Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines

Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
Active 1 May 1980 - Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Type Commando
Role Force protection
Maritime Interdiction Operations
Nuclear Security
Size One Battalion
Part of Navy Command Headquarters
Base HMNB Clyde
Nickname FPG
Motto Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land) (Latin)
Colours (Lanyard) Red and Old Gold
March Quick - A Life on the Ocean Wave
Slow - Preobrajensky
Anniversaries Lake Comacchio, 3 April 1945
Website Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Captain General HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Commandant General Major General Buster Howes OBE
Superior Commander Commander Operations, Fleet Headquarters
Current Commander Colonel M N Gray MBE Royal Marines
Security of nuclear weapons at Faslane, HM Naval Base Clyde is part of the Group's responsibilities

The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (FPGRM), formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983) and Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001), is a commando-sized specialist unit of the Royal Marines responsible for guarding the United Kingdom's Naval nuclear weapons and other security-related duties.



On 1 May 1980, the Comacchio Company Royal Marines was formed to guard the UK's Naval nuclear weapons and as a Maritime Counter-Terrorism unit for offshore installations, including oil rigs and ships. The Comacchio Company RM initially numbered around 300 personnel.

Taking its name from a World War Two battle honour, the Comacchio Company's purpose was deemed inappropriate for a Commando-level specification. Instead, the Comacchio Company was named after a battle fought in Lake Comacchio, Italy, by Royal Marines in 1945, where Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter of 43 Commando posthumously received the Victoria Cross for his actions. On its formation, Comacchio Company took on the colours and traditions of the-then defunct 43 Commando.

The Comacchio Company RM became Comacchio Group RM in November 1983 to reflect a manpower increase to over 400 Royal Marines. From 1987 onwards, Comacchio Group also ceased performing the Maritime Counter-Terrorism role, after a study transferred the task to the newly-formed M-squadron of the Royal Marines Special Boat Service.

The Comacchio Group RM was renamed Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in March 2001, and was restructured into its current organisation. The Group also moved from RM Condor in Arbroath Angus (where it was co-located with 45 Commando) to HM Naval Base Clyde, which is situated near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute (both in Scotland).

In 2004, rifle squadron P was renamed S squadron and the Group was further expanded to a complement of 530.

Tasks and organisation

As of 2009, the Fleet Protection Group has over 550 personnel and is organised into several sub-units:

  • HQ Headquarters Squadron, including Boat Troop
  • O Rifle Squadron
  • R Rifle Squadron
  • S Rifle Squadron
  • P Squadron Royal Navy[1] (a sub-unit created in 2010 comprising 145 Royal Navy personnel charged with protecting RFA ships, Mine warfare ships and MOD-owned ferries)

The Group currently performs several tasks, including:

  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troop (FSRT) - The Group provides a number of teams to conduct tasks in support of the Royal Navy worldwide, including counter-terrorist, counter-narcotics and counter-piracy. All the teams receive specialist training and equipment and are held at high readiness for deployment. Many of the teams are specifically trained in non-compliant boarding skills. Those wishing to join an FSRT team are required to serve an apprenticeship in FPGRM and to be specifically recommended as suitable for this highly demanding and rewarding role.
  • Security of Nuclear Weapons - The Group provides military support for the Final Denial of access to nuclear weapons in HM Naval Base Faslane, at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport and in transit. The duty squadron provides a number of Reaction Forces at various notices to move in order to support the Ministry of Defence Police. This is a complex task that requires a thorough understanding of Rules of Engagement, accurate weapon handling and good Close Quarter Battle (CQB) skills. This role is becoming more demanding as new weapons, skills and tasks are being introduced.
  • Force protection of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels outside the UK - FPGRM provide force protection teams for HM ships alongside outside the United Kingdom to supplement organic security teams. This task is supported by members of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Only a proportion of squadron manpower is deployed at any one time, with the remainder taking leave, courses or training. When not on duty, the squadron conducts field firing, mountain training and other sub-unit training. It is also liable to be deployed on exercises such as Exercise Trade Winds (in the Caribbean), to take part in November Ceremonies at the Cenotaph in London, or conduct cross-training with the USMC during the biannual Exercise Tartan Eagle.

FPGRM is responsible for running the selection process for Royal Marines who wish to join the UK's Special Forces Support Group.[2]

The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines is the only operational Royal Marines Commando unit outside 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, instead the group works through the Commander Operations Fleet to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet.[citation needed]

Royal Navy Reserve Augmentation

Naval ratings of the Royal Naval Reserve have been attached to the Fleet Protection Group to support the force protection tasks outside of the United Kingdom.[3][dead link]

See also


  1. ^ Navy News, 'P' is for a Piece of History, 6 July 2010 http://www.navynews.co.uk/news/838-p-is-for-a-piece-of-history.aspx
  2. ^ Tim Ripley (25 February 2009). "Special Effects:UK SF unit comes into its own". Janes Defence Weekly, Vol. 46, Issue 8: 24. 
  3. ^ HMS Eaglet accessed 5 July 2008

External links

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