Brave, Stoic, Humble Men

Brave, Stoic, Humble Men

The roll-call of eminent guests attending our Drink’s Party on the 10 May, 2022 to celebrate our 40-years affiliation with Her Majesty’s Royal Marines was simply breath-taking. The current Commandant General, Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, former Commandant Generals, Major Generals, Brigadier, Lieutenant Colonels, Majors, Colonels, RSM and serving and retired members of the Royal Marines, including a Corps of Drums from the Royal Marines Band Service. It was a very special evening, sharing fellowship and ‘a beer’ and ‘stories’ with brave and stoic, yet humble Royal Marines.

To mark this special anniversary of our affiliation, I was proud to present to the Commandant General and Brigadier Richard Spencer of the Royal Marines Association a cheque for £45,000 in support of two very special projects for the Gordon Messenger Resilience Centre. The Centre is based at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone and serves the entire Royal Marines Family, ranging from the children of the serving ranks, the cadets, the trainees, the trained ranks, the wounded, injured, sick and the veterans. It is a community hub as well as providing welfare support. Our grant will fund patio and garden furniture to seat 175 people and a miniature assault course for the children.

Wendy Mitchell, the wife of Renter Warden, Tony Mitchell and the daughter of Past Master and Clerk, the late Ralph Vickers, together with her sisters Jacky and Sarah, presented to the Commandant General two numbered and framed prints of SS Canberra. Wendy gave a very moving speech, telling the story of how her late father and our Master first connected with the Royal Marines and the history of the two prints of Canberra.

In 1982, the year of the Falkland’s War, a Thanksgiving Service was held in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Royal Marines needed a venue to host relatives of those killed or severely injured after the service and Ralph Vickers offered hospitality in our Hall. He later commissioned a painting of the ‘White Whale’ depicting the ship disembarking Marines under fire, which was presented to the Corps. 600 prints were made, all signed by Sir Jeremy Moore who commanded the operation, Denis Scott Mason, Captain of Canberra, Colour Sergeant Barrie Sherrin, the coxswain of the landing craft and the artist Ronald Dean. The prints were sold with the proceeds going to the Marines Charities. Our affiliation has been strong and true ever since.

This ‘background’ story moved many of the Royal Marines present, because they were unaware of it. We hear about the Royal Marines Family and I am pleased that the Corps is very much part of our extended Family. A memorable evening and one I will not forget.

Another evening I will not forget was a visit in May to the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), with whom we have been affiliated with for 15 years this year. The Regiment’s Ethos is ‘To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield’.  Its Regimental cap badge, uses the Special Forces sword and scroll with a Corinthian helmet placed in front. The helmet represents Argus, the watch keeper of the Greek Gods. The eyes are blacked out to represent the wearer is constantly watching whilst retaining anonymity.

Operator Characteristics: Fortitude; Integrity; Humility; Ingenuity.

To mark the 15th Anniversary of our affiliation with the SRR we will be supporting the Regiment’s charitable arm, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment Association. Our grant of £15,000 will enable the Association to set up a fund used solely for the educational needs of children of former and serving members, for school field trips, overseas educational trips, adventure/leadership training/events, as well as supporting developmental expeditions to all parts of the globe.

A truly remarkable and inspiring mission and a fitting project to mark the 15th anniversary of our affiliation.

We Freemen of the City of London, thank the Royal Marines and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment for the freedom we enjoy because of their vigilance in its preservation.