Royal Marines' grenade throwing training to return to Pebblebed Heaths

PUBLISHED: 11:29 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:05 20 February 2019

Grenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR Communications

Grenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR Communications

Archant

Training to throw live explosives will soon be reinstated at a Colaton Raleigh firing range.

Grenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR CommunicationsGrenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR Communications

Royal Marine recruits will be able to practice launching grenades around the Pebblebed Heaths from April.

It comes after work to refurbish a closed firing range on Colaton Raleigh Common – costing £250,000 – started this month.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) originally closed the site in 2015 due to weather damage and erosion.

Work is expected to take around five weeks with live grenade throwing returning to the recruits’ training programme from April.

Grenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR CommunicationsGrenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR Communications

Once reinstated, live throwing will take place over a maximum of two days a fortnight and no more than eight times per month, with all detonations happening in daylight hours between 9am and 4pm.

Royal Marines have been throwing grenades on a purpose-built firing range on Colaton Raleigh Common since the 1950s.

According to Andy Cross, Defence Infrastructure Organisation training safety officer for the Woodbury Common training area, grenade training is an operational requirement for the Royal Marines.

He said: “To be able to have the option of using a grenade in a real-life scenario, military personnel must have experienced throwing a grenade on a purpose built range so they understand the principles of what they are doing before they go into a tactical scenario, so training facilities like Colaton Raleigh are crucial to progressive military training.”

Grenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR CommunicationsGrenade throwing training is set to return to a fire range at Colaton Raleigh Common. Picture: Fran McElhone/KOR Communications

During the closure of the range, recruits have been travelling to Wiltshire and South Wales to train.

Devon-based Territorial Army units are also due to use the range for the first time.

The MoD is working closely with landowner Clinton Devon Estates and the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, which manages the area.

Kim Strawbridge, Pebblebed Heaths’ site manager, said: “Military training on the heaths dates back to World War Two when Dalditch Camp was a major military encampment.

“The Royal Marines operating out of CTC follow strict orders regarding how they operate on site and the MoD is respectful of the environmental sensitivities of the heaths and their obligation to operate appropriately.”

Formal notification of firing dates will be published here

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