190 Troop – Weeks 1 & 2 (Foundation) Diary
The first two weeks are designed to test the new recruit with lack of sleep, a mammoth task of sorting and squaring away vast amounts of kit, learning to iron, polish, clean, make beds, and generally organise the recruit to an exceptional standard. Not forgetting the fine art of Globe and Laureling (the technique for folding every item of clothing into an A4 sized rectangle). During the average day, we as new recruits were to shower and change into a full suit before each of 4 meals a day and to shower between every uniform change, all in all about 8 showers each day. The rest of time was spent conducting physical training, lectures on many different subjects and basic physical tests to ensure our fitness is up to standard. The most memorable part of foundation and probably the only thing we learned how to do effectively was front support place (adopting the press-up position)! Following numerous failed attempts to impress the Drill Leader with our inspections we often found ourselves enduring this stressful position and completing an unlimited amount of press ups. As it turns out, teamwork between 40 newly met 17-32 year olds was the key to getting all our admin up to standard, that and sleeping for a single hour a night.
The endless nights of relentless ironing were followed finally by what we though would be a night of freedom on Exercise Early Night. This was not to be. A single night spent on the bottom field on camp, where we had to do wet and dry routine. This involved the training team putting us into a tank of green water to ensure we were uncomfortably wet for the evening’s events. These included changing throughout the night from wet to dry and back to wet clothes again and an introduction to morning routine – a sequence of events including shaving and cleaning ourselves out of a mess tin.
190 Troop – Week 3 Diary
Our first morning in our new, proper accommodation. After just 3 hours sleep we had a locker inspection where every surface was checked for dust. Then we had a nice and easy-paced swimming session to warm us up for the week ahead. We swam lengths of the pool as a relay for 30 minutes. After lunch we then had drill. Our Drill Leader has extremely high standards and so far we have unsurprisingly not met them! We learned the slow march and spent the better part of an hour practising it. Our evening was spent cleaning and polishing the accommodation and our lockers for another inspection the next morning.
Another room inspection which didn’t go well. Not a good start to the day! After this we had a lengthy lecture about discipline in the military and what the punishments are for those who break the rules. Following this we had another swim session involving circuits. A lot harder than yesterday but still enjoyable. Following lunch we had our Barrack dress trousers fitted. These will be worn later in training when drill becomes more advanced. For now they’re staying in our lockers. Following this we then had Initial Military Fitness in the gym. We focused hard on getting the technique right for the rope climbs. Many members of the troop are finding it difficult as it is such a technical movement. After dinner we had personal time to get our administration sorted for yet more inspections the next day.
After another poor inspection we started the day with drill. We are progressing well as a troop and our movements are becoming much more natural with practice. Our DL nearly gave us a compliment! Following this we had an interesting lecture from the Royal Marines Police. They informed us of the repercussions of breaking the law whilst serving as a marine. After lunch we had more IMF followed by more swimming. Immediately after this we had Royal Marines Close Combat (RMCC) training. We learned how to grapple and defend ourselves if caught without a weapon. Needless to say after these three physical sessions in a row all of us were in need of an early night!
The day started with a successful room inspection. Following this we had more RMCC but this time we were outside enjoying the sunshine and throwing each other on the grass. After lunch we had an entire afternoon of rifle lessons in the weapons stances. We learned how to strip and reassemble the weapon. We also learned how to load and handle the weapon in combat. In the evening we had free time as we had no inspection the next day so needless to say, everyone got an early night!
Following a decent 7 hours sleep, we started the day with a lecture on how to prevent soft tissue damage. Following this we had yet more IMF focussing on rope climbing practice. After lunch we had more rifle training in the weapon stances.
Because this was a working weekend, we weren’t allowed a day off! The day started with four hours of drill. A long stretch but we perfected our movements even more. You can already see the improvement in all of us. After lunch we had another heavy afternoon of phys. We had double IMF in the gym which consisted of another rope climbing lesson followed by a full gym circuit with some camp circuits thrown in just for fun!
After that afternoon we were all completely hanging! But as a reward for our hard work we were allowed to run ashore into Exeter for the afternoon.
We started the day with yet another room inspection which didn’t go well. Following this we had an interesting lecture about the role of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in British defence policy. Following this we had an interesting but deep lecture about coping with loss from the Padre of the camp. We then had yet another IMF session in the gym which involved a hardcore circuit of dragging big boxes across the floor and other such exercises. We all dug really deep to push ourselves through this and as a reward; we had a nice easy relaxed session in the swimming pool afterward where we stretched ourselves off in the water.
All in all it’s been a tiring week!
190 Troop – Week 4 Diary
Morale was high as in one week’s time we would be returning home for summer leave. The week began with preparation for Ex First Step, starting with our weapon handling tests in which nearly everyone passed first time. The majority of the Troop were excited for what was to come, as the Exercise would be the first time the Troop had spent actually in the field and away from Camp.
With the Exercise completed successfully and summer leave fast approaching, we found ourselves regularly in the gym to continue preparing for the physical challenges ahead. Throughout the week we also had multiple drill sessions in order to perfect our Families Day routine.
4 Section had our weekly reviews given on a one to one basis by Cpl Pring, which on the whole were very positive and showed we were working to a good standard. This has definitely helped keep us motivated and has improved moral within the Troop.
Friday came and with maximum effort on our last day we were finally cleared and set on our way for 3 weeks well deserved summer leave
190 Troop – Week 5 Diary
The first week back from summer leave and pretty much the whole Troop had Lympstone blues! Before deploying on Ex QUICK COVER we had a run through in the gym for Families’ Day and were given a very hard session by the PTIs (getting rid of the cobwebs as they said). About six lads brought their breakfast up so I think it worked! After that we got the coach down to Woodbury Common for Exercise Quick Cover. Lessons for the day were on camouflage and concealment, observation, why things are seen and movement with weapons. We then practised what we had been taught; half the troop went and hid in the field and we took turns on trying to spot them. After that we moved into harbour position where we set everything up for the night, at this point the weather was horrendous and seemed to get worse during the night. Sentry duty was interesting! It was our first experience of this sort of weather. We were up at 5:00 am for morning routine and kit muster which was followed by the whole troop going on the flank due to not being quick enough packing up. Our ‘flanking’ involved half an hour or so of crawling through muddy water with some ‘pays to be a winner’ serials towards the end. As we say, it was all ‘phys in the bag’.. Morale was surprisingly high after this.
After that we carried on with more field lectures on judging distances and were given binoculars and laser range finders to help measure the distance between objects. Also we had a briefing on the basics of map reading. Later in the day we had a lesson on fire and manoeuvre, moving on to the Close Quarter Battle lanes to practise what we had been taught. Finally we were given blank rounds and put it all to practise; it was easily the best thing we’ve done so far and I had a massive adrenaline rush when the first round went off! We moved in to harbour positions for the night routine after going down to Peter’s Pool to ‘enhance’ our wet and dry routine and then sentry duty started again. That night was probably the windiest it has been this year.
On the Wednesday we did some more fire and manoeuvre which was brilliant again. The weather was terrible but getting stuck in and diving in thick mud was really good! After this we prepared for the yomp back to CTCRM. This was the first time we carried weight, only being a day sack but it was definitely a shock to the system.
On the Friday we had Families’ Day so morale was really high again and everyone was actually quiet nervous. Drill went surprisingly well despite it being the first session since before summer leave and IMF went well too. Then we packed up for weekend leave- overall, a hoofing week!