Royal Marines use Port of Grimsby as a base for Humber Estuary exercise

July 14, 2014

 A group of 75 Royal Marines from 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines based themselves Associated British Ports’ (ABP) Port of Grimsby for four days recently as part of a military planning exercise.

539 Assault Squadron are the amphibious arm of 3 Commando Brigade and provide the formation with small boats and raiding craft, as well as specialist knowledge of riverine environments.

The exercise, which formed part of Exercise Raging Torrent, called for a challenging estuarine location and the Humber was selected because of its tidal range and its continually shifting bed.

Captain Andrew Lacy, 2IC 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines explained what the Squadron was looking for and why they chose the Humber as the location for this exercise.

He said: “We are the only group in defence to operate on rivers in this manner and for this particular exercise we really needed an estuary.

“The Humber ticked a lot of boxes for us as it’s the second-largest in the UK and it’s a very dynamic environment. It’s a challenging place as it has a huge tidal range and the bed shifts dramatically so it’s very testing for our coxswains. That, coupled with the support offered by ABP, made it ideal.

“The space given to us at Grimsby also meant we could move our entire logistics base to the port, which made things so much easier.”

The Squadron brought 12 craft in total including inflatable Zodiacs, Offshore Raiding Craft, hovercrafts and Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP), with which to conduct river patrols, beach reconnaissance and practice counter smuggling operations.

“It was the ideal place for us to base ourselves for this particular exercise,” Capt. Lacy continued. “It has been a real challenge and our personnel have really been tested – particularly on navigation.

“It’s been good for planning for future deployments and for contingency operations. We will definitely be back in the future, it’s been an extremely worthwhile visit and I can’t speak highly enough of ABP and its staff.”

ABP Marine and Operations Manager Grimsby, Phil Christy worked with 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines to ensure they had everything they needed during their stay.

“It was fantastic to see the Royal Marines making use of the port in this way,” said Phil. “They were a pleasure to work with and to watch them coming in and out of the lock, using Royal Dock and the river for their exercise was a spectacular sight.”

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