1. ITV Report

Taunton-based commandos return home after assisting in Hurricane Irma relief

Lance Corporal Mario D'Agostino giving lessons to locals on the basic maintenance of a generator Photo: MOD

More than 600 Royal MarineCommandos have returned to their home unit of Taunton, following a three-week deployment to the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The servicemen and women of 40 Commando Royal Marines are now back at Norton Manor Camp, having been sent on September 8 on Operation Ruman.

The UK Task Force area of operations spanned almost 1,000 miles from Barbados, Anguilla, The British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

BVI governor Gus Jaspert (centre) with Lt Col Paul Maynard (right) and Matthew Forbes, acting head of government office Credit: MOD

Lt Col Paul Maynard, commanding officer of the lead commando group, said: “It is a true demonstration of the Commando ethos and values: of innovation, high readiness and understanding of risk.”

Military efforts were focused on helping distribute the 180 tonnes of humanitarian aid, having food, water and shelter readily available, reinstating critical infrastructure and supporting security where required.

The 40 Commando also assisted local and international police in securing the main prison on the Island, returning over 100 escaped prisoners and also removing 21 of the most dangerous from the Island.

Landing on the beach at Grand Turk Credit: MOD

Gus Jasper, Governor of the British Virgin Island, said: ‘The military task force supported by RFA Mounts Bay and HMS Ocean has been a game changer here; helping us get our security situation sorted out incredibly quickly, helping deliver humanitarian relief and helping to rebuild our infrastructure.

“Everybody should be proud of what they’ve done.”

RFA Mounts Bay, first on the scene after Irma to offer assistance with specialist teams,will remain in the Caribbean for the rest of the hurricane season, while the 40 Commando, back in the UK, will enjoy a few days of downtime with family and friends before reinstating their very high readiness status.