Dismiss Notice
'Users of this forum are reminded they should not discuss performance of individual attendees at PRMC or in Recruit Training for PERsonal SECurity and in observance of Diversity & Inclusion legislation'.

Royal Marines Training - Pre-Commando Era

Discussion in 'Royal Marines History and Knowledge' started by Wedge98, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. Wedge98

    Wedge98 Royal Marines Commando

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Posts:
    135
    Afternoon,
    Just curious about what Recruit Training used to be like, pre Commando Era. Talking in the maybe, 1900-1915 time? Was it anywhere near 32 weeks long? Would it have still had a high demand of physical fitness or did that come with the Commando Role?

    I know there was a King Squad, would this still be of the same excellence and standard of today? Did all ranks train at the same location?

    I've looked around online and found little answers really. I suppose It's not something I'll need to know in training but something more that just interests me.
     
    • Hoofin Hoofin x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  2. TheRegain

    TheRegain Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    Posts:
    57
    App Stage:
    Passed Medical
    Kings squad has been around for years your right mate and its something that stayed with the royal marines, I belive The King that was inspecting at the time was so impressed with the turn out it became a thing and it progeressed fromt there.
    As for the Royal Marines, i belive the training would of been like any other Navy rating but with high standards, Then you would be drafted to the Royal Marine Unit
    The 32 weeks came after The Commando training after the WW2, as it included the advanced solidering and Commando Phase.

    Good question though and i'm going to have a dig around the net for you
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Hoofin Hoofin x 1
  3. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Posts:
    6,803
    Good job there aren't any RN ranks on this forum, eh? :)
     
    • Hoofin Hoofin x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Wedge98

    Wedge98 Royal Marines Commando

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Posts:
    135
    Uh oh:D
     
  5. Chelonian

    Chelonian Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Posts:
    6,803
    Before World War 2 sea service was apparently a much bigger part of Royal Marines service:

    "Throughout the inter-war years the Royal Marine's primary role remained naval gunnery... while 'It was a point of pride that a marine could do anything an experienced able seaman could do, whether boat handling, splicing, hoisting stores with derrick, whip and inhaul, or whatever.'"

    Source: 'The Royal Marines 1664 to the Present' by Richard Brooks.
    [The book focuses on the pre-commando years which are sometimes skimmed over by other titles.]
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Gen Dit Gen Dit x 1
  6. Wedge98

    Wedge98 Royal Marines Commando

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Posts:
    135
    Interesting! I heard they were also appointed to prevent the crew killing their officers, or something along those lines? Obviously way back in the day, 1664-1800 era?
     
  7. Caversham

    Caversham Former RM Commando, Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Posts:
    3,931
    During the mid 19th century, the Royal Marines comprised of two parts. They were the Royal Marines Artillery and the Royal Marines Light Infantry. These were two separate entities, but were amalgamated in 1923, having both served with distinction during WW1.

    Marines, by virtue of their name, are part of the RN and as such served on warships as part of the crew. During the times of the big battle ships and cruisers, Marines always provided the crew for X turret.

    RM Detachments were an integral part of the RN until sometime around the 1990s, (happy to be corrected on that). In fact, RT training included a two week package of seamanship training at Portsmouth. You were also expected to do at least one draft of around 2-3 years on a detachment.

    All RN ships from frigates upwards had at least a 22 man RM detachment on board comprising an Officer as OCRM, a SNCO as DSM two Cpls and 18 Marines.

    During the early days of commando service there was what was known as Blue Berets and Green Berets. The blues worked on ships providing crews for the guns and landing craft and the greens in Commando Units. However, if you were drafted to somewhere like RMB Eastney, even for a course, then you had to swap your green lid for a blue one.

    The current commando training was derived from the initial training carried out at Achnacarry in Scotland, before it was moved to Bickleigh. CTC was known as the Infantry Training Centre until around 1970 when it was changed to CTC.

    The length of training has changed numerous times over the years. During the early 1960s it was around 9 months. Mine was around 30 weeks. The commando course has been 6 weeks for the last 50 to 60 years and the commando tests have remained the same, with the exception of the 30 miler, which was dropped in the 1970s and replaced with an exercise called Nutcracker. It was brought back a few years later and the exercise was kept!

    Happy to be corrected on any of the above by those with more grey cells than I possess!

    Alan
     
    • Gucci Info Gucci Info x 4
    • Gen Dit Gen Dit x 1
  8. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Posts:
    3,264
    The 30 miler evolved from the initial training when Commando Units were formed. As noted in the outline from Lt Col Newman of No 2 Commando.

    It seems that each Commando had its own distance x time to cover there being no level playing field, so to speak. Bearing in mind that these new units were formed of volunteers from different regiments, marching at different paces to the minute, anything from 120 to 140. So getting people just to march at the same pace was an achievement in itself.

    Long distance route marches were the norm. One example being the move of No 2 Commando from Paignton to Weymouth a distance of 120 miles .This was done over four days. So perhaps this gave birth to a standard of 30 miles?

    Different units did different training.
    A Troop from No 52 Commando covering 33 miles over the desert in 11 hours.
    No 51 Commando had an inter section competition, 50 miles over rocky and hilly country the fastest section in 16 hours the slowest 18 hours.
    In Wales No 10 Commando did 53 miles there and back from Harlech to the top of Snowden in 17.5 hours.
    All done carrying weapons, ammunition and full equipment of around 60 lbs.

    At one time Commando Units were issued with bicycles, think of the old pussers red. No 4 Commando bussed to Tidworth from Weymouth. Collected the trusty steeds and rode back to Weymouth. A distance of 73 miles in 5.5 hours and with full fighting order.

    All this and more can be found in the book by James Dunning;
    The British Commandos. The Origins and Special Training of an Elite Unit.
    Well worth a read.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Gucci Info Gucci Info x 3
    • Gen Dit Gen Dit x 1
  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Posts:
    33,519
    Number 10 Commando sounds quite extreme!
     
    • Gen Dit Gen Dit x 2
  10. Rover

    Rover Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Posts:
    3,264

    No 10 Commando


    Later redesignated No 10 (Inter Allied) Commando.

    Nos 1 & 8 Troops - French; No 2 Troop - Dutch; No 3 Troop - Refugees from Axis countries (also known as "X Troop"); No 4 Troop - Belgian; No 5 Troop - Norwegian; No 6 Troop - Polish; No 7 Troop - Yugoslavian.

    This Commando unit was one of the most unique fighting units of the Second World War. Comprising of both allied and disaffected enemy personnel and refugees.

    Members of No 10 although not mounting many raids in their own name won a deserved reputation for their fierce and dedicated fighting ability.
    The first troops allocated to No.10 were French shortly to be joined by Polish and Norwegian personnel .Other members who formed X Troop came from Germany, Austria, Danes ,Hungarians, the odd Czech and Russian and Rumanian.

    Many of these men of course were known to the Gestapo and were given new identities.
    The Commando had its H.Q. in Harlech North Wales and was commanded by LtCol D Lister MC . The French were greatest in numbers and formed two troops based in Criccieth ,the Dutch troop was at Portmadoc ,the two Belgian troops were at Abersoch, Norwegians were in Nevin, Polish troop were at Fairbourne and X troop were stationed at Aberdovey.
    In May 1943 the whole Commando consolidated at Eastbourne under a new C.O. Capt. B. Hilton-Jones.

    Usually men from No.10 were seconded to other units where their special attributes were utilised . Knowledge of the operational areas and language were invaluable.
    They acted as interpreters and interrogators.
    However some small raids by No 10 members were carried out the ‘Hardtack’ series being an example of these.
    In the Shetlands men from the Norwegian troop worked with detachments from No12 Commando against the enemy held coast of Norway.

    No 10 proved its real worth after the Normandy operations and was involved in the push to Germany and helped the liberation of occupied countries.

    http://www.commandoveterans.org/10Commando
     
    • Gucci Info Gucci Info x 2
    • Gen Dit Gen Dit x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1