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Gutsy eBayer touts 'Royal Marine surrender kit'

Just as commandos return en masse from Afghanistan. Oops

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An unidentified eBay seller is using the online tat bazaar to mount a web publicity campaign against the Royal Marines.

"Blackoperation" has a home-produced "Royal Marines surrender kit" up for auction, consisting of "one white flag, plasty cuffs (enough for 15), hessian blind fold, an aid memoir and comes complete with its own dpm pouch so you can have it attached to your webbing at all times".

The aid memoir (sic) reads as follows:

1 Actions on sighting enemy gun boat, place all weapons on the deck.

2 Calmly raise both hands into the air.

3 Reach into the Royal Marines surrender pouch and withdraw the issue white flag.

4 Then take out the issued plasty cuffs as the enemy wont be expecting the sudden surrender without a fight. last thing we want to do is antagonize them!

5 Blame the female for the navigation error.

6 Once encamped in enemy POW camp use the issue pen & notepad to start recording your experience`s for the big payout from the press on release!"

Blackoperation alludes not only to the recent unfortunate events off the Shatt al Arab waterway, but harks back to the capture of the original Falklands garrison in 1982. The marines and sailors of Naval Party 8901 surrendered to overwhelming Argentine invasion forces on the orders of Governor Rex Hunt after what is usually seen as quite a spirited defence - including, according to the British account, the taking of several Argentine prisoners before fortunes were reversed.

But Blackoperation seems to feel that inadequate backbone was exhibited.

"The RM issue flag has been tried and tested in multiple theatres of operations from the Falklands to Iran, it measures 6" X 10" and can easily be seen from at least 1000 metres in open water," he says, adding "remember 99% need not bid!" - no doubt a reference to the marines' recent recruiting slogan.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Blackoperation shows signs of Army affiliations, stating that all "procedes" (sic) of the auction will go to the Army Benevolent Fund. The humourous tat-monger is clearly no coward himself, as he also lists for sale a three-piece suite for collection from - presumably - his own home. Given the sometimes rather physical tendency of the Royal Marines' sense of humour, this could be seen as rather brave.

Particularly as 3 Commando Brigade, almost the entire fighting strength of the Corps of Royal Marines, is currently returning to the UK after six months' combat in southern Afghanistan. ®

Lewis Page is a former naval officer and commando.

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