Yesterday was Will's Passing Out Ceremony as a Royal Marine Commando. What a great day!
A quick flight to Exeter from Newcastle the night before and we were at Commando Training Centre, Lympstone for 9am.
23 of the original 48 recruits in April had made it to the end. They were joined by 25 others from earlier troops who had been "backtrooped" due to injury.
In the Falklands Hall, the officers and training staff were introduced, with much Service humour, and then the successful recruits were introduced individually and each marched forward to collect the coveted green beret. Apparently the 32 week training had passed quickly for Will, due to his propensity to doze in his sleeping bag at every opportunity.
The top photo is a still from the video screen, then we have Will waiting to receive his green beret.
We then enjoyed a home-made film of 942 Troop through their 32 week training.
The action then moved outside, to the Parade Ground, where the Marine Commandos, as they were now permitted to call themselves, accompanied by the Marine Band, were presented to the VIP guests and did various marching manoeuvres.
The third photo shows Will on the left of the front row.
The outdoor bit, in temperatures just above freezing, lasted almost two hours, so it was a great relief to see the excellent food which had been laid on for lunch.
Then, in the afternoon, the families could meet the various officers and fellow Marines. The Marines held an informal presentation ceremony for their officers and trainers, and, aided by the well-stocked bar, a lively atmosphere was enjoyed by everyone.
The final photo above shows the Barker family taken during the afternoon.
Will flew back with us in the evening. He now has a three week break before being posted to 42 Marine Company in Arbroath from where he will be off to Norway in February and Afghanistan for a 6 month tour in September.