Royal Marines entertained a crowd of spectators on Plymouth Hoe today (Thursday) as they flew by helicopter and landed by fast boat to mark their 350th anniversary.
The Marines were applauded and cheered as they completed a three-day leg of their cross-country speed-march from Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, near Exmouth in Devon, to Plymouth. Along the 58-mile route the Marines split into two teams to race each other to the finishing line on Plymouth Hoe – one on a 30-mile cross-Dartmoor route and finally a Chinook helicopter flight and one by two amphibious fast offshore raiding craft.
They praised the support they received throughout the route – from the crowds who came out onto the streets and donated to the Royal Marines Charitable Trust (RMCTF) along the way.
Leading the core group of six Marines running across the UK is Captain Sam Moreton, of Plymouth-based 42 Commando. He said: “Its fantastic to see all these people cheering us on Plymouth Hoe. But we’ve been amazed by all the support we’ve had in all the towns and villages. We’ve stopped traffic and shoppers throughout Devon and across the South so far. It definitely keeps us going and, of course, adds to the RMCT collection. So we’re very grateful to everyone who came pout to see us and who put money in the collection buckets.
The run is part of the anniversary charity 1664 Challenge and the core six Royal Marines Commandos team are skiing, sailing, cycling, canoeing and running 6,656 km, in four 1,664-km legs over a route covering Norway, Spain, France and the UK. The aim is to encapsulate the Royal Marines Commando spirit and Corps values in a significant physical and mental challenge. which has included skiing, canoeing and sailing across the UK and in European waters.
Marine Philip Wilson, 26, of Plymouth, completed the gruelling 30-mile cross-Dartmoor run wearing full kit, a gun, a full rucksack and in military boots. The run, by 21 members of 30 Commando, replicates the training run undergone by recruits who must pass to join the elite corps and took eight hours and 45 minutes.
He said: “We’re glad to finish. It’s been more of a shuffle and fast walk than a speed march because the terrain is so tough and we’re carrying a heavy loads of kit. But we all passed it in training and enjoying keeping at peak fitness as any marine does.
42 Commando received the 1664 Challenge baton from 30 Commando at the Royal Marines Memorial on the Hoe ready for their speed march section from Plymouth to Falmouth tomorrow. A D-Day Landings 70th year commemorative wreath was laid at the memorial by the Marines.
The first section of the 1664 run by 42 Commando is a diversion tomorrow through Tavistock to Kelly College from 930am – 10am tomorrow. The Marines are then transported to Torpoint and start the Cornwall route from there at 1130am, to HMS Raleigh at midday and then to Liskeard at 4pm.
On Saturday they leave Liskeard at 9am, arrive at Bodmin at 1pm and then to Eden Project at 2.30 for an abseil inside a biome then arrive at St Austell Asda supermarket at 4.30pm where there will be static military and family attractions.
On Sunday they will run from St Austell at 1030 and arrive at Truro Lemon Quay at 2.30, the attractions will begin at midday.
The RMCTF is the Royal Marines charity, helping our wounded and injured, particularly those that have been most severely injured, to begin their transition back into civilian life; quite simply, the RMCTF will help when others cannot. The RMCTF will also help those still serving and facing successive tours in high threat environments – providing adventure training for those returning from operations, funding homecoming events, financing memorials and maintaining our heritage.