25 years in the Royal Marines

Major Simon Giles.
Major Simon Giles.

Major Simon Giles RM addressed 53 members of Forfar Probus Club as guest speaker last Tuesday.

He use photos and film to illustrate his own 25 year career in the Marines, using that as an insight into the history and importance of the 8000-strong Corps throughout the world today.

Simon, a keen sportsman, left school and the family farm in Yorkshire, joining the Marines in 1986 aged 17, wanting to do something with his life, looking for a challenge.

He certainly found that in the 32 weeks course in Lympstone, Devon where officers and marines, unlike the regular army, all undergo the same intensive training centring round physical strength, endurance and flexibility.

The culmination of training is the dreaded Commando course- a series of endurance and fitness tests carrying 32lb of equipment, which have remained virtually unchanged since World War II.

Simon not only completed this, entitling him to wear the famous green beret, but was top recruit, winning the Commando Medal.

He was destined to rise through the ranks, commissioned as a captain in 2004, gaining the sword of honour, and promoted to Major in 2008.

He has trained in Norway and served in Northern Ireland, Kuwait and Belize, also promoted to commanding officer at 45 Commando Arbroath while the Group were deployed in Afghanistan. A recent plum posting for him and his wife Melanie was as Assistant Defence Attache to the British Embassy in Bangkok.