An un-inherited love of the sea began for Blondie Hasler at an early age and developed quickly into a life-long passion. Mixed with this was an inquiring inventive mind and an adventurous, free spirit unable to accept the status quo.
Blondie’s sailing fame took off in 1932, the year he was commissioned into the Royal Marines, when he sailed a fourteen-foot dinghy single-handed from Plymouth to Portsmouth and back. His military prowess was also proven early in life when, as a result of serving in Norway in 1940, he was appointed an OBE, mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Croix de Guerre. In 1941 he considered taking the war to the enemy by stealth rather than by force and wrote a paper suggesting the use of canoes and underwater swimmers. His ideas were tested in 1942 at Bordeaux, after which he was known to his extreme embarrassment, as the Cockleshell Hero. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross.
In January 1944 he transferred to Ceylon to train ‘Special Forces’ against the Japanese in Burma and, by the war’s end, had dispatched 173 raids against the enemy. On his return Blondie was responsible for establishing the Royal Marines Special Boat Service as it is recognised today, before retiring with ill health.