John Robertson

Staff member
Richard Cormac
  • UNIT
R.M. Special Boat Service
  • RANK
Lieutenant + Captain (Local Major)

Queens Commendation for Brave Conduct, Member of the Order of the British Empire
Mid Atlantic (QE2 bomb threat) 1972 (QCBC) 1986 (MBE)
born 15.4.1946 East Africa (Bath, Somerset - The Times)
son of R.H.R. Clifford (Colonial Service)
educated Stowe School
commissioned R.M. 1966
40 Commando (Lt) 1966
SBS 1968
3 Special Boat Det., Amphibious Training Unit (HMS Jufair, Bahrain) 1969-71
SBS, Gibraltar 1971
42 Commando (Major) 1975
SBS for further 20 years
HQ RM Portsmouth
retired 1996 as Major
gamekeeper and conservationist
married Shirley Hawkins 1970 in Bahrain (2 children Andrea and Kit) (divorced)
married Jenny Wiltshire (nee Cardale) 1981 (2 stepchildren Tim and Helen)
died 15.11.2015
London Gazette 45775, 11th September 1972, Page 10835 (Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct)
London Gazette 50764, 30th December 1986, Page 5 (MBE)


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. To get the team on board the ship a parachute drop into the sea was necessary.

The two Royal Marines members of the team were responsible for ensuring that the two Army bomb disposal experts together with their equipment arrived on board the ship; thereafter they were to assist them in locating and dealing with any bombs that might have been aboard.

During the flight it was discovered that Captain Williams had little parachuting experience and none of parachuting into the sea.

On arrival over the ship weather conditions were found to be adverse and it was necessary for the aircraft to carry out several trial runs before the jumps could be made.

The team faced three problems: the presence of an 'inexperienced' parachutist, adverse weather conditions requiring a drop from minimum height through cloud, and the carriage of unusually heavy and bulky loads. There is no doubt that under ordinary conditions the mission would have been abandoned but in view of its urgency and importance it was decided to proceed with the operation despite the risks to those involved.

On the fourth run over the ship Staff Sergeant Oliver and Corporal Jones dropped with the heavy equipment and on the seventh run the two officers dropped. Lieutenant Clifford supervised Captain Williams' parachute drill and when they arrived in the sea he supported him until they were picked up.

Once on board, the team immediately started their search of the ship and the suspect cargo. The courage and determination of all four members of the team in the face of unusual and hazardous conditions resulted in the successful execution of this operation.

WEB LINKS: (Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct) (MBE)
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