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sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Navy’s Tribute to a Brave Man - Arrow Boats renamed CEDRIC

From: Sunil de Costa <sdec53@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 12:13 PM
Subject: A gallant Thomian
To: Sriyan Jayasekera <sriyanj@gmail.com>, Sriyan jayasekera <stc.dsa.era.group@gmail.com>

Hi Sriyan,

The fitting below tribute by the Navy is to A Gallant Thomian.

Best regards

Navy’s Tribute to a Brave Man - Arrow Boats renamed CEDRIC

October 12, 2016, 8:50 pm

When Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijeguneratne came on Sirasa TV News 1st Programme, I asked him about his former colleague and co-founder of Navy’s elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the late Commander Cedric Martenstyn.

Bandula: Ravi, Any memories of your old friend Cedric Martenstyn?

Ravi: Arrow boats that are being used by the SBS are his products. It was his design and we are thinking now to name them as Cedric. He took over the Special Boat Squadron from me when I went overseas for training. He died or let me say he is missing in action.

Bandula: I am sure the family will be pleased and honoured if you do that.

Ravi: Of course. We have a very close interaction with his family. Whenever the Special Boat Squadron conducts special ceremonies we invite the family to join us. Yes. We will do that.

Bandula: Howard, (Cedric’s brother) If you are watching this I am sure you will be pleased. You have dedicated your book also to Cedric. Later, Vice Admiral Wijeguneratne said, "We will never forget this gallant officer who helped me to form the SBS in 1993 and later commanded the elite unit with great success. He designed and built Arrow boats (now named Cedric) and introduced 40mm automatic grenade launchers and multi-purpose machine guns to these boats. We will never forget him. He is our hero"

That was 4th of October. Next day on late Commander Cedric Martenstyn’s 70th birth anniversary , the Navy Commander , Vice Admiral Ravi Wijeguneratne kept his word and renamed the Arrow Boats as Cedric.

Renaming the Arrow Boats as Cedric, the Navy had this to say in a special release.

"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, Manoeuvrability 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 Palali 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". Following the footsteps of his brave father, his son Flying Officer Jason Martenstyn who was a qualified pilot joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as an AN 32 transport aircraft pilot on 6th September 1994 and died in action on 13th 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 duos who paid the supreme sacrifice for the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our motherland"

Tributes came from all over for the Navy’s gesture to a Hero . Admiral Mohan Wijewickerma said " Most Appropriate". General Sanath Karunaratne, the former Sinha regiment veteran said " It is great". Commodore Ajith Boyagoda who was imprisoned by the LTTE terrorists for eight years, said " Great recognition of Cedric’s contribution to SBS. Well Done Navy". Commander HU Silva said, "Cedric deserves it ; Well Done Admiral Ravi" Cedric’s dearest brother Howard said "How can I ever thank the Navy for keeping Cedric’s legacy alive. As you can imagine, we like others who lost loved ones Missing in Action, cannot ever get closure easily. Just this act alone makes all my work worth every second I have spent otherwise. My deepest gratitude to Navy Commander Ravi." His wife Druki wrote " A lovely birthday present to Cedric on his 70th birth anniversary" Cedric’s son , Curt Martenstyn wrote, "I reckon he would have a good laugh anytime anyone issues orders ‘Send a couple of Cedric’s down the left flank’ ".

I am sure he is Curt. Others who commented said that Cedric will be smiling upstairs. Howard’s wife Laila wrote on her FB Page "My husband is beaming!! Commander Cedric Martenstyn, Howard’s brother and Sri Lankan hero was honored today when the naval small boat squadron was named CEDRIC, after him. Druki, Jonathan, Curt, what a proud moment" Janice Flamer Caldera had this to say "What a wonderful homage to a brave man" Russel Baptiste said: " A fitting tribute to a great warrior. If there was one word Cedric did not know. It was "fear" .

Cedric’s brother Howard told me " It took so long for the Navy to do this and finally it fell on his colleague and co-founder of the SBS , present Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijeguneratne, to do the honours and he did it with love, respect, admiration and gratitude. We have no words to Thank him"

How else could the country pay a tribute to one of Mother Lanka’s true heroes? We shall and We must always remember with gratitude all those who sacrificed their today for our tomorrow.

(Navy Honours late Commander Cedric Martenstyn of the Special Boat Squadron)
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