Young cadets based at RM Condor made Scottish history at the weekend — and got the surprise of their lives — when they were inspected at their passing out parade by former marine and television celebrity Ant Middleton.
The adventurer, who is now chief instructor on the Channel 4 television series SAS: Who Dares Wins, spent the whole day on Saturday at the Arbroath base.
The 16 young members of the Arbroath Division Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps (RMVCC) knew there was going to be a VIP at their passing out parade but his identity was kept a closely guarded secret until the very last minute.
They were overwhelmed when they discovered they were to receive their coveted berets from the television star who spent four years serving in the Special Boat Service.
Great weekend presenting the first ever Royal Marine cadets from the newly formed Arbroath division (45 Commando) with their berets 👏🏼 Our children…Our future! #babybootnecks #proud #disciplineandrespect #positivemind #positivelife pic.twitter.com/N72wLKJNIB
— Anthony Middleton (@antmiddleton) January 13, 2019
He was a point man/lead scout and a primary fires operator and sniper. Prior to joining the SBS, Ant also served in the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, meaning he has achieved the “Holy Trinity” of the UK’s Elite Forces.
He also caught the public’s imagination in 2017 when he captained a team of men in Channel 4’s re-enactment of Captain William Bligh’s journey after the infamous Mutiny on the Bounty.
Colour Sergeant Derek McNulty of the Arbroath group, designated Troop 181, said they didn’t disclose Ant’s guest appearance until the morning rehearsal.
He said: “The older ones were completely taken aback, they were really surprised.
“Ant spent a massive amount of time with them.
“He spoke to them all, sat down with them and gave them an inspirational talk.
“Because of his background, he cares a lot and was very good with the cadets. He also spoke to their parents. He was there the full day.”
Among the other invited guests were RM Condor personnel and officers from the
RMVCC in Porstmouth.
Colour Sergeant McNulty continued: “This is the first time the RMVCC has opened a division in Scotland.
“RM Condor is the ideal place to do it.”
The Arbroath RMVCC formed last August as the first group of its kind in Scotland.
The RMVCC is one of the oldest cadet corps, having started in Portsmouth in 1901.
Originally established for the children of serving Royal Marines, it evolved into a youth organisation that takes in boys and girls of all backgrounds between the ages of nine and 17.
The Arbroath group meets every Monday and Wednesday evening.
So far the troop has been taught map reading, drill and first aid. Members have been camping, have the use of the gym on the base and have taken part in team building and initial military fitness to Royal Marine Standard.
45 Commando`s Signals Branch also taught the cadets how to use radios.