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Royal Marines deliver emergency medical assistance to holidaymaker

5 March 2018
Royal Marines battled snowdrifts up to 10ft deep to deliver vital medication to a convalescing holidaymaker cut off in North Devon.

With the emergency services unable to reach the village of Lynton, they called in Arctic driving specialists from the Commando Logistic Regiment from Chivenor, 20 miles away.

The holidaymaker suffered from epilepsy and was visiting the area for a week of recuperation in a holiday cottage: the family were due to return home to Gloucester, but were stranded due to the extreme weather conditions sweeping across the UK.

Highly-trained snow and ice driversSgt Paul Gatehouse and Marine Daniel Hemingway were chosen for the task thanks to their experience in cold weather deployments to Norway, and are.

After assessing the situation, plans were agreed and they set out along the A39 road into the area, where snowdrifts here were from 4-10ft (1-2.5m) deep.

Royal Marine Commandos train to operate in some of the most challenging environments in the world, particularly in the extreme cold of the Arctic, and we are always delighted to be able to use this training in support of members of the public in need.

Lt Col Dave Nicholson

A second RM team, also based at Chivenor, drove from Exeter and collected the essential medication from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. They then set off to assess the conditions on the ground. After meeting a Highways Agency snow plough en route, they managed to get to within 1.2 miles from Lynton, using Land Rovers fitted with snow chains.

From here, they handed over the medication to Sgt Gatehouse and Mne Hemmingway received the medication and advanced on foot to deliver it to the stranded 00family.

The medication along with supplies were delivered to the family, enabling them stay in North Devon until road conditions improved.

“Having previously deployed on operations around the world in every environment imaginable, I knew we would be able to use the skills we have been trained in to provide assistance to a member of the public in vital need,” Sgt Gatehouse said.

His Commanding Officer Lt Col Dave Nicholson, added: “Royal Marine Commandos train to operate in some of the most challenging environments in the world, particularly in the extreme cold of the Arctic, and we are always delighted to be able to use this training in support of members of the public in need.”

Over 30 Royal Marines Commandos and Commando Engineers from Chivenor Barracks have been deployed with their specialist vehicles throughout Devon over the weekend, performing a variety of tasks to assist the emergency services.

Further personnel and BV All-Terrain Vehicles remain on standby to assist if they are required. Although this weather is extraordinary for the UK, the Royal Marines have completed cold weather environment deployments for decades, and thrive in this arduous environment.

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