Marines Mark Falklands War As Commandos Move Into New Role

Hundreds of Royal Marines veterans were on parade marking the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War.

The Commanding Officer of 42 Commando Royal Marines has said his men are looking forward to an "exciting" future as the unit begins transitioning into a maritime security specialisation.

He was speaking as 42 Commando hosted hundreds of Royal Marines veterans who were on parade at the unit's base in Plymouth marking the 35th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War. 

Looking to the future, Lt Col Mark Totten said his men would now shift their attention to the new maritime security role. 

The move is part of Project Sykes, the name for the reorganisation of commando units within 3 Commando Brigade.

“We are moving away from being what we call a manoeuvre unit... we are evolving to meet modern demands. 

"We are looking to specialise in maritime security supporting the Royal Navy, wherever it is in the globe, by delivering force protection to them in high threat areas and then a boarding capability; so going onto opposed shipping, occupying those ships and taking out, whether they're pirates or drugs runners.

“We can take over those vessels and we've recently done that on a drugs bust that was carried out by members who will become 42 Commando very soon."

42 Commando, based in Bickleigh, Devon, will be staffed by 680 people with half of those expected to be deployed around the world at any one time. 

Project Sykes will see approximately 100 jobs transferred to the Navy.

Lt Col Totten said: "Nobody is being made redundant it's just a transfer of the finance that helps create positions and recruitment of men. 

“We will shrink in that area in order to help the Navy grow but that's just part of good rebalancing within the service.

"Nobody loses their job, it's done with natural progression of people coming in and out of the Corps.”

Parts of the unit will be on a high-readiness notice of five days. Some teams and detachments will be on planned deployments.

42 Commando will no longer play a role as the Lead Commando Group - a reactionary force of marines ready to deploy around the world on contingency operations. 

45 Commando and 40 Commando will alternate through this role - previously cycled through the three main commando units. 

Lt Col Totten added: "It's quite a huge change. They [42 Commando marines] will be doing new things they haven't done before. Some of them who haven't worked with the Navy before will be working with the Navy. Some who haven't been away in small teams to foreign lands will be going away very independently, very autonomously and working with foreign partners.

"The guys want to go away and do things, they want to contribute to national security and they want to contribute to what defence has and this is a really good way in which 42 Commando is changing to meet modern demands."

It's expected the re-role will be complete by May 2018.

He added: "Clearly we want to do this properly so we are working on the detail to make sure the change happens without any mistakes. 

"We hope to create something to the betterment of 3 Commando Brigade and the Naval Service."