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HMS Albion's Royal Marines exploit Scilly season

Royal Marines left the comfort of assault ship HMS Albion for a 200-mile round trip to the westernmost point of the UK to hone their amphibious skills.

 

The 62 commandos of 4 Assault Squadron took four of their landing craft for a week-long expedition to the Isles of Scilly.

The archipelago with its rocky coastline and numerous beaches presents an excellent training ground for the RN's experts in amphibious landings - from navigating the treacherous waters to ensuring the sand on the beaches could withstand the pounding of RM vehicles rumbling ashore.

The squadron took two Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVPs) and a pair of larger, slower, but more useful roll-on, roll-off Landing Craft Utility (LCUs).

The Isles of Scilly are an amazing environment for my Royal Marines to hone their highly-professional amphibious skills

Capt Tim Neild RN

Thanks to the range and facilities aboard the latter, they can - and do, as they did from HMS Bulwark during the migrant rescues of 2015 - operate independently of their mother ship without any external support.

And so it was for Exercise Mary's Marauder as the green berets practised day and night navigation and pilotage in the unfamiliar and difficult tidal waters of the Scillies.

They rehearsed tactical beach surveying and reconnaissance using their full range of specialised amphibious craft, all directed from a temporary base established at Porthmellon Beach in Hugh Town, the largest settlement in the islands.

The exercise coincided with 28th world pilot gig championships, providing the additional opportunity for the Royal Marines to support the organisers as well as enter a seven-man gig (Gibraltar, which came 15th out of 26th racers in the super veterans category) alongside other boats from the 25-strong Tamar gig club.

"The Isles of Scilly are an amazing environment for my Royal Marines to hone their highly-professional amphibious skills," said Albion's CO Capt Tim Neild.

 "I am thrilled that the Royal Navy continues to receive such strong support from the islanders, which I am more than happy to reciprocate."

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