06 March 2009

Marines commemorate battle of Gibraltar

Led by The Royal Marines Band, 40 Commando Royal Marines march through Main Street, Gibraltar

ZUI this article from the MOD Defence News:
Royal Marines from 40 Commando returned to a rain-swept Gibraltar this weekend, the scene of one of their most famous and historic battles, to exercise their freedom of the place and unveil their new monument.

On Saturday 28 February 2009, the Commandos conducted a ceremonial parade. It was the first time the Freedom of Gibraltar has been exercised since it was awarded in 1996 and, despite the rain, the Main Street parade was lined with people and dignitaries before a public reception was held by the Governor, Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fulton KBE, himself a Royal Marine.

The next day the Chief Minister unveiled the monument, sited near the point where the Marines first came ashore in 1704. Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Garry Robison, then dedicated the monument.

The weekend's events, which culminated with a band concert in St Michael's Cave, commemorated the capture of 'The Rock' in an amphibious assault on 24 July 1704 by British and Dutch Marines as part of the War of the Spanish Succession. They then withstood a prolonged siege from October 1704 to April 1705, achieving "immortal glory" according to commentators at the time.


40 Commando's Alpha Company and attached ranks have been practising arms drill and marching for weeks in preparation for the parade. On the transit from the United Kingdom, on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay, the company was even practising on the flight deck of the ship.
Marine Andy Tipping, aged 22 from Durham, said:
"We were all proud to be a part of this parade. All Royal Marines learn about the taking and holding of Gibraltar during our training and it's a great honour to follow in the footsteps of our forebears."

The Commandos are in Gibraltar as their first port of call on the Royal Navy's Taurus 09 deployment.

MOD photograph © Crown Copyright/MOD 2009

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