Former Student Receives His Green Beret

A former Higham Lane School student has received the coveted Green Beret after successfully completing one of the hardest military training courses in the world.

Max Mallabone, aged 20, is now a fully-fledged Royal Marine Commando after recently passing out of the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, Devon, with 166 Troop. He will now join up with 40 Commando Royal Marines based at Taunton, Somerset. 

The elite 40 Commando recently trained at Twentynine Palms in California during Exercise Black Alligator and are now preparing to be the Lead Commando Group held at high readiness for operations.

During the nine-month Royal Marines training, Max and his fellow recruits learned how to escape underwater from sinking helicopters and about survival on the sea. They were also taught how to abseil out of helicopters and assault cliff top positions at night time after conducting beach landings from raiding craft. The trainees were also instructed on how to adapt to living and working in the wild and dealing with survival situations. 

The recruits spend a large proportion of their time engaged in physical training and there are a series of gruelling tests they need to pass to remain on the course.  They are taught how to speed march, which is a combination of marching and running carrying 32lbs of weight, with the target of covering one mile every 10 minutes.

The final test they must overcome is the infamous 30-miler where the recruits speed march across the wilderness of Dartmoor in eight hours.

``Training has not only been tough physically, but also mentally,'' said Max. ``The training constantly challenges you in every aspect and has increased my confidence in my ability greatly.

``The hardest but most enjoyable part of training was the time spent outside on exercises, carrying out tasks in the same way as on operations. The learning curve is extremely steep as there is such a variety of skills required. I now feel I can operate capably in all conditions over any terrain.

``Going through such hard training you make some great friends. Working together so closely means that the whole troop forms a close bond.

``Royal Marines training is the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve done. I’m very proud to have got my Green Beret.”

When Royal Marines complete their training they are awarded the Green Beret.  This indicates they have completed one of the longest and hardest military training courses in the world and have displayed the Commando qualities of unselfishness, cheerfulness in the face of adversity, courage and determination.

Below, Royal Marine Commando Max Mallabone proudly wears his Green Beret.