Marines Lympstone village exercise plans

ROYAL Marine officers could use Lympstone village as a location for a training exercise – armed with guns. Andy Watkins, who runs officer training at the Commando Training Centre, discussed the possibility to carry out a counter-insurgency exercise in the

ROYAL Marine officers could use Lympstone village as a location for a training exercise - armed with guns.

Andy Watkins, who runs officer training at the Commando Training Centre, discussed the possibility to carry out a counter-insurgency exercise in the village at a parish council meeting held last Monday, October 5.

He said: "We would like to get the young officers of Lympstone down to the village to run an exercise for a couple of days."

Andy said the work would be aimed at dealing with dissent and anti-government feeling.


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"We would run a scenario which tests the officers how to operate in a community they are slightly unfamiliar with.

"It is very easy to go to a location where it is empty and do our own work but what is critical is working in and amongst communities. If you can do that well it is so much easier when you go abroad."

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Mr Watkins said if people would be put off by the Marines using the village, particularly children and the elderly, the plan may have to be withdrawn.

"If you think having 40 officers going through the village with a gun is a disturbing thought then it's a non-starter."

Rob Longhurst, chairman of the parish council, said: "The idea has been received but there are concerns. We need to publicise such an exercise in the village if it were to happen.

"In principle, I don't think it is something we can't do. The village is very proud of the work the Royal Marines do."

One member of the public who attended the meeting said: "I think anything that helps our boys who are, and go to serve in places like Afghanistan, should be supported."

Speaking after the parish council meeting, Mr Watkins said: "I was very pleased with the reaction of the councillors about the idea.

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