Kings Squad Pass Out Fourteen of us set off on the five hour journey down to Lympstone on Thursday morning hoping that our Marine would be able to join us for dinner, unfortunately this wasn’t to be (he was given a room detail). After a few drinks in the early evening Exeter sunshine we all went to bed early in preparation for “Operation Get Grandad to Kings Squad!” (My dad had a stroke two years ago and uses a mobility scooter.) The next morning we arrived at CTCRM and my Dad was promptly whisked away by two very able recruits whilst we parked in the Kings Squad Car Park. He was thoroughly looked after all day. One of the Captains apologised to him for the poor disabled access but he didn’t notice it! After signing in and collecting our Visitor passes we met up with him again in The River Exe suite where a welcome cup of tea was waiting. Whilst we waited for the proceedings to begin those who hadn’t seen it before got a real taste of Lympstone life witnessing Camp circuits, fireman carries, several attempts by an exhausted recruit at the six foot wall and lots of Corporals shouting orders! We made our way into Falklands Hall for the Green Beret presentation and troop awards, whilst we waited for the guests of honour (General Sir James Dutton, Governor of Gibraltar and Caroline Quentin) the CSM told a few bad jokes. When he made the introductions my nephew aged two was the youngest guest and he was thrilled. There were lots of different personnel from various Armed Forces most notably a Dad from the Greek Navy who was introduced before all of the British Army and RAF folk, which raised a cheer! The training team and their illustrious careers were also given a rapturous round of applause! After all those introductions came the phrase I’d been waiting all morning to hear “Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Kings Squad” back went the curtain and there was my boy, front row, looking as handsome and proud as I’d ever seen him and my heart swelled with pride. When he marched out and received his beret and smiled at the camera for a split second I saw that little boy who always came in from school with a big smile for his Mum and I shed a few tears (this became a theme throughout the morning!) Once all the berets and awards had been presented and a DVD of training shown, we moved to the parade ground where we were greeted once again by warm sunshine. We took our seats and my heart was pounding as we waited for the troop to march in and form up. The troop was inspected, awards were presented by the General, each recruit was spoken to by him and all the dignitaries present,(my son admitted to googling Caroline Quentin as he’d not a clue who she was!) after all this they gave us an awe inspiring drill display along to the theme tune from The Last of the Mohicans (one of my favourite pieces of music – tears again). The synchronisation of those movements and the spectacle of the white gloved hands performing them are truly amazing! During the march past my nephew marched along (on reins) and shouted out “march mans, march!” I wept again whilst they marched to the hymn, I vow to thee my country. I’ll be honest and tell you that I found the General’s address a little upsetting when he said that “history proves that active service...will happen very soon...” I was shaking at the end of it. The march through camp was exhilarating seeing my son march with his troop being clapped by everyone lining the side of the road was superb, I could see him swelling with pride. A troop of recruits in camouflage lined the route too and my nephew shouted at them “dirty mans, wash your faces!” At lunch in The River Exe suite we spoke to the CSM, RSM and the Commandant, it raised quite a giggle when my sister asked “hmm Commandant...What do you do then?” His reply was extremely polite! One Corporal told my Dad what a good lad my son was and he was thrilled! During the proceedings the troop formed a square at the request of the Captain and one lad proposed to his girlfriend! Another sang the song he’d penned about the Captain for the Kings Squad Party which made everyone laugh. My son took my Mum and Dad down to the assault course and my Dad got off his scooter and tried to climb the 30 foot rope, he was so determined and did manage to get his feet off the ground! Despite the tears and a little fear, this was a wonderful, proud family occasion and one my son says he’ll never forget, neither will I son, neither will I! As I look back at the photographs today I am one immensely proud Mum.