ROYAL MARINES from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group took to the streets of Helensburgh to help raise funds for the Royal Marines Charity

Royal Marine veterans in Helensburgh to collect donations for the Royal Marines Charity.

By Gavin Carr

A contingent of Marines from the Faslane-based unit laced-up their trainers for the latest leg of the Commando 80 Challenge which involves every Commando and Reserve Unit across the UK.

Since September 1st, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Luke Granger has been running multiple marathons around the country, hoping to cover 60 in just 60 days.

The Helensburgh leg of the challenge covered a 5.3 mile loop, beginning and ending in the town’s Colquhoun Square.  As well as marking the 80th anniversary of the Commandos, the challenge was also a way to gather funds for the Royal Marines Charity.

“The public support during the challenge has been second to none,” said Luke.  “I have spoken with people from all walks of life, in many different parts of the country, and even had people jumping out of cars to throw money into the charity pot.

“The support from the Royal Marine and Army units I have run with has also been exceptional.  Nothing has been too much trouble, whether getting certain food for me, or adapting the route depending on how I am feeling on a particular day.”

Although initially losing a couple of kilos due to the rigors of his run, Luke has learned to manage his daily food intake and is surprised at how good his feeling after running over 1,000 miles.  He sees a sports therapist once a week to help relax his legs and says that he has never stretched so much in his life.

“I will be extremely proud of myself if I am able to complete this challenge and still be in one piece,” he said.  “I’ve never done any sort of ultra-running before, having only ever completed three marathons prior to the start.  I have learned a lot about myself and I am now fully aware of what I am capable of.”

Royal Marines were also in Helensburgh on the day of the marathon with their collection buckets, with generous members of the public contributing cash for the Royal Marines Charity.

Next up in the Royal Marines Commando 80 Challenge will be a run with Royal Marines Reserves (RMR) Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Challenge will finish on October 30th at the Commando Monument at Spean Bridge, with a seven-mile speed march at the spiritual home of the Commandos.  It is expected that over 200 Commandos and members of the Royal Marines Association will attend.

There is still time to donate to the Commando 80 Challenge at:

Why is this Challenge so important?

Royal Marines deploy away from the UK on a regular basis to protect our nation’s interests.  They are a highly effective and flexible force trained to survive and operate in the harshest conditions.  The fact that they can intervene anywhere in the world often comes with a price.  Injuries occur and sometimes those injuries, physical or mental, can be life changing; that is where the Royal Marines Charity steps in to help.  RMA – The Royal Marines Charity needs to raise a significant amount each year to continue providing support on an enduring basis to the Royal Marines’ family.   Some of this money is raised through individual marines contributing via their pay, but the bulk comes from its fundraising community and initiatives such as the RMA and Royal Marines Cadets supporting fundraising for the Royal Marines Commando 80 Challenge.


In 1940, after Dunkirk, Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave the order to ‘Set Europe Ablaze’. The Royal Marines were over committed; supporting the Fleet at sea, whilst the Royal Marines Division was the only formed unit capable of defending against the threatened German invasion, so the task of forming Commando units fell to the Army.  However, on the 14th of February 1942 the first Royal Marines volunteers assembled at the barracks in Deal, they were known as The Royal Marine Commando.  On the 5th of April 1942 the newly formed Royal Marines Commando travelled to Scotland for training on the rough terrain near to the Achnacarry Castle.  T-Company was then formed from the Commando Unit on the 14th of April 1942

for a special task.  These 36 ranks and two officers were the first formed group of Marines to complete the commando course.  On the 18th of May 1942, the now fully trained Royal Marines Commando left Scotland on HMS Landing Ship Infantry Princess Beatrix, the first move of a RM Commando by sea.  And then on the 25th of June 1942 the Royal Marines Commando began rehearsing landings and assaults from HMS Locust in Portsmouth Harbour leading to the Dieppe Raid on the 19th August 1942.

Pictured: The Lance Corporal is accompanied by Royal Marines from 43 Commando as they run Helensburgh seafront; The runners gather at Colquhoun Square ahead of the latest Commando 80 marathon and Royal Marine veterans in Helensburgh to collect donations for the Royal Marines Charity.

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