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The Special Boat Squadron in the Second World War: A band of renegade cut-throats

Author Gavin Mortimer discusses the history of the Special Boat Squadron.

The Special Boat Squadron (SBS) was formed as a separate unit from the Special Air Service (SAS) in early 1943. It was an elite fighting force which never comprised more than 200 soldiers.

Led by men such as the famed Victoria Cross recipient Anders Lassen, the SBS launched savage hit-and-run raids on the Germans stationed in idyllic Aegean islands such as Santorini, Naxos and Crete. Highly-trained, totally secretive and utterly ruthless, the SBS also saw action in Italy, the Balkans and mainland Greece. But their methods didn't always find favour with the British establishment, and in 1944 the Conservative MP Simon Wingfield-Digby, in describing their guerrilla methods, likened them to 'a band of renegade cut-throats'.


Gavin Mortimer | talks


Date and Time:

31 August 2018 at 11:30 am


1 hour



National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road


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