75 years of Commando Training at Lympstone

Trainees and instructors at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) celebrate 75 years of Commando training this with a slice of cake and a moment’s reflection whilst training up to 1000 Royal Marines students for operations.

The centre opened its doors to its first trainees 75 years ago and was initially called the Royal Marines Depot Exton. 

During the latter part of World War Two it was re-named to Royal Marines Depot Lympstone and delivered Royal Marines for the war effort alongside the Royal Marines Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at Dalditch Camp up on close-by Woodbury Common, the local training area still used by today’s Royal Marines for a variety of training in East Devon. 

After the war Dalditch Camp closed and all training was co-located at the newly named Infantry Training Centre Royal Marines on 1st November 1946. 

The camp housed 3000 officers and men in 74 huts on 54 acres of prime East Devon countryside commandeered from the Nutwell Court Estate.  

Gradually, as the Royal Marines Commando role developed, buildings and resources were modernised and different courses were added, as the camp grew in importance.

In 1972 the name was changed to the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM). The unit now delivers training recruitment and selection, recruit and Officer training, leadership and career training for the Royal Marines, as well as Commando training for the rest of UK Defence.

There is a proud heritage at Lympstone, from the initial Royal Marines training delivered on the current site through the adoption of the Commando role through to the current operating model

Lieutenant Colonel Tony de Reya, Chief of Staff for CTCRM Lympstone

Lieutenant Colonel Tony de Reya, CTCRM’s Chief of Staff said “There is a proud heritage at Lympstone, from the initial Royal Marines training delivered on the current site through the adoption of the Commando role through to the current operating model. 

"CTCRM remains one of the most effective training sites in UK Defence because everything is inter-related and we optimise one set of resources to train Marines for operations. We now just need to find a cake big enough for 1000 hungry trainees!”

CTCRM is the only site in Defence that has its own railway station - Lympstone Commando, which was opened in 1976 – and provides Defence with over 1000 trained students having successfully completed any of 137 different training courses on a site of less than 77 acres. 

The site now housing a cutting edge physical rehabilitation facility – Parker Hall – an outstanding Skills’ Learning Centre and Royal Marines recruits also participate in the national apprenticeship scheme too.

Major Rick Hall the Officer Commanding Base Company said, “Several sites near Exmouth had been considered from as early as 1938 for a new Royal Marines Training Camp.  In the end we got two, but the first to open its doors and the camp that endured was on the current site between Lympstone and Exton.  It was here that Cpl Tom Hunter, who won a posthumous VC in Italy in 1943, was trained."

Images taken by LA(Phot) Dean Nixon.

Images show Recruit Jacob Tobin 17, from Wigan, who was born on 17 February 1998 and is at Week 4 of 32 week’s of Royal Marines Recruit training. He is pictured sharing a  birthday cake with the oldest serving Marine on Camp, Warrant Officer 2 Adrian Basford 56, who joined the Royal Marines on 27 April 1976. Also pictured are CTCRM’s Commandant, Colonel Kevin Oliver and Regimental Sergeant Major Paul McArthur.