant George Bremner, having left the Commando and joined the S.B.S., was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the Middle East [1].


Captain Richard Cormac Clifford
Royal Marines
Lieutenant Richard Clifford received the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.
"On the morning of 18th May 1972, a team of Service personnel was sent to deal with a bomb threat in the Queen Elizabeth II which at that time was in mid-Atlantic on her way to Europe.

DEAN, Martin, R.

3 Cdo. Bde. RM
Corporal Martin Dean died in service, cause unknown to this archive. The headstone at his grave shows Special Boat Service.
RM Historical website.
Headstone at his grave.

ELLIS, Derek Charles

No 6 Commando
Corporal Derek Ellis, formerly 101 Troop No. 6 Commando [1], was awarded the Military Medal [2] in recognition of gallant and distinguished service whilst attached to No. 2 Special Boat Section during operations at Oran harbour on 8 November 1942 [3]. He had served with 2SBS since its formation, was a parachutist, and was promoted Sergeant [1].
[1] Timeline of the Special Boat section (Home) (below).

EMBELIN, Arthur Edward

Company Sergeant Major Arthur Embelin was the original CSM to 2 Special Boat Section. He died during operations at Oran Harbour. He had previously served in 101 Troop ( the Folbot section of No. 6 Commando).
Special Boat Section Timeline memorandum (read below).

GOATLEY, George John

RM Reserve
Marine George John Goatley, RMFVR, drowned during a training exercise with No.4 Special Boat Section.
Extract from the Globe and Laurel 
"No.4 Special Boat Section 
With deep regret we have to record the death of Mne. John George Goatley*, who was drowned when the canoe of which he was in charge capsized under the bow of a river barge during a waterborne infiltration exercise with the Thames Metropolitan Police on the night of 14th November, 1951. We extend our great sympathies to his relatives in their tragic loss."


Marine Toby Gutteridge, Special Boat Service, received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Afghanistan. 
His first tour of Afghanistan was with 40 Commando RM.  He subsequently passed UK Special Forces training. In November 2009 during his second tour of Afghanistan, now with the SBS, he was shot through the neck leaving him paralysed. 

HABERFIELD, Kevin Howard

Colour Sergeant Kevin Haberfield RM, Special Boat Service, was awarded the George Cross for Services in the Field on the 22nd November 2005.
Kevin Haberfield GC was born July 1957 and served as a Royal Marine Commando from January 1980 to January 2012.
London Gazette 61311, Notice 2378202 dated 31 July 2015.

HOOPER, Alfred Herbert George

Marine Alfred Hooper was  a member of the SBS personnel who were on the submarine HMS Affray to carry out further training in exiting submarines etc. The submarine sank with all hands in Hurd Deep off Alderney in 1951.
[ Sources: AFM ROH / CVA Gallery information from Tom Crosbie RM]

HOWE, Gilbert Rex

40 Cdo. RM
42 Cdo. RM
Acting Corporal Gilbert Howe was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry on 21/22 February 1951 whilst attached to 40 Commando RM during operations at Kampong, Upper Perak, Malaya. He had been recommended for the M.M. but was awarded the D.C.M. [1].

HUNT, Ian Nicholas


Sergeant Ian Hunt, Special Boat Service,  was killed during an exchange of fire with an SAS patrol near Teal, Falklands.  They had accidentally strayed into an area patrolled by the SAS. He was the only member of the SBS who died in the conflict.

Click here to Watch a video of a service at the memorial to him on the Falkland Islands in 2012.


Corporal Loasby was taken prisoner of war at Pantellaria whilst doing a beach recce. He came to 2 Special Boat Section from the 1st Police Intake at Achnacarry [1].
He received a Mention In Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the field [2].
Oran Landings. Assault on Port by H.M.S. Walney and H.M.S. Hartland - 8th November 1942.

MCGONIGAL, Ambrose Joseph

Ambrose McGonigal MC
No 12 Commando
Lieutenant Ambrose McGonigal was awarded the M.C. [1] for distinguished service during a raid on the enemy held island of Sark on the night of the 27th December 1943. This was a reconnaissance operation to obtain certain information and if possible capture a prisoner. Very soon after landing the raiding party inadvertently entered a minefield and the resultant explosions killed one member of the party and badly injured a second. Whilst evacuating from the minefield a further 4 mines exploded killing the already injured man, and wounding Lt. McGonigal and 2 others.

MUNRO, George

No 11 Commando
50ME Commando
Sergeant George Munro, a veteran of the Litani River raid, died during operations with the S.B.S., on the island of Samos after leaving the Commando.
Sep   1940 - volunteered for 11 Cdo.
Mar  1941- arrive Middle East - 'C' Bn Layforce
Aug  1941- 11 Cdo absorbed into ME Cdo
Jan   1943 - volunteered  for SAS
Mar 1943 - posted to D Sqn - promoted Sgt - D Sqn becomes SBS.

PETERS, Richard James McGregor

Lieutenant Richard Peters 2 SBS
Lieutenant Richard Peters, 2 Special Boat Section, died [1] whilst leading a small reconnaissance operation to gather intelligence from villagers on the strength and disposition of Japanese forces on the other side of a bridge across the River Irrawaddy in the area of Pakkoku-Pagan. He was accompanied by 2 Corporals and an Interpreter. 
Unfortunately the inhabitants of one of the huts were armed Japanese inspired Fifth Columnists and in the ensuing firefight Lt Peters was killed [2].

PHILLIPS, Mark Christopher

Royal Marines
Acting Major Mark Phillips was appointed M.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the field in 2004 [1].
  • 30 June 2010 promoted Lieutenant Colonel [2].
  • Died after a short illness aged 56yrs having retired from the Service [3].
[1] London Gazette Supp. 57588, page 3376.

PICKUP, Richard Alan

Col Richard Pickup SBS
3 Cdo. Bde. RM

Colonel Richard Pickup died suddenly whilst posted as a defence advisor in Pretoria South Africa.

Richard Allan Pickup joined the Royal Marines in 1983 after university and was awarded the Sword of Honour at the CTCRM. After operational deployments to Northern Ireland and training in the Arctic, he was selected for Special Forces training and joined the SBS, later commanding the unit from 2000 until 2004 when he was appointed commander of the UK Forces in Kosovo. 

He also led the task force which spearheaded the British campaign in Afghanistan.


Corporal Ian Plank, a Swimmer Canoeist with the S.B.S.,  was killed by hostile fire during a Coalition operation in Iraq.  [Sources: AFM ROH / MOD / email Jase]

POMFORD, Douglas

No 11 Commando
Corporal Douglas Pomford joined the S.B.S. when No. 11 Commando was disbanded. He was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in the field [1].

PREECE, Frederick Amos

Trooper Frederick Preece 6 Commando
No 6 Commando
Trooper Frederick Preece, 101 Troop, was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal [1] for his gallantry in a raid on Boulogne Harbour.
Recomendation for award
On the night of 11/12th April 1942, Captain Montanaro, accompanied by Trooper Preece, entered Boulogne Harbour in a canoe which had been taken by a Motor Launch to about one and a half miles from the harbour entrance.

RODNEY, John Francis

No 1 Commando
Baron John Francis Rodney served as a Lieutenant in No.1 Commando and as an Operational Officer in HQ, 2 SBS.
Post war he was a member of both the Commando Association and the Burma Star Association.
Obituaries in Commando Association newsletter 96 issued March 1993.
Burma Star Association Membership List (includes MiD).
2SBS Establishment Feb.1944 - see Linked Content below.


LCpl. Severn SBS
No 11 Commando
Lance Corporal Clive Severn died at sea. He received a posthumous MiD "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East. [Source: London Gazettes Supp. 36065, page 2870.]


Royal Marines
Corporal John Stanworth was serving at HMS Rooke, a shore establishment in Gibraltar, at the time of his death. He was King's Badge man for JE26 Squad in 1966.
Andy Holloway. WO2 RM.
He had recently passed an SC3 Course (Swimmer Canoeist) .

STEPHENS, Seth Vincent Scott

Cpl Seth Stephens CGC
Corporal Seph Stephens, S.B.S., died during operations in Southern Afghanistan. He was hit by enemy small arms fire while he was protecting and inspiring his British and Afghan comrades. He made a conscious decision to move to provide more effective covering fire. Moving along what was a very exposed position while under accurate fire, increased the risk to him significantly. This act of selfless bravery, which almost certainly saved the lives of his comrades, was recognised by the posthumous award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

SUTHERLAND, David (Lt Col)

No 8 Commando

(The following is from the Times obituary.)
LIEUTENANT David Sutherland and Royal Marine John Duggan were the only two to return from Operation “Anglo”, a raid on the Italian-occupied island of Rhodes by the Special Boat Service in September 1942. The SBS team was pursued relentlessly; it had attacked two airfields and destroyed aircraft positioned to support Rommel’s threatened advance on Cairo and to bomb supply convoys to beleaguered Malta. 

THOMSON, Jonathan James

45 Cdo. RM
3 Cdo. Bde. RM
Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Thomson O.B.E., was awarded The Queen's Gallantry Medal in recognition of gallantry within the operations in Northern Iraq and Southern Turkey  in 1991[1].
  • May/June 1982 (Major) Officer Commanding Special Boat Squadron, Royal Marines [2].
  • 1982 (Major) (SBS) appointed O.B.E. (Military Division) in recognition of service within the operations in the South Atlantic [2A].

VAN DER HORST, Richard Evert

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Evert van der Horst OBE, Officer Commanding the Special Boat Service, died in a diving accident during an amphibious exercise off Norway on March 7 2005; he died on March 14. 
  • 1984 joined the Royal Marines as a university cadet entrant and passed out in 1988 with the Sword of Honour *.
  • 1988 appointed to 45 Commando Group and commanded a rifle troop and a mortar troop with operational tours in Northern Ireland and Iraq, and deployments to Norway and the Carribean.

WALTON, Richard Anthony Carl

Royal Marines

Colour Sergeant Richard Walton was serving at RMDIV Leconfield at the time of his death.

Richard Walton joined the Royal Marines in 1985 and served 2 days short of 20 years. During his career he served at Poole, 40 Commando, Commando Logistics Regiment, 42 Commando, CTCRM, and SBS. [Sources: AFM ROH / Navy News issue 1st June 2005.]

WRIGHT, Harold

Gunner Harold Wright, 2SBS, received a Mention in Despatches in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in North Africa [1]. The operation was the Oran Landings, an assault on the port by HMS Walney and HMS Hartland, 8th November 1942.  He formed one of the crew of No.3 Folbot with Cpl. Sidlow, which was launched from HMS Walney [2].
[1] London Gazette 36486, page1928.
[2] National Archives file WO373/94/454.

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