UK: Historic Move of Fleet of 18 Amphibious Craft and Specialist Assault Troops

Historic Move of Fleet of 18 Amphibious Craft and Specialist Assault Troops

An impressive fleet of 18 amphibious craft and specialist assault troops have made history by sailing into the Royal Navy’s new amphibious centre of excellence in Plymouth.

10 Training Squadron Royal Marines sailed from its former base at Royal Marines Poole for the last time to the new £30-million-pound base at Royal Marines Tamar in formation of large vehicle carrying landing craft, smaller personnel landing craft and armoured fast off-shore raiding craft.

The unit trains Royal Marines to use landing craft and become the latest Marines and craft to occupy the new centre in HM Naval Base Devonport.  RM Tamar houses hovercraft and landing craft of all sizes for training and from fully trained combat-experienced operational assault squadrons on amphibious ships such as HMS Bulwark, HMS Ocean and HMS Albion.

Historic Move of Fleet of 18 Amphibious Craft and Specialist Assault Troops.

The centre will now train small craft crews for landing craft, hovercraft, rigid inflateables and provide a base for operational boat squadrons and engineering support. The new facility has been delivered by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in partnership with Debut Services and comprises new HQ offices, workshop and maintenance space, boat park, jetty, slipway, craft hoist and marina.

Officer Commanding 10 Training Squadron Major John Fidler said: “This is an historic event for the Corps, to have all the amphibious elements located in one location along with the headquarters and the amphibious assault ships.’’

Ninety permanent staff from Poole’s Hamworthy base have moved with the squadron. They will join Commandos of 539 Assault Squadron, previously based at Turnchapel, Plymouth, which has already completed their final move to RM Tamar.

Historic Move of Fleet of 18 Amphibious Craft and Specialist Assault Troops..

Colonel Garth Manger, commanding officer of 1 Assault Squadron and Royal Marines Tamar, said: “It offers defence, the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines a modern, bespoke amphibious operating base capable of delivering support to worldwide operations, training and maintenance in a one-stop shop for amphibious troops and craft.”

The history of the Royal Marines’ involvement at Poole dates back to the latter stages of WWII when the base was re-assigned from the RAF and named HMS Turtle, tasked with the training of landing craft crews for D-Day. The branch and the Corps of Royal Marines has come a long way since then.

D-Day marked the single largest involvement of Royal Marines in the Second World War with 17,500 men providing almost two thirds of the landing craft crews on the day. Now, especially with the drawdown of operations in Afghanistan, the focus of the Corps returns once again to its unique role within the UK’s defence – providing the UK’s amphibious manoeuvre capability.

Press Release, July 29, 2013; Image: Royal Navy