The Royal Navy's first dedicated rehabilitation unit to treat recruits who are injured during Marine training has been officially opened in the Westcountry.
Trainees at the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, in East Devon, are sometimes injured during the tough regime they must conquer if they are to qualify to wear the Green Beret. They temporarily join Hunter Company for rehabilitation before being thrown back into full training for frontline combat duties.
Now, Hunter Company has a dedicated new £3 million rehabilitation centre at Parker Hall in Lympstone, which was officially opened by Fleet Commander Admiral Sir George Zambellas yesterday.
Admiral Zambellas said: "The Commando training which Royal Marines undertake at Lympstone is the best in the world, but it is also incredibly tough and makes strenuous demands on our recruits. At Parker Hall, those who have been injured in the course of their training have the specialist facilities they deserve to get them back on track in achieving the goal to which they all aspire – the award of the coveted Green Beret."
Parker Hall, named after 1915 Victoria Cross winner Corporal W R Parker, is the only purpose-built unit for rehabilitating injured Royal Marine recruits. It is separate from the care of trained Marines who are injured on operations and rehabilitated through Hasler Company in Plymouth.
Up to now, about 180 recruits daily have been rehabilitated through the Stone Gymnasium, a general use multi-purpose gym which was not designed for rehabilitation. Parker Hall has in-situ physiotherapy, an important function of the recovery process, and consultation bays with remedial instructors on hand.
The centre also includes a matted exercise area, bespoke cardio-vascular and weights equipment area and a reduced-impact surface running-track.
It is predicted that the Royal Marines will benefit by retaining more of their recruits and reducing the drop-out rate and medical discharge due to injury.
The new centre will also free up more time in the multi-purpose gym, especially for permanent staff.