First Royal Marine of the Year announced

A Royal Marine who embodies what it means to be an elite commando has made history by becoming the first ever winner of the Royal Marine of the Year Award.

The award has been set up to recognise the exceptional work of one Royal Marine in particular who has shone in the past year and has most personified what it means to be a commando. It is sponsored by Honorary Commander Keith Knowles.

Marine Jack Duer of 43 Commando’s O-Squadron was selected by Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Matt Holmes, and other seniors within the Corps as the Royal Marine who most stood out after ‘his dedicated professionalism amid some tough personal circumstances’.

Maj Gen Holmes said: “What impressed us at the board was Marine Duer’s humility and undeflected devotion to duty through personal adversity.”

The very modest West Londoner, who now lives in Hampshire when he is not on duty protecting the UK’s nuclear deterrent at Clyde Naval Base in Scotland, couldn’t believe he was picked out for the award.

It has been a tough year for Jack but he has stayed highly focused on his operational duties despite a close family bereavement.

“It hasn’t sunk in still. It feels good. Personally, I’d say there’s loads of lads out there that are better than me,” he said, after 43 Commando’s Commanding Officer, Colonel Andrew Muddiman, handed him the award as he prepared for duty at Clyde.

“It’s still a shock. I wasn’t expecting it. It’s a good accomplishment and some of the lads have been saying ‘well done’ and ‘congratulations’ and all that. 

“I just try and help the lads out and be part of the team. I’d say the lads have got me to where I am more than anything.

“I just crack on, keep my head down and doing what I’m told to do.”

Jack has been in the Royal Marines for two-and-a-half years and hopes soon to go to 40 Commando and join a Reconnaissance Troop and has ambitions of being a Mountain Leader, the elite cadre of Royal Marines who are experts in long range reconnaissance, and arctic and mountain warfare.

Jack said: “Being a Royal Marine made me who I am today. It bettered me in all aspects. I’d recommend it. I didn’t have much going for me, I didn’t do much at school. At least now I’ve accomplished something. It’s been so worth it.

“I don’t believe I’m anything special but some people have put my name forward and think that I’ve done well. In my mind, I just crack on and do my job.

“You’ve got to be determined in this role, no matter what you do." 

Determination, courage, cheerfulness in the face of adversity, and unselfishness has helped Jack stand out and win this award. 

The Commando Ethos is a big part of commando training and gives Royal Marines a mind-set that equips them to: be the first to understand; the first to adapt and respond; and the first to overcome.  

Being a Royal Marine made me who I am today. It bettered me in all aspects. I’d recommend it. I didn’t have much going for me, I didn’t do much at school. At least now I’ve accomplished something. It’s been so worth it.

Marine Jack Duer