350 Years of Marines

By Glenn Hewer glenn

Today is the birthday of the Royal Marine Commandos and even though it’s been five years since I left, I do still spare a moment on this day to throw back a little tot of rum quoting “TTQ”  (to the queen – in case you’re wondering).


The Marines began way back in 1664 when King Charles II was on the throne. Originally it was called “The Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot” – with all due respect, a bit of a mouthful. The regiment was later titled “The Royal Marines” by King George III.


As a former marine, I’m proud to wish all of those currently serving and who have served in the past a very happy birthday. Rather than write a blog on the history of the Royal marines, I thought i’d share 13 things I’ve taken with me from my ‘bootneck’ days. I bet there’s a couple of fellow bootnecks out there just like me who can relate.


Who needs a pillow?

You learn quickly to sleep wherever you can as a marine, even today I can fall asleep in an instant! At a moment’s notice, if I’m a passenger in the car or on the train, i can flick the switch and I’m out like a light.



Most people call it paperwork, but to us Bootnecks it’s ‘admin’. Cue vague expressions!


That’s not right!

I just can’t help but comment if I’m watching a war film and they flank the wrong way, carry out bad drills or never seem to reload! Just infuriating...


What’s that there?

Call it a sixth sense, or maybe I just know where to look, but I always seem to  notice when things are out of place. I very often see moving wildlife when others do not and I spot things that are hidden


Here we go again....

Shudder when your friends say “Let’s all dress up in camouflage and wear camouflage face paint!!” Sorry ladies, it’s not like the movies. Cam cream (as we call it) just looks nasty!


Bootneck lingo

Occasionally speaking in our own made-up language. For example, “gucci” (meaning good, new and/or expensive equipment) “hoofing” (meaning amazing) “pussers” (meaning anything done by the book) and “threaders” (meaning you’re fed up/had enough)


Get a haircut

I can’t seem to let my hair grow to the point where it touches my ears without feeling the need to cut it short again. Even walking past guys with flowing locks I think to myself “wow, he really needs to tidy that up...”


Papercut creases

I can’t let anyone else do my ironing. There are certain ways it must be ironed and to stick in a pair of train tracks (two lines from the iron, where there should be one) may just result in the creation of a wormhole.


Clean shoes

I feel a man is always judged by the state of his shoes. Thinking about it, I even keep emergency polish and brushes in my work drawers. The proper stuff, not that cheating roll on rubbish!


Size matters

It’s all about quantity not quality when it comes to food. Keep your nouveau cuisine fancy stuff – give me a mountain of sausage and mash any day (yum!)


Man of many faces

You never know when there is a last minute requirement for a Ghostbuster, a Ninja Turtle or Edward Scissorhands. I have drawers and drawers of fancy dress costumes!



Having been places and experienced the tough times I have a new found respect for the guys who did it before us, years and years ago, with a lot less technology, equipment and information.


Brothers for life

I have some great friends who are like brothers, all over the world. After a five minute conversation it’s like we’ve never been away from each other.



Please join me in wishing the Royal Marines a Happy 350th Birthday on this very special day.