The Royal Marines and their French counterparts marked the 20th year of a military partnership at a ceremony in Paris.
3 Commando Brigade RM and 9e Brigade d’Infanterie de Marine, the French amphibious army brigade, attended an anniversary ceremony was at the historic Les Invalides. It was a fitting event to celebrate the past 20 years of collaboration between the two brigades and also to mark the production and signing of a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force agreement.
Brigadier Charlie Stickland (Commander 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines – based in Plymouth) said: “Standing in the shadow of Napoleon it was truly a memorable event, made even more gratifying due to the tangible delivery of the Combined Landing Force driving reality and pragmatism into our relationship seeking to enable genuine delivery.
“Given the French attendance and its location and conduct, this ‘brigadier level’ event had national significance to our French partners. They remain genuinely enthusiastic about the collaboration between our two brigades and are keen to strengthen ties through our planned exercises this autumn.”
For the ceremony 40 Commando Royal Marines, from Somerset provided the guard and colour party, and a Royal Marines corps of drums integrated with the Breton pipes and band of 9e Brigade d’Infanterie de Marine.
Presiding over the event was the Military Governor of Paris Lieutenant General Charpentier, an ex Chief of General Staff and Commander of 9e Brigade d’Infanterie de Marine. Major General Wilson (retired) was the senior British officer present and represented the head of the Royal Navy (First Sea Lord) and Commandant General Royal Marines. Also on parade were Brigadier General Vincent Guionie, the current Commander 9e Brigade d’Infanterie de Marine, the Brigade Commander, and the COs and RSMs of both brigades.
Witnessing the ceremony, in addition to a large crowd of tourists and other onlookers, were VIPs invited from both the UK and France. Brigadier JJ Thomson CBE QGM (rtd), ex Commander 3 Commando Brigade RM, attended having signed the first partnership agreement twenty years earlier in 1995.
During the parade General Wilson and Lt Gen Charpentier inspected the troops, the colours were honoured and three awards were made to French officers. Once the awards were presented, the two generals made speeches with their key messages focusing on the importance of the partnership and the mutual benefit of the collaboration, deriving from the different capabilities of each brigade being used to complement the other.