Opening of the Gordon Messenger Centre
The Gordon Messenger Centre is a purpose built complex providing welfare support and a community hub for Royal Marines, Veterans and their Families.
It is situated opposite the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone and therefore ‘outside the wire’ with the aim of Enabling a More Resilient RM Family. A project funded by the Royal Marines Charity, with financial support from the government, many charities and organisations, including a donation from the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust. As Master, together with our Clerk, it was an honour to be present at the opening of this sorely needed centre and the first of its kind in the country.
The Centre was opened by General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO OBE DL, the first Royal Marine to be promoted to 4* rank for over 50 years and the first member of the Naval service to be awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order since the Korean War.
Sir Gordon, is well known to some of our Past Masters and specifically PM Reg Denby, who met him on a visit to Lympstone in 2009 (an event which I too was proud to attend as a very new member of the Company). He was very appreciative of the support from the Plaisterers.
Please look up this Centre on the RM website and be proud of our small but heartfelt contribution. I will be encouraging the Plaisterers’ Charitable Trust to continue supporting this Centre over the coming years. It is so deserving of our support.
Passing Out Parade of The King’s Squad At the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM)
The 17 September, 2021 was a very special day for CTCRM, as well as the opening of the new Gordon Messenger Centre (GMC) it wasone of the very few live Passing Out Parades since Covid-19. Passing Out Parades have been slimmed down and isolated affairs, with family and friends watching remotely. The marines passing out last Friday, did so with family and friends present and due to the opening of the GMC, the presence of representatives from their wider families i.e., supporting charities, organisations, dignitaries and individuals, including myself and the Clerk, on behalf of the Plaisterers.
What will be special and very memorable to those young marines was the fact that General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO DL was the Inspecting Officer, who took the time to speak with each one of them during the Inspection and then addressed them and their families, reinforcing the ethos of the Royal Marine Family and protecting and supporting each other. What, I thought must be going through the mind of our Clerk, Colonel Garth Manger RM whose own son had passed out a few months earlier, when restrictions were in place?
Being a parade, the Band of HM Royal Marines performed a marching display in quick and slow time to the toe tapping music such as a Life on the Ocean Wave and Sarie Marais. The young marines gave a very impressive drill display and we all stood proudly for the King’s Squad March Past.
I have many moving memories of the ceremony, but none so moving as the final order on parade ‘Royal Marines to your duties, quick march’