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035/2013 09 April 2013


The last commando group of thousands of Royal Marines to serve in Afghanistan are returning to the UK ? marking the end of more than a decade of operational deployments in the country.

In an historic moment, troops from 40 Commando Royal Marines (40 Cdo) symbolically lowered the Royal Navy?s white ensign that has flown above their main operating base (MOB) Price, in the Nahr-e Saraj district, for the past six months ? the last time the flag will fly in Helmand Province.

40 Cdo are the most recent Royal Marine unit to serve in Afghanistan after successive deployments that have seen Marines serve in areas such as Sangin, Nahr-e Saraj and Musa Qala.

40 Cdo were also the very first British troops to deploy to the country in 2001, securing Bagram airfield and going on to patrol the streets of Kabul.

The equivalent of over 14,000 Marines have deployed on operations in Afghanistan. The 7,200- strong Royal Marine Corps has deployed units to Afghanistan 12 times, along with many individuals who have been attached to other units.

And the Royal Marines have been awarded nearly 200 honours for their acts of bravery and distinguished service in Afghanistan, including a George Cross, seven Distinguished Service Orders and ten awards of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, including one posthumously.

The commando group, who have now handed over to 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, have seen security improve dramatically during their tour. Working out of MOB Price, which the Marines nicknamed ?HMS Price? in line with Royal Navy tradition, they have developed the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan police units in the area to take on responsibility for security and have worked together to successfully tackle the insurgency.

In the past year, the number of UK bases across Helmand has reduced from 80 to 12 as they are handed over to Afghan forces or dismantled, in line with growing Afghan security capability. MOB Price is expected to be handed over to the Afghans in due course.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

?The courage of the Royal Marines, and indeed all of our Armed Forces who have served in Afghanistan over the past decade, has been truly outstanding. Their commitment has made sure that transition of security to Afghan control is deliverable by the time we end our combat operations in December 2014.

?I recently saw for myself the capabilities of the Royal Marines as they undertook arduous winter training in Norway. I was extremely impressed by these Commandos who are absolutely committed to preparing for contingency operations that may arise whenever and wherever in the world.

?The hard work of 40 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan over the winter has led to impressive progress in the capabilities of Afghan forces as they take on security responsibility, with decreasing levels of assistance from UK and ISAF forces.

?It is these Afghan forces, developed and trained by UK personnel, who will ensure that Afghanistan never again provides a safe haven for terrorists.?

First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said:

?Royal Marines have been a key part of the Afghanistan effort since the UK committed to the region in 2001 and I would like to thank them for serving their country so valiantly, showing determination, commitment and courage.

?It has not been easy - with the many successes there have also been a number of sacrifices. Our thoughts and continued support are with those who were injured and their families and we will never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

?The seminal contribution made by the Royal Marines has undeniably helped the Afghan Army strengthen its capability and with that brought greater stability to the region.?

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Jackson, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando Royal Marines, described his unit?s work in Afghanistan as ?absolutely exemplary?.

He said:

?The Commando group has been able to transfer lead security responsibility from ISAF to the Afghan National Security Forces in a very difficult area of Central Helmand.

?Working together over the winter, we have given the Afghan Army and the Afghan police the confidence in their own abilities to operate together. More importantly, we have given them the belief that they can operate independently from us; they now know that they are good enough to face down any future challenges that lie ahead.

?This is in no small measure due to the sacrifice made not just by the 61 Royal Marines who have lost their lives in this campaign, but by all Service personnel.?

Chief of Staff for 40 Commando, Major Karl Gray, said the unit had previously deployed to Afghanistan in October 2001, then returned on operations in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

He said:

?Having been here on and off since 2001, it has been really encouraging to see the tangible progress that the Afghan National Security Forces have made in their ability to legitimately and effectively provide security in the region.

?This is testament to the sacrifices and efforts made by each operational tour. We have sadly lost many outstanding Marines and soldiers during this campaign and, although only a small comfort to the families of the bereaved or injured, I can honestly say that these tragic losses have not been in vain.

?Everyone who has served here has made a difference, not only in Afghanistan but also to the security of the UK by preventing Afghanistan being a haven for terrorists.?

40 Commando Royal Marines served with Task Force Helmand, led by the British Army?s 4th Mechanised Brigade, who shortly transfer authority to 1st Mechanised Brigade.

These Marines will now return to their base in Taunton, Somerset to start training for contingency operations, providing part of the UK?s amphibious warfare capability. 40 Commando will also take part in a medals parade through Taunton on May 16th.

Some Royal Marines will remain serving in Afghanistan on an individual basis, working alongside their colleagues from other services, as the UK continues to support the development of the Afghan National Security Forces.

Notes for editors

1). Broadcast-quality images are available for download from User Name: GuestUser. Password: HardDrive.

2). The UK currently has approximately 9,000 service personnel in Afghanistan, reducing to 5,200 by the end of 2013. The majority of British service personnel are based in Helmand Province.

3). Royal Marine Tours of Afghanistan

Tour / Year

Royal Marine Unit

2001 (Nov/Dec)

40 Cdo

Op JACANA (Mar ? Jul 2002)

45 Cdo

HERRICK (4 Feb 2006)

42 Cdo (elements)

H5 Oct 06 ? Mar 07

3 Cdo Bde 42, 45 Cdos

HERRICK 7 (Oct 07 - Apr 08)

40 Cdo

HERRICK 9 (Oct 08 ? Apr 09)

3 Cdo Bde, 42 , 45 Cdos, 1 Rifles

HERRICK 12 (Apr ? Oct 10)

40 Cdo

HERRICK 14 (Apr-Oct 11)

3 Cdo Bde, 42, 45 Cdos, 1 Rifles

HERRICK 17 (Sept 12 -April 13)

40 Cdo

4.) For more information please contact Tom Bennett in the MOD Press Office on 0207 218 79006.

Stephane was emailed the details. I should have deleted this post - sorry.
Payment received with thanks!!

Cheers Paul!

Payment received with thanks!!

Cheers Mark!


Bit of a delay due to certain 'busy-nesses', defo in post today.


Avidly raising money for the Memorial Wall, which will be unveiled at Alrewas in June.

Happy bidding y'all!

Bill was a fellow member of the CVA, joining and supporting Vic Ralph at the very beginning in 2003.

He lived in Truro Cornwall.

Rest in peace Bill

Hi all,

Please find links to some really nice items on EBay - Happy Bidding!!!!!

A really special item:

Payment received (and more) with thanks!!

Hi CJ,

Welcome to the CVA forum.

Do you have any other details for your Grandfather i.e. christian names, where he was from/lived etc?

Payment received with thanks!! With a very kind donation also - much appreciated Mark!

Thanks also to Pete for donating books and P&P.

Payment (plus) received with thanks!!

Payment (plus) received with thanks!!

Payment received with thanks!!


Well done on winning the T-Towel - please make cheque payable to CVA and send to 7 Glebe Close, Ambrosden, Bicester, OX25 2LH.

Many thanks

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