Forces TV

Delve Into The World Of Veterans Saving Rhinos And Speed-Marching Royal Marines

A former Royal Marine has helped sharpen an anti-poaching team and eight Royal Marines are attempting to break a world record.

A week of special programmes from award-winning military filmmaker Chris Terrill begins Monday, October 29 on Forces TV.

Chris is an anthropologist, adventurer and author who famously trained with the Royal Marines for 32 weeks before following them to the front line in Afghanistan.

He even became the first civilian to earn his own coveted green beret after passing all the commando tests.

You might have seen another of Chris' special programmes Royal Marine WAGs and The Great Yomp which was made for Forces TV. 

Well this time, there's not one but two new programmes from Chris for you to enjoy.

Below Chris explains in his own words what people can expect from To Hell And Back and Chris Terrill’s Wildlife Warriors.

To Hell And Back Chris Terrill Forces TV Credit Anthony Upton
Credit: Anthony Upton

To Hell And Back

29th October, 10pm or catch up 2nd November, 9:30pm

I have followed the exploits of the Royal Marines speed marching team over six years. The first time I filmed them was in 2012 when they narrowly missed the world record.

I filmed again in 2013 when they broke the record but were disqualified on a technicality. A man collapsed and nearly died.

But like Robert the Bruce’s resolute spider, the team led by the incomparable Major Scotty Mills refused to give up. They regrouped for another attempt to break the 20-year-old record in 2017 and I was with them all the way with my camera.  

Royal Marines have determination and doggedness bred in their bones but I never cease to be amazed at the pain thresholds they are able to cross, both physically and mentally.

And speed marching, remember, is fundamental to their trade as frontline warriors. That was apparent from the news footage that came back from the Falklands when the Marines yomped 80km in three days carrying massive amounts of equipment and weaponry.

I saw similar feats for myself many times in Afghanistan. Speed marching is about getting to the fight ASAP and once there, of course, they have to go into combat so this is a sustained, collective movement of men over rough ground.

“To Hell and Back” is a gritty tribute to our armed forces in general and to the Royal Marines specifically.

WARNING: It is an emotional watch.

'To Hell And Back' images courtesy Anthony Upton.

Chris Terrill’s Wildlife Warriors Sully Sullivan Rhino South Africa Screengrab

Chris Terrill’s Wildlife Warriors

31st October, 10pm or catch up 2nd November, 10:30pm

The Royal Marines ethos of determination, loyalty, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity serves all those who serve in the Corps for the duration of their military career. But this ethos does not desert them when they leave and return to civvy street.

A fantastic example of this is the way more and more former Marines, as well as other ex-soldiers, are bringing their skills and experience to bear on the vital need to protect endangered species all over the world.

Veterans For Wildlife (V4W) is a charity set up by former marine Wesley Thomson and it has gone from strength to strength. I was lucky enough to follow the first volunteer for V4W when he was sent to Africa to help train local rangers in their fight against the poachers.

This was ‘Sully’ Sullivan, a tough Marine I first met in Afghanistan, so it was great being with him again on another frontline adventure. This time, though, the frontline was Thula Thula Game reserve in Natal, South Africa and the animals he was there to help protect were not only elephants but two massive rhinos.

These magnificent creatures were natural targets of the ruthless gangs who supply rhino horn, intrinsically worthless, to the Chinese medicine market or as status symbols to the Arab world.

Sully’s job was to knock the local rangers into shape, give them discipline and school them in the Royal Marines ‘can do’ ethos. This was something he did with panache and humour but what the tough former marine did not bargain for was a meeting with the rhino's face to face, up close and personal.

It was an emotional experience neither he nor I will ever forget.

You will also be able to see Chris Terrill's The Commando Who Refused To Die 30th October at 10pm plus Royal Marine WAGs and The Great Yomp 1st November at 10pm.

For listings information go to