Special Boat Service

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The Special Boat Service can be traced back to the Special Boat Section created in 1943 and commanded at one time by George Jellicoe. The history of the SBS 'spans over 6 decades, seeing the unit go through many a transformation - from Army commando units of World War 2, to an elite sub-unit of The Royal Marines to its present day incarnation as a highly specialised element of UK Special Forces (UKSF).'[1] the SBS was reportedly renamed the Special Boat Squadron in 1977 and took nts current name with the creation of the UK Special Forces in 1987.[2]


According to the Special Boat Service website (an unoffical site not afilliated to the SBS or MoD):

The SBS began its history during World War 2 as the Special Boat Section, an Army commando unit tasked with amphibious operations. The men of the fledging unit were not particularly well trained or equipped but they were enthusiastic, resourceful and cunning. Usually working in 2 man groups, paddling ashore on canoes launched from submarine motherships, the teams would seek out and sabotage high value targets such as rail and communication lines. The first of such raids took place along the shores of Italy and the Mediterranean islands.
The fledging special operations force also developed anti-shipping skills, using canoes to sneak into harbors and plant limpet mines on the hulls of enemy ships. In November 1942, one group of Royal Marines, who were to become known as 'The Cockleshell Heroes', carried out an audacious attack on German shipping, a raid that took them far up the Gironde river where they sank 4 enemy ships.
Their expertise at clandestine infiltration made the SBS the perfect choice for inserting and extracting secret agents in the European theatre and this was a task they carried out many times throughout the course of the war.[3]


  1. Special Boat Service History Of The SBS - The UK's Naval Special Forces, accessed 31 December 2009
  2. HMForces.co.uk The Special Boat Service (SBS), accessed 31 December 2009
  3. Special Boat Service History Of The SBS - The UK's Naval Special Forces, accessed 31 December 2009