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Royal Marine wins amateur photographic award

Royal Marines on exercise in the mountains of Norway Credit: Sgt Ben Briggs

A Royal Marine from Poole in Dorset has won the Royal Navy Amateur Photographer of the Year 2013 award. The prize is one of the annual Peregrine Trophy awards which celebrate the skills of professional and amateur Royal Navy and Royal Marine photographers.

Sergeant Ben Briggs, 35, entered images of his colleagues taken while they were training in tough terrain on exercise in the Norwegian mountains. He said the win made him even more enthusiastic about furthering his hobby.

Sergeant Ben Briggs has won Royal Navy Amateur Photographer of the Year 2013 Credit: Royal Navy

Sergeant Briggs said: “Norway was a really great opportunity for me to develop my limited photography skills. I really wanted to capture the aurora borealis or northern lights, as I had seen them plenty of times on previous trips to Norway but never had a camera decent enough to photograph them.

“I really wanted to try and capture a mix of the beauty and severity of the terrain, along with the physical and mental endurance of the Royal Marines.

"I’m really pleased with the results, and that my photographs have been well received by professionals has given me the enthusiasm to start experimenting with other more intricate techniques.”

One of the winning photographs in Sergeant Briggs' portfolio Credit: Sgt Ben Briggs


Life on the front line laid bare in brothers' diaries

John Thornton was just a few weeks away from the end of his tour with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan when he was killed. He was 22.Five years later and his diaries have been published - alongside those of his older brother - who is still in the armed forces.

Their accounts - of life on the frontline - are both honest and emotional, as Richard Jones has been finding out. He spoke to the brothers' parents Linda and Pete Thornton.

A fitting send off after Facebook appeal

They came to send off a stranger - and they came in their hundreds. Today mourners attended the burial of James MConnell who died of a chest infection. The former Royal Marine had no family and faced a lonely burial - that was until the local vicar sent out a Facebook plea.

Word spread around the armed forces community and - as Sally Simmonds reports - the 70 year old from Southsea wasn't let down.

Facebook plea brings hundreds to stranger's funeral

Hundreds attend funeral former Royal Marine James McConnell Credit: Press Association Images

Over two hundred strangers attend the funeral of former Royal Marine James McConnell after a vicar put out a plea on Facebook amid fears that he would be buried without mourners. The 70-year-old died at a care home in Southsea, Hampshire, and he did not have any close family.

A vicar put out a Facebook plea asking for mourners to attend Credit: Press Association Images
The Last Post was sounded as part of a military procession Credit: Press Association Images


  1. National

Inquest of soldier with 'infectious charisma'

Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines, and Lance Corporal Michael Foley, 25, of the Adjutant General's Corps, were killed at the entrance to the UK headquarters in Helmand Province in March this year.

Sergeant Luke Taylor Credit: MoD

Shortly after his death a colleague of Sergeant Luke Taylor said:

"Luke was the kind of guy you wanted next to you - regardless of the situation, he was a cool head and a source of endless banter. I never saw him fazed; he just seemed to "crack on" and many a time dragged those around with him!

"He had one of those infectious charismas, always able to talk himself out of a situation. For me, like so many, Luke was simply an inspiration. Completely dedicated and loyal to his family, you could just feel the warmth when he spoke of them."

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