146 TROOP DIARY – WEEK 25
We started the week fresh after a well earned weekend off and were looking forward to what was in store. We were due to spend the week in Poole and Portsmouth training on the various boats the Royal Marines use as well as practising amphibious assault drills – something new to all of us. After a long journey down to Poole, we were met by a representative from the Special Boat Service (SBS) who are part of the UK Special Forces. They gave us an insight into who they were; what they did and the selection process for joining. Needless to say the majority of us were all thinking it is hard enough getting through recruit training, let alone the training for the SBS!
We were then met by the members of the Landing Craft (LC) branch. They lectured us on the various boats used by the Royal Marines and on the drills we would be practicing over the following couple of days. We started with capsize drills – practicing how to tip over a Inflatable Raiding Craft (IRC) otherwise known as a zodiac; a small boat used for reconnaissance and covert insertion and re-right it – easier said then done when the water is 6 degrees! We then moved onto drills on the Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) and Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) where we learnt beach assaults, moving on and off the boats and cross decking day and night (moving from the LCVPs on to the ORCs). The next part of the week was spent at HMS EXCELLENT and HMS COLLINGWOOD – we travelled there and spent two days leaning about survival at sea and fire fighting. This involved learning about what to do in the event of abandoning ship, by keeping alive in the water and living on one of the inflatable life rafts with up to 23 other people! We also spent a whole day being taught how to find our way around ship and how to fight fires safely, by practicing in one of the facilities at the base – using fire extinguishers and hoses to fight simulated fires. We then spent a chilled evening at HMS COLLINGWOOD and even managed to watch the football with a McDonalds!
After returning to CTCRM on the Thursday evening, we woke up energised and ready for the next big criteria test in training – the 6 mile speed march. The Troop was buzzing with nervous energy, everyone was looking forward to getting the speed march smashed and receiving the prized cap comforters – a mark to show you were entering the commando phase of training! 60 minutes later, we finished the speed march, with the majority of the Troop having passed (only two failed). We felt immensely proud with what we had achieved! It had been fairly tough but we were all feeling good and were presented with our cap comforters by the Royal Marines memorial, with port and a toast off our training team! The Troop entered the weekend with morale high with all eyes focused on the following week and what was to come – our final exercise!