You wouldn’t get many opportunities outside the Royal Marines to work in a place like this.

Lieutenant Henry Hives

Having only earned his green beret in December after completing more than a year’s training to become a Royal Marines officer, 21-year-old Lieutenant Henry Hives found himself leading men from Alpha Company through the dense scrub.

“I have really enjoyed the challenges of working in the jungle; you wouldn’t get many opportunities outside the Royal Marines to work in a place like this."

Twenty-five-year-old Franco Bent, also from Alpha Company, added: “It has been really beneficial getting to work as a company, improving our skills in a jungle environment."

The present-day reputation of the Royal Marines is built in part on what the commandos of yesteryear – including the late Paddy Ashdown – achieved in the jungles of Borneo half a century ago.

With the region taking on renewed importance for the future of the UK, 40 Commando’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Paul Maynard said training in the tropical climate and undergrowth of Belize was imperative.

"It is essential that the UK’s commandos can operate with partners and allies in the many close tropical environments in the Indo-Pacific region," he added.

"We have a long and distinguished history of operating in the jungle and the advanced soldiering skills required to be effective will be equally important as we look to the future."

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