Royal Marines

How Royal Marines Recruits Are Training During Coronavirus Pandemic

The recruits are having to follow a number of measures whilst training, as well as being required to self-isolate before arriving.

The Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) has had to change the way training is managed during the coronavirus pandemic in order to prevent a "black hole" in the recruitment process.

The base in Lympstone, Devon, has continued its recruitment and officer training during the pandemic.

However, there are a number of measures currently in place which are under constant review amid the changing nature of the crisis.

Colonel Simon Chapman, Commandant of the CTCRM, told Forces News it is important for the training to continue because "there's always a demand in the frontline for Royal Marines".

He warned that if the centre was to stop training, there would be a "black hole" that "can never really be caught up again".

"If I delay it or pause it, I'm just building a delay further into the system downstream," Col Chapman said.

In order to allow training to continue, the base had to restrict shore leave, as well as adjust training programmes "ever so slightly", with some courses being taught over a shorter period.

Col Chapman said it was initially "really difficult" but added things have got easier. 

He said: "Once we became more confident and better at understanding what training we could do and how effective the training could be, actually the last few months have been, not easy, but much more manageable."

One controlled training measure in place sees recruits assigned particular ropes to climb.

Every two weeks, up to 80 Royal Marine recruits begin their military journey at the CTCRM and recruits must self-isolate for two weeks before they are allowed on the base.

While there have been some COVID-19 cases, the base has access to testing facilities with a quick turnaround and three buildings where people can quarantine.

To try and limit the spread of coronavirus, the base has also been adopted a type of 'bubble' system, with recruits staying together in their recruit troop.

"Everything they do is done together so they share accommodation, they eat in the main galley together, all of their training is done together," Col Chapman said.

"The crucial bit really is making sure that one recruit troop or a cohort doesn't mix with recruits or young officers from other cohorts around Lympstone. 

"I probably have about 19 different cohorts and the crucial part is keeping them all apart - albeit within the cohort, they mix very much as a family group."