He had a colourful career in South America and Spain, fighting in the Spanish Civil War: in 1940, when his ship Malvernian was attacked by aircraft and abandoned, he was picked up by a Spanish fishing vessel and interned, but later escaped. On return to Britain, he joined Coastal Forces. In 1943, commanding MGB 333, he rammed and sank an Eboat in a night action, receiving the DSC. Later that year, while commanding MTB 617 and as Senior Officer 55th MTB Squadron, he torpedoed the liner Strasbourg and sank an armed trawler (bar to DSC): and in MTB 606 he attacked a convoy and sank two armed trawlers and an E-boat, but MTB 606 had to be abandoned. On D+1, off Le Havre, four boats of the 55th, under his command, engaged and drove off a large enemy force bent on attacking the ships off the invasion beaches (second bar to DSC). In October 1944 he was awarded the DSO for his consistent leadership.