43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
|43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines|
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
1980 – present
Maritime Interdiction Operations
|Part of||3 Commando Brigade|
|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|
|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|
The 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (43 Cdo FP Gp RM), 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.
Second World War
43 Commando was formed in July 1943 after the decision was made to convert the battalions of the Royal Marine Division into commando units. The initial intake of personnel was drawn from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Marines, 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.
Along with No. 2, No. 9 and No. 40 (Royal Marine) Commandos, 43 Commando formed the 2nd Special Service Brigade. Throughout the course of 1943–45, No. 43 (Royal Marine) Commando served in Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece.
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. The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Ian Riches RM was also awarded the DSO in this action. He went on to be Commandant General Royal Marines between 1959 and 1962.
43 Commando RM was reformed between 1961–1968 for "as a further contribution to the forces available for seaborne operations". This was however deemed inappropriate for a Commando-level specification so 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. On its formation, Comacchio Company took on the colours and traditions of the-then defunct 43 Commando. 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. The company initially numbered around 300 personnel.
The Comacchio Company RM became Comacchio Group RM in November 1983 to reflect a manpower increase to over 400 Royal Marines. 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.
The Comacchio Group RM was renamed Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in March 2001, and was restructured into its current organisation. 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).
In 2012, FPGRM formally adopted the name 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.
Fleet Protection Group
- 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
43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
- 2011–2013 Col A Litster OBE 
- 2013–2015 Col M F Pierson
- 2015–present Col G W Fraser
Tasks and organisation
As of 2016, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines has over 550 personnel and is organised into several sub-units:
- 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.
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.
Royal Marine teams from 43 Commando are currently deployed on counter-piracy, counter-narcotics, and maritime interdiction operations in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Africa and the Caribbean. There is also a detachment of cold weather warfare trained Royal Marines from the Unit deployed on the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship.
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.
- Royal Navy
- British Armed Forces
- Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
- Marine Corps Security Force Regiment
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