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Royal Marine Day

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marines1The cast: Gypsie: Louis Potter Katie: Jordan Young Fetus: Jordan West Howling mad Joe: Joe Bradley JA Baracus: Jack Ayres Murdoch: TJ Skinner Faceman: Mr. James Hannibal (The man with the plan) ex Bootneck: Mr. Lewis

0600hrs, the boys were up and ready to tackle one of the hardest assault courses in the world. We were heading off to Lympstone to take on the challenge of the elite Royal Marine Commando Endurance course.

 

All the boys had volunteered and were excited at the opportunity which had been given to them. I had briefed all the boys on what to expect (Although some of the finer information had been missed out as to not dishearten them completely!) The boys would attempt to complete one of the four elite Commando tests that every Royal Marine must pass to earn his Green Beret and Commando daggers.

 

 We arrived bang on time and were greeted by a corporal from the RM visibility team. We joined a group of post 16 students who were on a week’s look at life course. The boys were immediately surprised to hear that there are few courteous gestures and hands out of pockets, smarten up and the words don’t be last would ring throughout the day.
With their kit on the boys fell into line and water bottles were inspected. The boys quickly found out that ‘fill them to the top’ meant just that. Bottles emptied down their backs, except for Jordan Young who managed to get away with it for now.

marines2Mr. James and I looked on and wondered how they would take to this no nonsense treatment. A white vested PTI turned up and explained that this was a working Commando training centre and apologised for future offending statements such as Predator, Gingers and Justin Bieber look alike (Jordan Young) and it was into the wagons and onto Woodbury common for the shock of their lives.

A quick warm up and the boys were running through the woods for press ups and sit ups acquaint. I happened not to mention this detail previously. Within 1 min Louis Potter and Jordan West were struggling and they were pinged by the supporting Bootnecks. It could have gone so wrong at this point but all the boys dug out and pushed their bodies beyond anything they had done before, and this was still the warm up! Special mention goes to TJ Skinner who dug out blind during this and the whole day. Onto the water and mud; they ran and crawled and couldn’t believe what they were doing, the look of desperation when crawling up the hill out of the mud and words like “I am going to stop” but “Stop where” I said “There is nowhere to stop!”. The words “this is torture and illegal” from Louis still ring in my ears. But fair play to all the lads they gave 100% and a very good account of themselves. All the boys were singled out at some stage and made good rapport with the instructors. Katie aka Jordan Young made particular impression especially when all the lads were stuck in the press ups position whilst he sorted out his boots for about 5mins.

The sheep dip was waiting. The boys thought they might have missed it as all of them had previously said they would never do it. The boys looked shaky but all put in a great effort including Mr. James and I also revisited some past memories. The changes in their faces after they had completed it were striking. Cold, wet, knackered but all overcame fears on the day. They spent the rest of the day cleaning themselves off, eating a hearty meal in the gallery and having a play with all the latest weapons.

A fantastic day was had by all the pupils and said a huge thank you to the team.  They left as boys, identified fear and overcame it to come back young men.