Stories

Royal Marines Go To Hell And Back

"Royal Marines have determination and doggedness bred in their bones," writes award-winning military filmmaker Chris Terrill.

This article has been written by Chris Terrill, award-winning military filmmaker, anthropologist and author (Picture courtesy of Anthony Upton).

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.