Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Premise of the Celebrity and War

HMS Sheffield, scuppered but not sunk in the Falklands
Celebrities are there to do our bidding. We pay for their massive oversized salaries. The loss of privacy and freedom is the price they pay for stardom; some rise and succeed, but many fall is a blaze of drug and alcolhol abuse. Celebrities can't blame the public - it's the public that pay for the labour of the celebrity and whether this is in the film or music industy the mediums of demand are the same.

Certainly, the mass media play a big part (it is they that do the hacking not the public). However, it's the media that report what idiotic statements these celebrities say. So they can be forgiven the hacking for the moment. And many do say idiotic things. Who can forget some of the quips said by the Duke of Edinburgh or the recent drunken anti-semitic rant by John Galliano?

Anyway, the worst idiotic statements are political ones. Surely celebrities should stay out of politics? After all we have paid them masses in revenue to be entertained; not to be patronised. Watching rock stars (remember what being a proper 'Rock Star' involves, right?) chat politics with Nelson Mandela is sickly and slighty hypocritical not to mention Tony Blair sharing a glass of Champange with Noel Gallagher in No.10.

And how can we forget Sean Penn's latest endorsement of the basket cased Argentine government's claim to the Falklands Islands? If you've got a minute look up Penn on google, he's been a right unsavory character down the years. A real hypocrite - vacuous, bland, docile, biased, and unintelligent.

We all know what he says is idiotic but the problem is with him being a celebrity - he brings an unbalanced and incorrect view to this undebate and many young or impressionable people latch on to these things and take it as gospel. Being a celebrity, Sean Penn should maintain his skills at acting and entertaining, then be grateful to a public that put him where he is by staying out of foreign affairs and politics.

And like Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, stop insulting the sacrifice of those soldiers who died defending the Falklands Islands against an invasion.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What are your experiences of looking for a job, is it something you feel you had support with?

Get your CV sorted
How long did it take for you to gain employment, when you left the Armed Forces?

The transition back to civilian life can be a daunting one, more so for someone having served 20 years. However, for others it's a straightforward process. Therefore how much is the MoD really responsible for someone leaving and isn't it ultimately the individual's responsibility to get out there and network and research?

Many veterans say they end up studying or working self-employed despite getting good resettlement after a period of service (the wisdom seems to be that the longer you serve, for example 12 years, the better support you get; serve 3-5 years and the support is rubbish) for awhile but most do find full-time employment. But the length of service is not an issue for everyone. Some say they got good resettlement only after 6 years' service. Then again, some people talk honestly about their resettlement horror stories in which they got no help; and those are many.

Looking at what people posted on our advice boards on the website, the general advice is don't rely on the government to help you:

1. You have to have a contingency plan set before you leave
2. Start the ball rolling BEFORE you leave
3. Keep looking and don't give up
4. It's about Blowing Your Own Trumpet
(this comes from someone working in the Recruitment industry!)
5. Get a CV sorted out

If you're looking for more career advice have a look at our discussion boards online.

Monday, February 27, 2012

NHS Help? Think Twice before Serving in the Armed Forces

What happened to David Cameron's promise on delivering the Armed Forces Covenant?

We now learn that the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has decided that disabled war veterans will have to pay to park their cars while attending appointments – BUT – those living on benefits will NOT be charged.

Makes you proud to be British doesn't it? Yet another example, to join the current 100's, of how well we treat our Armed Forces Veterans in this country.

Irony aside, it is appalling. What is happening in this country? It look like an agenda from somewhere to maltreat our military in the worst possible way in desperation at the Hartlepool Trust having neither the courage nor the political will to challenge the current status quo. Why not charge those on Income support? If they need to raise funds there are other ways of doing it. To target veterans is abhorrent. Armed Forces personnel pay their taxes like everyone else so they should also receive at least free parking in view of their service.

It makes one wonder how one'll be treated years after any service. Like the scrapping of the winter cold payments and the TV licence for over 75's, our pensioners are being attacked left, right, and centre.

So much for the Armed Forces Covenant...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Can we not for a change keep our noses out of Syria?

We never learn...
The question on everyone's lips is Syria. Have we not learned lessons from our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? These are expensive ventures for the taxpayer. In all fairness we are economically not up for this fight, despite what internationalists and the UN and the EU tell us.

No one wants to see more heart broken bereaved families losing sons in a Syrian campaign; and if there's any fighting to be done, we must put British interests first, which means defending the Falklands.

Yes, we all know the Armed Forces do their duty when called upon. Nobody is questioning their power and bravery; time and again the British have shown it and are a great example to the global community. However, the Armed Forces do not take political decisions - the Commons and Executive do. Both are fallible and sometimes take the wrong decisions. Let's not have another War like the Iraqi one after innocent Brits were needlessly killed. The Syrians are much better trained and equipped than Afghans, Libyans and Iraqis.

We kid you not.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Royal Navy cuts are evident but the fleet is still one of only 3 global BlueWater Navies. How far will the cuts go?

It's an enduring question what the devil is going to happen to our glorious Royal Navy. Arguably the best trained and equipped in the world.

HMS Daring Type 45 Destroyer
Only the US Navy trump us with their size. As one member said on our Facebook board, "This government is going to leave us defenceless...". But who are we threatened by? Our country is more at threat from Islamist terrorism, and the pirates would not dare to venture in European waters.

So what's all the fuss about? Argentina seemingly springs to mind. The consensus seems that we need a decent Navy to defend the Islands.

Its not all bad news, as another member pointed out - we've 4 new fleet tankers on the way, Type 22 and 23 refits to carry on until the building of Type 26's. There're more Type 45's nearing completion and Astute Subs well towards completion.

"A better streamlined and effective navy with better kit, and a new Super Carrier will bring new roles and perspectives for RN."

But will that be enough in the face of future aggresion from South American or China?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Royal Marines

Originally named the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot the Corps of Royal Marines can trace their origins as far back as 28th October 1664. As the first unit of English Naval Infantry they were commonly known as the Admiral’s Regiment because the Duke of York was the Lord High Admiral.

In 1704 approximately 2000 British and 400 Dutch marines attacked the Rock of Gibraltar to prevent Spain from reinforcing the fortress. For their action the Battle Honour ‘Gibraltar’ was bestowed upon the Corps by King George IV who decreed that the word ‘Gibraltar’ should appear as part of their crest in representation of the numerous honours they had earned. To the current day the Royal Marines maintain a close relationship with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps.

Although members of the Corps were soldiers they also undertook the duties of sailors and as such played a big part in establishing the British Empire. The motto of the Royal Marines, ‘Per Mare Per Terram’ which translates as ‘By Sea By Land’, is believed to have been used for the first time at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 during the Siege of Boston in the American Revolutionary War and reflects the Royal Marines ability to fight both at sea and ashore. It is little known that in 1805 nearly 3,000 marines took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.

In the early 1900’s all vessels classed as destroyers and above in the Royal Navy had a Royal Marine detachment embarked as part of the ships company and at least one of the main gun turrets, and secondary armament, was manned by the detachment.

Read on! However, if you are interested in joining the Royal Marines see our articles on joining information Am I Eligible to join the Royal Marines?

World War I

During WWI Royal Marines took part in the April 1915 ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) amphibious assault of Gallipoli and in April 1918 the Royal Marines led the Zeebrugge Harbour Raid that successfully blocked the harbour entrance for the final months of the war.

Demobilisation after WWI saw the Corps reduced in strength from 55,000 to approximately 15,000 – with even talk of the Corps being entirely disbanded! Eventually reduced to an establishment of 9,500 it was impossible for the Corps to retain two separate branches - Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) and the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI). As a consequence both branches were amalgamated in June 1923 to form the Corps of Royal Marines with the respective ranks of Gunner and Private being replaced by that of Marine.

World War II

WWII saw a resurgence in the Royal Marines with over 80,000 members eventually serving on land and at sea with 40 Commando being the first commando unit to be raised and eventually taking part in the infamous Canadian led raid on Dieppe in August 1942. Because of the success of earlier operations the Marine Division was disbanded in late 1942 and reorganised into eight commandos. In March 1944 the 4th Special Service Brigade was formed from Royal Marine units but in early December 1944 was re-titled 4th Commando Brigade – to ‘rid’ it of the title Special Service which was being compared with the German SS. Similarly the 1st Special Service Brigade was renamed the 1st Commando Brigade at the same time.

On D-Day, 6th June 1944, Royal Marine Commando units of 4th Special Service Brigade, comprising 41, 46, 47 & 48 Commandos, took part in the landings on Sword, Juno and Gold Beaches with the 1st Special Service Brigade – commanded by Brigadier The Lord Lovat - consisting of 3, 4, 6 & 45 Commandos landing at Ouistreham on the extreme easterly flank of the D-Day landing zones. It is estimated that in total some 16,000 members of The Corps were involved in Operation ‘OVERLORD’. At the time of the D-Day landings 40 Commando were operating with the 8th Army in Italy.

The 3rd Special Service Brigade, comprising 1, 5, 42 & 45 Commandos, was formed in 1943 and deployed to the Far East on operations in the war against Japan. As occurred with the 1st & 4th Special Service Brigades the 3rd Brigade was renamed 3rd Commando Brigade in early December 1944. In January 1945 3 Commando Brigade were involved in securing the Myebon Peninsula and Kangaw before moving to India to prepare for the amphibious assault of Malaya, but, with the Japanese surrender the Brigade was diverted to Hong Kong to secure the colony.

In 1946 the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the Commando role. There are still Army elements serving with the Royal Marines in a supporting role.

All personnel, with very few exceptions, have completed either the Commando Course at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone or for Army ranks, the All Arms Commando Course.

Completion of either of these courses entitles the individual to wear the coveted Green Beret.

Have you got what it takes to become a royal marine?

If you are interested in the Royal Marines see below for our comprehensive list on all the current brigades, and we also have a section illustrating the current Ranks in the Royal Marines. So click on the link and have a look.

3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines (3 CDO BDE RM) Units

40 Commando Royal Marines

42 Commando Royal Marines

45 Commando Royal Marines

30 Commando IX (Information Exploitation) Group Royal Marines

Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (FPGRM)

539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines

Commando Logistics Regiment

Attached Army Units Under Command of 3 Commando Brigade

Commando units not under command of 3 Commando Brigade RM

Royal Marines Non-Commissioned Officer Rank Structure

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Royal Navy Ships

HMS Bulwark is the current Flag Ship
Although the UK has a proud naval heritage the Royal Navy has long been under the microscope as far as manning and royal navy ships are concerned.

However, with the 2010 SDSR (Strategic Defence Review) and the 2004 White Paper, Delivering Security in a Changing World, there are signs that Royal Navy ships will be severely reduced to a smaller and more capable fleet (arguably reducing the quantity of royal navy careers too...) with the most modest naval procurement programme since the end of WWII.

Part of this procurement programme is the provision of two 65,000 ton Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, scheduled to enter service in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

In 2002 the surface fleet of the Royal Navy was reorganised into two flotillas, one each at the naval bases of Portsmouth and Plymouth. The vessels listed below make up the flotillas and other naval organisations with the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy Ships

The Royal Navy has a long heritage: It's History

See our Short History of the Royal Navy and Aircraft Carriers of the Royal Navy

Aircraft Carriers
HMS Illustrious

Assault Ships
HMS Ocean
HMS Albion
HMS Bulwark

Type 22 Frigates
Type 23 Frigates
Type 26 (FSC) Frigates

Type 42 Destroyers
Type 45 Destroyers

HM Submarines
Vanguard Class SSBN
Trafalgar Class SSN
Astute Class SSN

Naval Air Squadrons
Royal Navy Non-Commissioned Rating Structure

More Sections: 
RAF Squadrons and Regiments

Next section:
The Royal Marines

UK Armed Forces Pay Rates for all Services: April 2011 – April 2012