Looking for a Royal Marines documentary from early to mid 90s

RMR55

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As per title, can't find any evidence of it existing but I like to see it again as it was one of the reasons I started to consider Lympstone over other options.

What I remember:
  • Filmed early to mid 1990's (but give me a bit of slack there)
  • Followed a few different parts of the corps including:
  • A group going through the All Arms course, this included some older guys (Sgt and Colour Sgt) and seemed to focus on them
  • Commando Logistic Rgt on exercise in Norway. IIRC it was a peace keeping mission including a field hospital.
  • Was released on VHS
  • Was just 2 parts I think (hour each?)
  • Was probably Channel 4 as the BBC stuff is well listed on iPlayer.
I am not thinking of Royal Marines - Behind the lines or How to Make A Royal Marines Officer. I have these already :)

Any info would be much appreciated even if you just remember watching it, I can't find any trace of it online.

Cheers
 

Chelonian

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Any info would be much appreciated even if you just remember watching it, I can't find any trace of it online.

You might mean 'Commando' which was a Folio Productions' TV series made for Westcountry Television. Flmed in 1992. Produced and directed by Charles Thompson.
The series followed the Recruit Training of 638 Troop and also AACC 4/92.

A book 'Commando - Winning the Green Beret' by Hugh McManners accompanied the TV series.

commando.jpg

Hope this helps.
 

RMR55

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I think you are possibly correct, I have been trying to get a copy of that TV series for a long time. However it is not available anywhere, which (as an archivist) really irritates me. After 25 years are there still ownership right issues anyone cares about?

I also can't find *any* record of it being released on VHS which I an sure the series I am looking for was (I owned a copy back then.)

If anyone has a copy in any format drop me a message and we can see about digitising it.
 
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Clumsy

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I think this is what your after

Edit: Having re read your description it might not be. But this is also a great documentary that isn't often mentioned
 

RMR55

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@Clumsy definitely not the one I'm looking for in this thread, but you are correct this is a very good documentary that puts a different light on recruit training and changes in the corps (and other services) at the time.

I got some leads today that seem to confirm the series was called "Commando - *something*" and was filmed in 1992 and probably released in 1995 on VHS. However there there is still a doubt in my mind that 2 separate documentaries might be getting blended in to one.

I'll post updates but if anyone can help please do :)
 

Chelonian

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I'll post updates but if anyone can help please do :)

I've retrieved the book from my godson. If you have any specific questions drop me a PM. Some of the illustrations in the book are screen shots from the TV series. I'm also fairly certain that it was released on VHS, possibly using the same cover image as on the book.

The book was first published in 1994 and it contains some follow ups on several characters featured on TV and in the book.

As suggested by @GreyWing Hugh McManners might give you a steer as to locating a VHS.

Incidentally, the 638 Troop Recruit awarded the King's Badge subsequently got a Corps Commission and only a few years back was a British Defence Attaché in Washington DC.
 

Chelonian

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Forgot to add that the book's publisher, Network Books, is an imprint of BBC Books.

But... the TV series was made for Westcountry Television which was a previous regional iteration of what was known as ITV.
 

Chelonian

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I'm not an archivist, simply an old fud driving a knackered PC running Windows XP but a few clicks took me to the BFI filmography for Charles Thompson and the simply titled 'Commando' from 1995:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/4ce2b7e14a491

The BFI might be worth a punt for further information about formats.
 

RMR55

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*text deleted* Chelonian (comment above) gave me some really good info (pasted below). It seems Commando( - Winning the Green Beret) is exactly the TV series I'm looking for.

I'm mega busy for the next couple of days but I'll try and contact Hugh McManners and ITV to see if we can get anywhere.

----

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to do this, I'm fairly sure I have the book somewhere but probably buried somewhere at my parents.

I remember some very specific bits from the TV series maybe one of these is recognisable in the book? -

The All Arms course (probably, it could have been recruit) did a river crossing (which was a tarn on the moors). It was a full on strip and wear nothing but your webbing and helmet, bergan wrapped in basha to make flotation pack. The instructors were taking the piss out of the guys and the narrator commented on how this was to test their spirit when at a low point. Maybe this made it in as a photo?

The Commando Logistic Regiment were on exercise in Norway in winter (snow on the ground anyway), the ex was based around a peace keeping mission with them having to evacuate civilians and treat many of them in a field hospital. There was also an IED they had to deal with (which was unexploded military ordnance). They also had a young officer with them who was straight from Sandhurst or maybe a gap year commission (he must have just been on attachment as he was far too young to have commissioned, done his trade course and passed the All Arms Course)

Much appreciated if you could do a quick scan to see if any of that matches

Cheers

RMR55 said: ↑

The All Arms course (probably, it could have been recruit) did a river crossing (which was a tarn on the moors).

There is an image on page 34 of the book of two members of AACC 4/92 captioned 'Securing watertight bundles before a very cold river crossing.' Id guess this is the segment you're referring to. The book doesn't carry much verbatim dialogue from the TV show.

RMR55 said: ↑

The Commando Logistic Regiment were on exercise in Norway in winter...

I'm unsure if this is covered in this particular book but I've only scanned through it. It may well have been in the TV show. But here's another clue which might help and which is almost exactly contemporaneous with the TV show you are researching:
Another book about the Royal Marines—this one without a TV tie-in—was published in 1994. 'Commando - Survival of the Fittest' by Robin Eggar tells the training tales of the September 1991 Batch of Royal Marines Young Officers. By page 222 of that book the YOs have passed out and their subsequent experiences at units are briefly described. One YO who was indeed posted to CLR (2LT Pete Evans RM) is mentioned thus:
"Perhaps it was that in training Pete never had any luck. In his first appointment he proffed from the off, even managing to appear in a couple of episodes of a TV documentary series on the Royal Marines, in one of which he had to give an O group to half the officers up in Norway... Pete's starring role on TV also landed him a plum six-month posting in January '94 — as a UN observer in Bosnia."

One problem with the McManners book is that it jumps between 638 Troop and the AACC in a somewhat haphazard manner. It worked on TV but not in print.

Anyhow, hope that this helps.

Cheers,

Hi

This does help! I do remember the other book now (these things are always a can of worms when you get started...). I'm sure I read it back then.

Yep, the water crossing was on a grim day so that fits perfectly.

Chelonian said: ↑

(2LT Pete Evans RM) is mentioned thus:
"Perhaps it was that in training Pete never had any luck. In his first appointment he proffed from the off, even managing to appear in a couple of episodes of a TV documentary series on the Royal Marines, in one of which he had to give an O group to half the officers up in Norway...

I do remember that YO giving an O group now! I had always assumed he was an army officer as he was with Commando Logs but I must have been mistaken. Plus the date of his batch fits in with filming (filmed in 1992).

I'll admit my main focus is obtaining a copy of the TV series but this has been a huge help

Cheers,
 

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