A Royal Marine has made history by becoming the first-ever winner of the Royal Marine of the Year Award.
Marine Jack Duer, of 43 Commando’s O-Squadron, won the inaugural award, set up to recognise the Royal Marine who most personified what it means to be a commando.
Marine Duer was selected by Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Matt Holmes, and other senior personnel for 'his dedicated professionalism amid some tough personal circumstances'.
"What impressed us at the board was Marine Duer’s humility and undeflected devotion to duty through personal adversity," Maj Gen Holmes said.
Marine Duer, who protects the UK’s nuclear deterrent at Clyde Naval Base, Scotland, said he could not believe he was picked out for the award.
A close family bereavement meant it had been a tough year for the commando, but he stayed focused on operational duties and said it felt "good" to be given the award.
"It hasn’t sunk in still," he said, after being handed the award by 43 Commando’s Commanding Officer, Colonel Andrew Muddiman.
"It’s still a shock. I wasn’t expecting it.
"I just try and help the lads out and be part of the team. I’d say the lads have got me to where I am more than anything."
Marine Duer has been in the Royal Marines for two-and-a-half years and hopes to go to 40 Commando and join a Reconnaissance Troop.
He also has ambitions of being a Mountain Leader, the elite cadre of Royal Marines who are experts in long-range reconnaissance, as well as Arctic and mountain warfare.
"Being a Royal Marine made me who I am today," he said.
"I didn’t have much going for me, I didn’t do much at school. At least now I’ve accomplished something. It’s been so worth it.
"I don’t believe I’m anything special but some people have put my name forward and think that I’ve done well. In my mind, I just crack on and do my job.
"You’ve got to be determined in this role, no matter what you do," he added.
Cover image: Royal Marine of the Year winner Marine Jack Duer (Picture: Royal Navy).