216 Troop diary entry for week 27:
“Final Ex”, as it is known by Recruits, commenced on the Thursday of week 26 with a coach to Dartmoor training area, where the Troop was to stay until Monday before moving off to Plymouth. A mixture of anxiety and excitement was felt among the Recruits, on one hand the usual nerves they accompany the start of any exercise, and on the other the thrill knowing this was to be our last exercise as “Recruits”. With no time to spare 216 started their exercise with a troop deliberate attack on an enemy house that very afternoon. This was to dictate the pace of our time on Dartmoor, throughout which we would practice all the field skills we had accumulated since week 1. Our time out there was challenging and the training team put us through our paces during each serial we underwent ranging from a 15km yomp on the Friday, assaulting a farm on Saturday morning and completing the infamous 22km “killer yomp” that same day to practicing COIN (Counter-Insurgency) drills Sunday and FIWAF (Fighting in Woods and Forests) Monday morning.
We left Dartmoor tired, but excited to move onto Plymouth to continue this exercise. Having arrived at Royal Marines Tamar in the early afternoon, 216 Troop dropped their gear off in the “striker building” a hangar that we would use as a base until the end of the exercise. We prepared for our first serial that evening and carried it out on first light Tuesday morning, after which the Troop spent the day and night on HMS Brecon, a retired Falklands war era minesweeper ship now used as a training vessel. We were able to take full advantage of the luxuries onboard such as a warm shower, hot water for “wets”, and a mattress to sleep on. We left the ship early on Wednesday to conduct what was described to be a “classic royal marine operation” including utilizing amphibious vehicles, a cliff assault and a deliberate troop attack on an enemy location finished with an abseil down the cliff all done under the watchful eyes of our guest of honour, Commodore FANCY Royal Navy, who has been following our Troop throughout training. We came back to RM Tamar to rest and prepare ourselves for our last evolution taking Scraesdon Fort. This was to be our hardest test due to the size of the place, with over 50 rooms to clear. But the troop managed to neutralize the enemy threat and rescue the hostage thus ending the exercise on a high.