43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines

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43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
RoyalMarineBadge.svg
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
Active 1943–1946
1961–1968
1980 – present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Type Commando
Role Force protection
Maritime Interdiction Operations
Nuclear Security
Size 790 personnel
Part of 3 Commando Brigade[1]
Base HMNB Clyde
Nickname(s) FPG
Motto(s) Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land) (Latin)
Colours (Lanyard) Red and Old Gold
March Quick – A Life on the Ocean Wave
Slow – Preobrajensky
Anniversaries Lake Comacchio, 3 April 1945
Website 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Commanders
Captain General HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Commandant General Major General Robert Magowan CBE
Superior Commander Commander Operations, Fleet Headquarters
Current Commander Colonel Graeme 'Jock' Fraser MBE[2]
Security of nuclear weapons at Faslane, HM Naval Base Clyde is part of the Group's responsibilities

The 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (43 Cdo FP Gp RM),[3] formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983), Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001) and Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (2001–2012), is a 550-man unit of the Royal Marines responsible for guarding the United Kingdom's Naval nuclear weapons and provide Royal Marine Boarding Teams and the very high readiness Fleet Contingent Troop to conduct maritime interdiction operations in support of the Royal Navy. The Unit, based at HM Naval Base Clyde, is part of 3 Commando Brigade.

History[edit]

Second World War[edit]

Early Commando units were all from the British Army but by February 1942, the Royal Marines were asked to organize Commando units of their own, and 6,000 men volunteered.[4]

43 Commando was formed in July 1943 after the decision was made to convert the battalions of the Royal Marine Division into commando units.[5] The initial intake of personnel was drawn from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Marines,[6] and following commando training at Achnacarry in Scotland, the unit consisted of about 450 men organized into a headquarters, five infantry troops consisting of three officers and 63 other ranks, along with a heavy weapons troop—armed with Vickers machine guns, 3-inch mortars and 6-pounder anti-tank guns—and a signals platoon.[7][8]

Along with No. 2, No. 9 and No. 40 (Royal Marine) Commandos, 43 Commando formed the 2nd Special Service Brigade.[9] Throughout the course of 1943–45, No. 43 (Royal Marine) Commando served in Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece.[10]

Victoria Cross[edit]

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio, Italy during the Second World War. Hunter cleared a farmhouse containing three Spandau machine-guns on his own, firing a Bren Gun from his hip. Hunter then proceeded to draw enemy fire until most of his troop had taken cover.[11] The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Riches RM was also awarded the DSO in this action. He went on to be Commandant General Royal Marines between 1959 and 1962.[12]

Re-forming[edit]

43 Commando RM was reformed at Stonehouse Barracks in 1961[13] "as a further contribution to the forces available for seaborne operations".[14] The unit was disbanded again in 1968.[13]

On 1 May 1980, the Comacchio Company Royal Marines was formed - taking its name from the battle honour "Comacchio, Italy 1945", where Hunter posthumously received the Victoria Cross for his actions.[15] On its formation, Comacchio Company took on the colours and traditions of the then-defunct 43 Commando.[16] The company's purpose was to guard the UK's Naval nuclear weapons and as a Maritime Counter-Terrorism unit for offshore installations, including oil rigs and ships.[16] The company initially numbered around 424 personnel.[16]

The Comacchio Company RM became Comacchio Group RM in November 1983.[16] From 1987 onwards, Comacchio Group also ceased performing the Maritime Counter-Terrorism role, after a study transferred the task to the newly formed M-squadron of the Royal Marines Special Boat Service.[16]

The Comacchio Group RM was renamed Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in March 2001, and was restructured into its current organisation.[16] The Group also moved from RM Condor in Arbroath Angus (where it was co-located with 45 Commando) to HM Naval Base Clyde, which is situated near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute (both in Scotland).[16]

In 2012, FPGRM formally adopted the name 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.[17]

In 2016, it was announced that elements of the unit would be using the Colt Canada C8 carbine instead of the standard L85A2.[18]

Commanding Officers[edit]

Fleet Protection Group[edit]

  • 2001–2002 Col M J D Noble
  • 2002–2003 Col M W Dunham
  • 2003–2005 Col I P Huntley
  • 2005–2007 Col P R Denning OBE
  • 2007–2009 Col R A W Spencer OBE
  • 2009–2011 Col M N Gray MBE
  • 2011– Col A Litster OBE[19]

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines[edit]

  • 2011–2013 Col A Litster OBE [20]
  • 2013–2015 Col M F Pierson
  • 2015–present Col G W Fraser

Tasks and organisation[edit]

As of 2016, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines has over 550 personnel and is organised into several sub-units:[21]

  • Command Squadron
  • Logistics Squadron
  • O Squadron (focussed on waterfront nuclear security)
  • R Squadron (focussed on dynamic nuclear security and including boat troop)
  • S Squadron (focussed on maritime interdiction operations)

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines is a Royal Marine Unit based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Scotland and is part of 3 Commando Brigade, the UK’s high readiness expeditionary amphibious force.[21]

Its primary mission is to prevent unauthorised access to the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent through the provision of specialist military capability. Additionally, maritime boarding and sniper teams and the very high readiness Fleet Contingent Troop are deployed world wide to conduct specialist maritime security tasks in support of the Royal Navy.[21]

Royal Navy Reserve Augmentation[edit]

Naval ratings of the Royal Naval Reserve have been attached to 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines to support the force protection tasks outside of the United Kingdom, this organisation was known as P Squadron but has been disbanded with the force protection duties being transferred to the standing tasks commando unit, a duty which rotates annually between Commando units.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "43 Commando". Royal Navy. Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "43 Commando FPG - Royal Marines". Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  3. ^ "43 Commando resurrected as historic Royal Marines unit returns". 
  4. ^ Haskew, pp.48–49
  5. ^ Neillands 2004, pp. 81–82.
  6. ^ Neillands 2004, p. 81.
  7. ^ Neillands 2004, p. 79.
  8. ^ Saunders 1959, p. 180.
  9. ^ Chappell 1996, p. 28.
  10. ^ Neillands 2004, p. 78.
  11. ^ "Ninth Supplement". The London Gazette. London (37127): 3087. 12 June 1945. 
  12. ^ Obituary: General Sir Ian Riches The Independent, 6 January 1997
  13. ^ a b "43 Commando". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  14. ^ "The Naval Review, Vol XLIX, No 3 dated July 1961, p292" (PDF). 1961. Retrieved 2010-04-12. 
  15. ^ "No. 37127". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1945. pp. 3087–380. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Fleet Protection Group" (PDF). RM Historical. Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  17. ^ 43 Commando resurrected as historic Royal Marines unit returns – Royal Navy, 04/04/12
  18. ^ "UK Royal Marine unit ditches the SA80 for Colt C8". Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  19. ^ "No. 59784". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 May 2011. p. 9237. 
  20. ^ "43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines". Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c "Fleet Protection Group". Elite Forces. Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  22. ^ HMS Eaglet accessed 14 December 2015

External links[edit]