Year 12 pupils, Cadet Corporal Alban and Cadet Corporal Lachlan, report from the Royal Marines Summer Camp in Lympstone.
During the first week of the summer holiday, four Royal Marines cadets (Alban, Lachlan, Zach and Liam) attended the Royal Marines Summer Camp at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone, where all Royal Marines Officer and Recruit training takes place.
The first day was spent at CTCRM doing activities such as the assault course, unarmed combat (self-defence) and Urban Close Quarter Battle (Urban CQB). The most enjoyable (but also painful) of these activities was the assault course which included a brutal warm-up and a fun run-through of the famous course.
At the end of the first day, we were driven to Dartmoor for the next phase of the camp, where we spent the next three nights in a harbour position sleeping under ponchos. After our first night out in the field, day two saw us practice fieldcraft activities that would prepare us for the final assault at the end of the week. There was a carousel of activities that included casualty evacuation, rural CQB, break contact drills (how to respond to enemy fire) and section attacks. This was a physically demanding day and meant we all went to sleep without any difficulty!
On day three we put the skills we learnt on day two together and carried out an entire troop attack which lasted well over an hour; here each section quickly swapped between the roles of fire support section, assault section and reserve section, with cadets being given the opportunity to assume the roles of Troop Commander and Troop Sergeant. As a reward for a successful troop attack, we yomped back to our harbour area!
Day four started with a swim test to allow us to take part in the amphibious assault – we were then taken up the river in speed boats, landed on the beach then attacked a series of enemy sentry positions at the foot of the hill. Further up the hill was the final objective, Scraesdon Fort. In order to formulate a plan for a troop attack the following morning, each of the three sections carried out a close target reconnaissance (CTR) mission that evening reporting back with information to allow the plan to be developed by the troop commander. With all the information collected, we set up harbour at the bottom of the hill ready for a dawn attack the following morning.
In order to get into position at the fort in time for H-Hour on day five, we packed up camp at 0530, and moved up the steep hill in silence into our positions. With synchronised watches, all three sections attacked simultaneously at exactly 0700. Smoke grenades and nearby bushes gave us little cover from enemy fire, but our first aid and casualty evacuation skills from earlier in the week came in handy! The attack was very tiring and very confusing with so much noise and such poor visibility from the smoke grenades but we succeeded in neutralising the enemy just in time for a hot breakfast!
After breakfast, we drove to 42 commando which was the start of the Phil Guy Memorial Run, a 7.6 km cross country run to commemorate a member of the RMYT who was killed in a helicopter crash whilst on active duty. After this run, we returned to Lympstone for a BBQ and games before finally getting to sleep in a bed again.
This one-week trip was an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives; it was both physically and mentally demanding but each of us learnt a lot about ourselves as well as learning skills that will give us an advantage in preparing for the Pringle Trophy. We would thoroughly recommend this camp to anyone who is prepared to spend a week out of their comfort zone.