Spanish flag sinks off Gibraltar

article-2400896-1B701B89000005DC-138_634x651 police stunt ‘violated British sovereignty’:  Spanish police have now come under fire for sending divers to inspect a concrete reef in Gibraltar’s international waters, who then took underwater pictures of themselves unfurling the Spanish flag.

Being a proud Englishman, and an ex Royal Marine, I can only presume that the Spanish and the French will be accustomed to seeing their national flags in such a way; salt water logged at the bottom of davy jones locker (my great, great, Grandfather [KIA 21 Oct 1805] and his brother, served as Marines aboard Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar 21 Oct 1805).Battle of Trafalgar-1346440

The Capture of Gibraltar – 24 July 1704 The famous attack upon Gibraltar, which led to its surrender to the British, on 24 July 1704 was carried out by a Brigade of British and Dutch Marines, 1800 strong, under the command of Prince George of Hese-Darmstadt. In the following October, Gibraltar was besieged by the French and Spanish. The Marines from the British Fleet, held the fortress against repeated attacks until the siege was raised on 9 March 1705. In one incident in this fighting, Captain Fisher of the Marines with 17 of his men, successfully defended the Round Tower against the continued assaults of 500 French Grenadiers. A contemporary report of this noted defence says, “Encouraged by the Prince of Hesse, the garrison did more than could humanly be expected, and the English Marines gained an immortal glory.”(17 Marines against 500 French, is hardly fair, Captain Fisher should have stood five Marines down for the weekend to even the odds)!.2539070868_08c9e1681a_z

Not only did we batter the Spanish, and took the ‘Rock’, we also done a few frogs over too! BATTLE HONOUR: The Royal Marines display only one battle honour “Gibraltar” their close relationship with Gibraltar continues, having in recent years been granted the Freedom of Gibraltar.

2013: Seconds out, round two. “Down ramp, out Marines”… With the new modern bayonet you would only be able to skewer two or three at a time; with the old type 18″ bayonet of 1704 you could have a dozen ‘paella-munchers’ on it and still have room for three frogs! Green Ops

Five Royal Marines, previously stood down, now ready to go… Yours Aye.

One of my young Marines

(From way back when) he walked tall and proud through his time and service, within Her Majesty’s Royal Marines. When he joined my section in 40 CDO RM as a young quiet 19-year-old many years ago, I knew he was destined for a very senior rank, which fits him well. During one of our many meet ups, we sat discussing the future of the Corps as well as the standards within it, in particular the recruits at the Commando Training Centre. I was left in no doubt that the ‘99% that need not apply’, do not! He went on further to say that training had actually become more difficult to whittle down the 1%.Justin-Bieber-shirtless-in-London-February-2013-640x822

As we sat on our sandbags swinging the lamp in a quiet York tavern, the silent flat screen TV was flashing news concerning the Canadian maggot Justin Bieber, we both turned the air blue with some colourful language. It was obvious we were not Beliebers!  A few months later and once again the little ‘merde’ Canadian has hit the headlines, the story as well as his arrogance, actually filled me with pure loathing for him and his entourage. Caught on camera: Justin Bieber urinates into a mop bucket in New York restaurant and makes bizarre attack on Bill …      I explained the same to my ‘protégé’ during a Skype call this afternoon, he mentioned a young recruit who went through training as a 19-year old, who successfully passed with flying colours and gained the Commando Medal in doing so. thomascurryPA_228x189Marine Thomas Curry Obituary.

Marine Thomas ‘Vinders’ Curry, who joined CTC RM in May 2005, and successfully passed out of training in Feb 2006. Killed In Action, near Kajaki, Northern Helmand, Jan 2007. One of many volunteers whose light has dimmed so that others may enjoy their freedom. Well done Royal.

Yours Aye.

Hippopotami and Royal Marine recruits have some thing in common.

Britain’s Royal Marine recruits show they have what it takes to become part of the elite fighting forces through grueling Mud Run’s

The notorious run is part of a grueling 32-week Royal Marine training course that ‘turns civilians into Commandos’

It’s held in the foul-smelling mud of the River Exe estuary on the doorstep of the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre, Lympstone Devon.

article-2318777-199A7355000005DC-176_636x383

It is designed to turn the merely tough into the super-tough.

A run, with strength sapping circuits thrown in, is designed to improve recruits’ stamina, strength, and team-spirit, and to weed out those who just aren’t up to it. The Royal Marines’ mud run is used as part of the 32-week training course said to turn ‘civilians into Royal Marine Commandos’, and looking at these astonishing photographs, you can see why even the strongest recruits dread it.

Exhausted, demoralised, and covered in foul-smelling sludge from head to toe, these Royal Marine recruits hope one day to wear the coveted Green Beret marking them out as the elite of Britain’s fighting forces.

As these pictures, (taken on Wednesday 1st May 2013) show, the men need to call upon reserves – both mental and physical – that they didn’t know they had, simply to get through the grueling ordeal.

Captain Ben Chappell RM, who oversees physical training at the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon, said: “The Mud Run is about instilling a Royal Marines state of mind”. The recruits spend up to 45 minutes in the mud that is so thick they can barely run, doing exercises and ‘games’. Towards the end of the session individual effort is not enough to complete the tasks given, cohesion is required using the buddy-buddy system, getting through it really builds team spirit”.

“We are not just looking for physical strength but mental resilience as well, and the team cohesian that comes from getting through the hardship together – this strength and bonding forms part of the Royal Marines’ DNA.”

He also mentioned that the recruits would not necessarily know when the run was coming up, saying: “It’s all about dislocation of expectation”.

Their uniforms offer little protection from the stinking slime as their superiors bawl at them as they commit to circuit training, and crawl on hands and knees through the mire left by the receding tide in the River Exe estuary, beside their training base. Nowhere else in Britain is there a military base right at the gaping mouth of a river, and the training team instructors take full advantage of the noxious mire left by the River Exe for some hardcore ‘obedience’ training.

A dreaded rite of passage, the infamous mud runs aren’t a regular fixture, but occur as and when training teams deem them necessary.  If a recruit Troop work and bond together and give 100%, then generally they are held towards the end of the training course, as part of the Commando Training Tests. Just before the recruits are awarded their coveted Green Berets.

Sometimes they take place sooner than that, and sometimes more than once. It is one part of the Marines’ tough training course, which is designed to weed out those unable to cope, and create a bond amongst those strong enough to survive.

“There are two key aims we’re trying to achieve”, explained Captain Tom Limb, Troop Commander for 164 Recruit Troop, who are in their fourth week of training.

“Firstly, instilling the ethos of team work and the Commando qualities of courage, determination and cheerfulness.  This troop are still early on in their training and they’ve not yet started to gel as a single unit, which is important”.

“The second is discipline – they understand what is expected of them but their discipline levels aren’t where they’re supposed to be at this stage”.

“Eventually, after training and passing out as Royal Marines they will be deployed with a Commando unit elsewhere, ready to take on operational duties – so any discipline issues, to do with the very basics like shaving correctly, cleaning weapons, or maintaining equipment, needs to be ironed out early and swiftly. Hopefully the run will have achieved its aim”

Other wise its back into the mud for another session!

Plagiarized and ‘amended’ form an article written by Harriet Arkell of the Daily Mail.

DownloadedFile

Royal Marines Commando…. It’s a state of mind.

Yours Aye.

A Maggie, a Pony, a Monkey, a Gorilla, and now a Churchill!

Having travelled the Globe courtesy of HM Government; I, like so many others reading this post have become accustomed to hearing nicknames for various denominations of currency, each country unique in its terms, slang, and reference.

During a visit to the USA (Key West was the start point), I offered a 100 Dollar bill to pay for a round of beers, only to be told “Oh Man! I can’t bust a Benjamin this early in the day”! And so a term was created for the use of  the Royal Marine detachment, which later spread through the Ships company; any bar that gave change for a ‘Benjamin’ was hence known as a “Benjamin Buster”, which in turn reasoned that the bar must be popular to carry the (shrapnel) change? Even better was to ask the Bar tender in Sloppy Joe’s bar if we could “leave a ‘Benjamin’ behind the bar until it run dry”, I don’t recall them ever saying no… 

Not a sign of arrogance but necessity; at the time we were fortunate that the £Sterling was strong against the $Dollar (2 to 1). The Ships supply officer initially carried large denominations only, which made his life easier, and the Ships crew more difficult shore-side.

Just as NavyOne loves to tune in his linguistic ear to foreign squarks & babble, I like to listen and pick up certain military pieces of terminology, which filter into the system for eternity. To listen to such makes me chuckle as the true definition is lost on most outside of the bubble. Back in the days when the world was flat; the Royal Navy as well as the Royal Marines picked up foreign language and introduced most of the terms back into the English language, this as well as its use of military jargon, which was, and still is, used within the UK and elsewhere.

For instance;

A square meal; wooden plates were square for ease of stacking, and used less space. Red & Green watch; ‘port & starboard’ still used within the fire service as well as emergency services, due to the fact that ex-service ‘jolly jack tars’ formulated the first ever fire service into watches shore side and took the term along with them.

And so it goes on…

*Yesterday I met up with an oppo who was a bubblehead bootneck, we went for big eats and a few wets, though I decided to settle for a can of ice’rs goffa.  We both opted for huge baked Irish apples with mousetrap and skinheads; my oppo used up all of the slide before I had chance to dive in, a typical wind up! I had to ask the split looking after us if she could please prof some more slide, and put some wind behind it as my big eats was going ice’rs. We had a good craic and spun a few dits about our past life in a green lid, though my oppo swung the lamp a little too much, which, true to form, meant his big eats went harry icer’s.

Translated…

*Yesterday I met up with a good friend who was Special Boat Service, Royal Marines. We went to a bar for a few beer’s, though I decided to settle for a cold can of fizzy drink. We both chose to have a huge baked potato, with cheese and baked beans. My friend used up the butter before I had chance to take some.  I asked the busy waitress  who was looking after us if she could please provide some more butter pretty quick as my meal was going cold. We had a good laugh as we talked of past times whilst wearing a green beret, though my mate as usual couldn’t stop speaking and his meal went very cold.

Here in the UK we have ‘oodles’ of currency slang, though terms can vary from North to South.

A Maggie = £1- coin. Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister at the time of introduction;  it was small & brassy, and thought it was a sovereign.

A Pony = £25- Denomination. In the days of the Raj in India a twenty five Rupee note had a pony pictured on it, the troops brought back the term to the UK.

A Monkey = £500- Denomination. In the same way as above, an Indian 500 Rupee note had a monkey’s picture on it.

A Gorilla = £1000- (two monkey’s). Denomination.

A Churchill = £5- note. One of the proposed nicknames for this new ‘fiver’. It will be *’minted’ and printed in early  2016 ( the Bank of England has given approval and permission to the *Royal Mint to start producing the note for distribution there after).

Five Pounds Churchill

The new issue ‘fiver’ with Churchill’s features will be a collectors piece for those of us who care about our Sceptered Isles.  So far the name being muted is a ‘Winnie’ a ‘Bulldog’ as well as a ‘Churchill’, the later of which I prefer.

Blowing ten Churchill’s on a night out now appeals to me! It’s the least I can do for this great man…

 

Yours Aye.

British Special Forces Request Larger Calibre Ammunition

In my day I was trained in the use of the 7.62 mm ‘L1A1′ Self Loading Rifle (among several other weapons). The 7.62 round was a real man stopper as was proven through various campaigns as well as the Falklands conflict (respectively each side used the same calibre resulting in horrific fatal injuries).

But that is exactly what it was designed for; it even said so on the side of the ‘ammo’ box; “7.62 mm. NATO STANDARD BALL RDS”. THIS AMMUNITION IS NASTY AND BAD, & WILL CERTAINLY DO THE BUSINESS AGAINST YOUR COUNTRIES ENEMIES (actually I made the last part up)!

When the 5.56 mm SA80 ‘Bull Pup’ rifle was issued, a lot of Royal Marines felt that it was a down grade. The ‘blah’ that went along with the weapon and new light weight round, just did not measure up to the SLR ‘big boys toy’ (of which could double up as a club if required)!

Thankfully the (7.62 mm) wheel has been reinvented early through the tactical demand of Afghanistan. I truly hope it follows on for the rest of the British Armed Forces; there will be no distance too far, or any place to hide very soon for those ‘ill disposed’ on the opposite side.

“Targets to your front, watch & shoot, watch & shoot.”

Yours Aye.

The Tale of Arthur Pease

In case you missed it, Ex Bootneck commented on Arthur Pease in this post:

As a Marine I once visited my old work mates from the heavy engineering yard just before the place closed down, which inevitably led on to an afternoon-&-evening session in the local pub outside of the works gates!

I was sat among some real old and bold iron fighters who had experienced the brutalities of war first hand. As the evening wore on it was a true experience to sit and listen to them, as they never spoke of the past when I was a young apprentice working alongside them. Perhaps the ‘amber nectar’ loosened the chains a little, or the fact that I was now a connection to part of their military past that helped; either way I sat in awe of them whilst they spun their ‘back then’ war stories.

One chap in particular taught, nurtured and educated me through my apprentice journey, his name was Arthur Pease; a kindly man who spoke no ill of any one, and a man of very few words, (which makes learning a trite difficult at times when you are under instruction)

It was quite late in the evening as we (several die hards) were stood swaying at the bar (men stand, ladies sit); when Arthur looked at me and said “do they still teach you how to kill with your thumbs” I looked into his beery-teary eyes and realised he was being serious!

I replied “you mean, ‘as in go for the eyes’ and gouge them out”?

He nodded; I asked if he had been taught that “yes, at Achnacarry”.
(WW2 Commando Training camp in Scotland).

After working with him for almost four years he never once mentioned he was an ex Bootneck, even when I confided in him that I had decided to leave the engineering yard to join the Royal Marines? The light in his eyes was slowly misting over, every one appeared to be going back into what ever memories they had. I lightened the mood by saying we were now taught to kill using a finger and thumb; “the thumb flicks off the safety and the finger is wrapped around a trigger; much more effective and you can take out twenty at a time before reloading”. This raised a cheer and the order of several ‘lucky ones’ (neat double shots of rum).

I often wonder what Arthur and his ilk would think of todays warfare, in particular the way it has changed from ‘up close and very personal’ to ‘up close at times, but not so often’.

As is usual, I will post (most) sea stories. Even those that took place on land. Send ‘em if you got ‘em.

Hey Pirates, Beware of Anthony Sharp of Typhon!

I will read any article titled: This Tech Entrepreneur Is About to Launch the Blackwater of the High Seas. The techie is Anthony Sharp and his company is called Typhon:

Anthony Sharp of Typhon, a new private security firm

Anthony Sharp of Typhon, a new private security firm

Anthony Sharp, a 50-year-old veteran of tech startups, grew up with a love for ships. On February 7, he’ll turn that boyhood affection into what might be the first private navy since the 19th century. Sharp’s newest company, Typhon, will offer a fleet of armed ex-Royal Marines and sailors to escort commercial ships through pirate-infested waters. In essence, Typhon wants to be the Blackwater of the sea, minus the stuff about accidentally killing civilians.

Sharp thinks the market is ripe for Typhon, a company named for a monster out of Greek myth. Budget cuts are slicing into the wallets of the militaries that provide protection from pirates. The conflicts and weak governments that incubate piracy in places like Somalia persist. “Maritime crime is growing at the same time that navies are shrinking,” Sharp tells Danger Room by telephone from the U.K. “The policemen are going off the beat.” Sharp thinks that creates a potent opportunity for the fleet he’s buying.

The policemen are going off the beat? Hey, not so fast. We are still out here!

A Primer on Navy FitReps

A good Navy Fitness Report (FitRep) is a true work of art. The perfect amount of space, the exact bullets detailing all the work completed over the last year. Retired naval aviator (and reader) Randy sent me these below. I think you probably know folks (hopefully not many) who fit these descriptions:

He has an overdeveloped sense of unawareness.”

Would be categorized as lazy but for absence.”

At least his education hasn’t gone to his head.”

He has given me a new definition of stoicism: he grins and I bear it.”

The improvement in his handwriting from the last review has revealed his inability to spell.”

Let’s not neglect our friends from across the pond. The British Military writes OFR’s (officer fitness reports). The form used for Royal Navy and Marines fitness reports is the S206. The following are actual excerpts taken from people’s “206′s.”

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Courtesy of blog commenter Ex Bootneck, today is a special day for the Royal Marines:

This day the Corps of Her Majesty’s ‘Royal Marines’ are celebrating their 347th Birthday (October 28th 1664).

The traditional greeting between Royal Marines (regardless of rank) is  “Happy Birthday Royal.”

At 06:00 hrs I received my first text, which contained the traditional greeting. They have continued to ‘ping’ through from around the globe, from serving & ex serving Royal Marines as well as brothers from the USMC.

Per Mare Per Terram

(“By Sea, By Land”)

Er-rah Shipmates!