Saturday 31st May
Saturday was an important historical occasion for the Corps as we, 186 troop, and the whole of CTCRM including trained ranks, officers and numerous civilians were to greet the members of the 1664 Commando Challenge team, celebrating 350 years of the Royal Marines in style, with an epic challenge: http://www.1664challenge.co.uk/ .186 Troop were raring to go and, for the first time, we really started to feel part of the Royal Marines and, most importantly, it’s ethos and values.
At 0800 following an accommodation inspection we marched off to the drill shed to prepare for transit. On arrival in Exmouth the entirety of CTCRM gathered in a car park awaiting orders, and at approximately 10.40 we were brought to attention by the RSM. Led by drummers of the Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) and a Viking armoured vehicle, we began our speed march through Exmouth town centre. The atmosphere was electric with people lining the streets from Exmouth to Lympstone town centre and back to CTC – it was hugely inspirational for the troop and great motivation for us to continue with our efforts in getting the coveted green beret.
At 12.40 half of the troop congregated at the Guard Room to partake in duties for family’s day and the other half met at the drill shed for the tug of war competition. A special mention must go to recruit Bradstreet for his titanic and disturbingly psychotic efforts on the rope. However, despite the team’s endeavours we lost out to much weightier opponents. At 18.30 the family day finished and we all sped off to Exeter – I don’t really recall the events of that night, but if anyone is interested speak to recruit Melling.
Monday 2nd June
The day began at 0700 with a locker inspection from our DL Cpl McCabe. Let’s just say that, after he departed, the accommodation looked more like Stalingrad than our grots – lesson learnt.
At 0800 we received a lecture about the prevention of soft tissue injury. During this lecture the reason recruits are know as “Nods” became increasingly apparent.
At 0900 we had our 8th rifle lesson which was very enjoyable. In 2 Section, there have been notable improvements from recruit Evans and Bell.
At 1100 we received a lecture in the church about coping with loss. We discovered quickly that coping with loss of sleep is currently our biggest concern.
At 1200 some of us went off to sit functional skills tests to ensure we are educationally qualified for our future careers in the Royal Marines.
At 13.30 we had our first Lovat trouser fitting. Lovats are the Royal Marines second most smart form of dress, behind ‘Blues’.
At 1500 we had an IMF session followed by a swim – collectively we noticed a rise in the physical intensity of both the IMF and the swimming lessons. The weekend was now truly behind us.
Tuesday 3rd June
This was the day of Exercise Early Night and we began by collecting our weapons from the armoury at 0640.
Serial 2 for the day was yet again, another room inspection, with Cpl McCabe a little happier this time. This was quickly followed by us being the disposal of Sergeant Floor, gathering equipment for the exercise.
At 0900 we attended a lecture on health and hygiene to educate us about potential complications when in the field.
At 1100 we were shipped out to Woodbury Common to begin Exercise Early Night – unfortunately it has a slightly deceptive name. Once in the field we received various lectures about duties of a sentry, ration packs, variations of Poncho erection and a brilliantly eccentric lecture on self-administration from Cpl Kingston and Cpl Hoey that seems to have inspired recruit Russell – notably even when not in the field. Following that we set up a patrol harbour and delegated sentry duties for the ensuing night. The period of darkness passed, and with large swarms of midges annihilating any exposed skin there was certainly no danger of falling asleep on sentry duty.
Wednesday 4th June
At 0600, while still in the field, we had a kit muster. We were not ready on time, and corrective training ensued. We were in general, however, OK for our first attempt.
We began our march back to CTC covering 4 miles, with webbing and rifles, led by our troop commander before most people were at work. We arrived back at approximately 09.40 covering the distance in just over an hour.
Later in the morning we had a swim session wit the PTIs, consisting of hypoxic lengths; this is to improve our cardio vascular fitness, but often just ends with much gasping for air.
At 1200 we received an interesting lecture from the troop commander about the Roles of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in British security, national interest and alliances. This also included information on the ships, submarines, helicopters and future fast jets of the FAA – no one dared fall asleep in this lecture. Following that we de-serviced our kit from the field – everyone, bar me, achieved this with no dramas.
Thursday 5th June
At 0700 we collected our weapons from the armoury.
We dis-assembled and cleaned our rifles for inspection at 0730.
At 0800 we had rifle lesson 9, and again there was a noticeable improvement all round in the knowledge and practical use of the SA80 A2.
At 1100 we had swimming lesson 11 – more hypoxic lengths and diving.
At 1200 we attended a very interesting field craft lecture from Cpl Komiatis.
At 1400 we attended a sex education lecture – very amusing.
And finally at 1500 we had an intense double IMF session with Cpl Jolley.
Friday 6th June
At 0730 we collected our weapons from the armoury.
At 0800 we had an IMF session which was again fairly intense, but with a clear collective improvement in the troop’s rope climbing technique and make-fast.
At 0900 we had rifle practice before our Weapons Handling Test. On the most part everyone was solid in this test and for those who weren’t I’m sure they will crack it soon as I know everyone in the troop are very determined– absolutely no exceptions.
At 1400 we received a short brief on Hunter Company from the company 2iC. We then welcomed a new member from HUNTER into our troop – Max Bridger. He has settled into our troop smoothly and, although he’s only been with us for two days, is fully integrated.
We finished the week with drill at 1500 with Cpl McCabe teaching us quick march into slow march and vice versa, and about turn in both slow march and quick march. Thankfully it was a smooth and enjoyable session – hoofing.