Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 20 November 2014


Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war!

We all want to live in a world of peace and harmony. Unfortunately the past 5,000 years of history suggests that human nature does not readily permit such an existence, although we continue to strive for it. As the ancient quote advises the best way to seek peace is to ensure that we have the ability to confront those who perpetrate terror.
As is obvious from most news bulletins, the world is just as uncertain and dangerous today as it ever was.

These thoughts were swirling around in my mind during my visit to 42 Commando at Bickleigh Barracks on Friday of last week.  My visit coincided with the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines. They were established in in 1664 when Charles II was on the throne. They have largely been water borne and spent most of the Napoleonic Wars dressed in scarlet in the rigging of our ships of the line shooting officers on French ships.  From Trafalgar to Afghanistan, an impressive record of excellence.

Now back from Afghanistan (hopefully for good) it was fascinating to learn from the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando how his 3 companies are engaged in numerous activities both at home and abroad. These assignments include ship protection (largely against pirates) and more recently assisting in the efforts to combat Ebola in Sierra Leone. More young marines volunteered for that expedition than they had places for, which sums up the dedication of this elite force.

One of the reasons why our Royal Marines are so competent in battle is the rigorous training they undertake around the clock, in differing climates and terrains. Intensive combat groundwork in the Artic, in the jungle and in desert prepares them for most eventualities. They are taught to think for themselves and respond quickly to changing circumstances in battle.  I very much enjoyed talking to the young marines and listening to their experiences in their numerous roles. They were kind enough to let me have a go on some of the weapons. The tripod mounted machine gun – like a Gatling gun from a western movie – was easily my favourite. (Picture on website).

As an indicator of their fitness and toughness, 40% of all recruits to our Special Forces come from the Royal Marines. Morale was high.

I feel honoured to represent the area in which 42 Commando are based. And very, very proud.

posted by Gary @ 09:32