This is Saul David's authorised wartime history of the Special Boat Service. He took over the project from Paddy Ashdown after he sadly passed away. With full access to the SBS archives, he has written an excellent history of the unit in its various forms during the Second World War.
The title 'Silent Warriors' reflects the operations and recruitment policies of the unit. They operated in very small groups behind enemy lines, armed only with knives and small arms. While they did undertake sabotage raids, they also launched intelligence operations. They rejected the typical loud 'tough guys' attracted to commando units favouring quiet, tough, independent and problem solvers. This approach was started by the acknowledged founder of the SBS, Roger Courtney.
The early operations were typically undertaken in a folbot (collapsable canoe) carried in a submarine. These operations were carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean, hence my interest, including Rhodes in March 1941, which had an Italian and German garrison. A minor point, rarely mentioned in other studies of Allied troops, was the use of amphetamines to keep themselves alert. They did a good job, so by August 1941, the Folbot Section had become the Special Boat Section with 23 officers and 31 other ranks.
Saul does not duck other difficult stories. Such as the decision of Lt Cdr Miers, commanding the submarine HMS Torbay to machine gun enemy soldiers cast adrift in a rubber raft. It was one thing not to help the enemy adrift in the water, quite another to shoot them in a life raft.
One of the more famous early raids was the attempt to kidnap or kill Rommel. The job of the SBS was to get the commandos safely ashore. This was a role they would undertake many times, although later with much larger amphibious operations.
Their success led to the establishment of a Special Boat Section in the UK. Of particular interest to me because it was based just up the road from me at Seafield House in Ardrossan. It was later a special school run by Quarriers when I visited it for my job and had no idea of this part of its history. Sadly, the building was severely damaged by a fire after the school closed.