The Royal Marines of 40 COmmando have released their 2013 calendar, to promote the health benefits of being a Royal Marine.
The men from Norton Manor, near Taunton, are currently on active duty in Afghanistan. But before heading to Helmand the lads were ‘volunteered’ to go (mostly) naked for the third Go Commando calendar, raising money for projects supporting the Royal Marines community. Marines generally don’t need a lot of persuading to get their kit off, but with the 40 lads heavily involved in pre-deployment training it looked like they had “much more important things to focus on” and the Go Commando team began to look elsewhere… At that point 40’s Commanding Officer Lt Col Matt Jackson determined if there was going to be a 2013 calendar, his men were going to be in it; it would serve as a “fitting tribute” to all the effort his unit had put in ready for the rigours of Helmand. So over one summer’s day, 40’s photographer LA(Phot) Rhys O’Leary – who’s also sharing the hardships of Afghanistan with the green berets right now – took a series of artistic black and white images.
There’s not a shirt or jacket in sight – just buff torsos, lots of tattoos and a bit of baby oil. So just like every day at Norton Manor, then… But it’s the cover image which has everyone talking. More than 1,500,000 Facebook users have seen the photograph of the privates (almost) on parade as the marines, wearing only their green berets, posed in the lake at their Somerset base.
Proceeds from the sale of the calendar will help Go Commando provide a new play area for marines’ children at Norton Manor and revamp the existing families’ centre. The charity hopes the calendar, which is by far its biggest individual fund-raising initiative, will bring in upwards of £30,000.