A ROYAL Marine Commando from St Helens has been enjoying life in one of the most challenging environments in the world.
Twenty six year-old John Caldwallader from Rainhill has been learning vital survival skills during cold weather warfare training in Norway’s Arctic Circle.
He was one of 40 reservist marine commandos on their first exercise in Norway. Over the course of two weeks they had to adapt to working as part of a cold weather team. They have to learn to find food, build shelters and carry out operations successfully in temperatures as low as -30c and, for some, a first time outing on skis.
Corporal Caldwallader explained how he followed his father into the Corps.
He said: "My father was also a Royal Marines Reservist and got me to join up. I'm glad he did, as it not only helped me, but also brought us much closer together."
John joined the Royal Marines Reserves as an 18-year-old and was deployed to Afghanistan on Herrick 12 as part of 40 Commando. The training and skills he learned helped in his career in maritime security, but now John is considering retraining as a paramedic in Liverpool.
He said: "In the eight years I've been a reservist this is the first time I've been to Norway and the first time I've ever tried skiing so it's a steep learning curve. It is cold, and it has been wet, but these are all environmental factors that we as marines need to consider.
"I'm really proud to be associated with the Royal Marines. Standing alongside, and talking to, the old and the bold I'm able to learn from their experiences and become a fuller person. Being a Royal Marine is like nothing you could ever experience on civvy street."
Celebrating their 350th anniversary in 2014, Royal Marines are the UK's mountain and cold weather warfare specialists.