A decade after UK Forces began operations in Afghanistan, Tristan Kelly reports from Helmand as all eyes look forward to the planned end of UK combat operations there in 2015.
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US and the Taliban regime's refusal to hand over those responsible, US and UK forces launched Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 7 October 2001.
The operation's aim was to end Al-Qaeda's use of Afghanistan as its base for terrorist operations. Five years later UK troops moved into the Taliban stronghold of Helmand with the same essential aim of not allowing Afghanistan to once again become a safe haven from which terrorists can launch attacks on the streets of Britain.
ROYAL Marines musicians in Portsmouth have signed an album deal with a major record label. The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth has recorded 17 rousing military songs for a charity album which will be released next month. It is due for release on November 14 and Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, principal director of music in the Royal Marines, hopes his tuneful troops can be top of the album charts by Christmas.
You can meet George Cross holder and Royal British Legion Ambassador Matt Croucher on Friday November 4th when he will be talking about the book which is the official tribute to The Royal British Legion's 90th Birthday at the Royal Marines Museum.
When the US and UK first went into Afghanistan I had no idea how much that decision to invade a country would have such an impact on my professional life. In October 2001 I was studying at a university in Pennsylvania, close enough to the attacks on the World Trade Center to have everyone just a little nervous of what would happen next. I remember going to New York City for Columbus Day, the day after they US went into Afghanistan with my roommate and her parents shouting at us not to go before we went, petrified that there would be reprisal attacks on New York. Little did I know then that not long after that the Royal Marines would be landing in the mountains in Afghanistan on Operation JACANA hunting for Al Qaeda in cave systems.
The Royal Marines Museum will be bringing the 1940s to life from 23 to 25 September with their 1940s weekend. The event will showcase all that is fabulous about the 1940s with make do and mend crafts, a 40s fashion show, weapons demonstrations, re-enactors, vintage vehicles and wartime cookery talks. ‘Edna’ from Vintage Sweethearts will be cooking up a storm with her ‘wartime kitchen’ talk and will let us in on the real secrets for cooking on rations.
The 1940s event at the Royal Marines Museum (23-25 September) is an opportunity to reflect on the fact that this was a momentous decade for the Royal Marines, especially during the Second World War. Between1942 and 1943 the first Royal Marines Commando Units were formed and they played a major role on D-Day. Marines also served at sea and helped to man the guns on big warships as well as manning smaller vessels such as landing craft and even canoes known as “cockles”. The Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment was a cover name for a forerunner of the Special Boat Service and it used cockles for the famous raid on enemy ships in Bordeaux Harbour in December 1942. This became known as the story of the “Cockleshell Heroes”.
So, the summer holidays are finally finished. Over the last few weeks we've delivered 52 family sessions. That comes to over 850 visitor contact hours.
It's been great fun. We've run 12 hours of Commando Fit, which seems to be more popular with parents than children. Unless they're taking part, that is. We've done 12 hours of the Field Gun Run. That means we've terrified residents & visitors alike by setting off 12 thunder flashes at the end of those sessions. We've run the mine clearance exercise 6 times and gone through hundreds of water balloons in the process.
I've just got back from the Group for Education in Museum's annual conference. On the face of it, it was a lovely jolly to Norwich. In reality it's one of the most important events on my calendar.
The Learning Team here is something of a misnomer, there's just me and a group of occasional volunteers. That means I end up ploughing something of a lonely furrow, so a chance to spend three days with other museum learning people is not to be missed.
This photograph arrived at the museum recently amongst a donation of documents, and depicts a mixed RMLI and RMA ship’s detachment ‘band’. It was common for casual players to form up amongst the detachment for their own and ship-mates entertainment, and Banjos and Mandolins were very popular instruments between the 1900s and the 1930s.
‘Banjo’ in Royal Marines slang can mean ‘to hit someone or something very hard’, so presumably if Royal didn’t master the instrument, he could always add it to his weaponry!
Paul Morgan is following a long family tradition when he steps back in time with a 1940s Military display, as part of the 1940s event running from 23 to 25 September at the Royal Marines Museum.
Paul is born and bred in Portsmouth and his family served in all three services along with the Merchant Navy, Portsmouth Dockyard and the NAAFI throughout the Second World War. Whilst listening to their stories of Portsmouth through the blitz, service overseas and on board convoys, he soon developed a keen interest in all things military from an early age.
The occurrencesat the Royal Marines Barracks, Eastney during wartime were not always as you might imagine them to be. The following report from an around the divisions section of a 1940 Royal Marines magazine, the Globe and Laurel, highlights the ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude of wartime Britain.
“Towards the end of June H.R.H The Duchess of Kent honoured the Division by inspecting the W.R.N.S. personnel serving at Eastney. This charming visitor caused much fluttering in our "Wrennery"; however, they acquitted themselves very creditably.
Friday 23 September at the Royal Marines Museum is the kick off for the 1940s weekend. A film screening of ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ followed by a talk with items from the collection will be the first of many activities happening over the weekend celebrating the best of the 1940s.
For one night only the very mittens that Lt Col ‘Blondie’ Hasler wore during the legendary cockleshell heroes raid, and the boots given to him by a French farmer whilst he escaped will be on show. As part of the Royal Marines Museum special 1940s weekend, the museum is holding a special evening telling this amazingly brave story.