Royal Marines Reserve Success for North West Commandos


A Sky Diving Instructor from Salford, a Design Engineer from Fleetwood and Care Support Worker from Macclesfield have all completed one of the toughest armed forces training courses in the world to become a Royal Marine Commando, while continuing in their day jobs.

Ben Spencer

Ben Spencer

Ben Spencer (25), Joe Birks (22) and Jonathon Stanley (20) were awarded the Green Beret by Lt Col Chris Ordway at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM). The presentation of the beret or “Green Lid” marked the culmination of 14 months of grueling training and confirmed them as Royal Marines Commando Reservists.

The three spent two weeks at CTCRM, at Lympstone, the home of Royal Marine training. During the first week they spent time in the field, proving their roping and abseiling skills as well as conducting section attacks in driving rain and wind chill temperatures of -8. The final tests they needed to pass included an aerial assault course, a 9 mile speed march, the famous Endurance Course and a 30 mile timed march, which has to be completed in 8 hours.

All three joined the Manchester detachment of Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) Merseyside in 2013, and since then have attended weekly training sessions as well as weekend exercises all over the country.

Ben said: “I feel a huge sense of achievement. I’m really looking forward to my career in the Royal Marines Reserve and I’m excited for what the future will bring – that’s what I joined for.”

Joe Birks

Joe Birks

Joe said: “The hardest part of this for me has been time management. I work, I’m doing a part-time degree and also training to get my green lid. Thankfully I’ve got loads of support from my family. I’ve reached new limits of my mental and physical ability and in hindsight I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

Jonathon said: “I’ve always wanted to be in the Royal Marines – I guess that’s just part of your personality. I know that I will always challenge myself and this is the right challenge for me.”

Lt Col Jonathan Dowd, CO RMR Merseyside, said “To be a Royal Marine Commando takes 100% commitment and a strong state of mind – firstly, just to get through the course, but then as a trained Commando to be ready to tackle any challenge, anywhere in the world.

“If you have a full time day-job, and you’re joining the Royal Marines Reserve, the standards, commitment and mental preparation is no different to the full time regulars. So recruits like Ben, Joe and Jonathon who have been awarded their green beret should feel rightly proud of what they have achieved.

Jonathon Stanley

Jonathon Stanley

“The RMR is one of the most active reserve units in the country, ready to be deployed with the regular marines anywhere in the world. It is also among the toughest armed services reserve roles in the world, and Joe has now become one of only about 600 people in the country who is a trained Royal Marines Commando Reservist.”

For anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to join the Royal Marines Reserve and would like a taste of the opportunities and training available, Manchester and Liverpool Detachments are holding Open Days from 0900, on Saturday 14 March at the Army Reserve Centre, Chorlton Road, Manchester, and Naval Regional Headquarters, 80 Sefton Street, Liverpool.

For more information about the Royal Marines Reserve, contact 0845 600 3222 or visit:

Reserve Forces