Commandos from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (4 ASRM), based on board HMS Bulwark, made a dramatic entrance to Weymouth's Olympics opening weekend celebration on Saturday evening.
The evening of Saturday 28 July saw thousands of spectators gather on the beach at Dorset’s Olympic Live site to witness the creative performance of ‘The Battle for the Winds’, a free theatrical, musical and aerial acrobatics show to celebrate and compliment the 2012 Olympic sailing events.
HMS Bulwark and RFA Mounts Bay are in Dorset supporting the Olympics maritime security operation. Off-duty sailors from the ships enjoyed mingling with the crowds on the beach while the audience took photos of themselves with the Royal Navy personnel on a brief but welcome shore leave.
As the sun set over Weymouth Bay at the climax of the show, the key character in the drama, Doldrum the Stone God from Portland, was delivered onto the beach in a sequence filled with suspense.
Landing craft and Royal Marines inflatable boats crept stealthily and silently towards the shore at twilight from the darkened vessels. In a crash of thunder, with flamethrowers, lighting effects and flares erupting around them, the Commandos delivered Doldrum from the Landing craft to the shore.
With their mission complete, the Royals stealthily withdrew back to sea, under the cover of darkness. A searchlight flickered across the water’s surface as they melted away. Doldrum and his henchmen then entered the battle arena and the show continued.
Behind the scenes, a group of sailors from HMS Bulwark were invited backstage by the Stage Manager after Doldrum’s great battle to meet the actor playing the role in full makeup and costume before he returned to the stage for the final scene.
The Royal Marines are the key weapons of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Flagship HMS Bulwark. With their amphibious capability of landing craft and fast boats they deliver both troops and tactical vehicles to the shoreline.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Green - Amphibious Operations Officer on board HMS Bulwark, said:
HMS Bulwark and the military maritime security force are delighted to have the opportunity to support Battle for the Winds and the Cultural Olympiad. Delivering troops and vehicles on beaches as part of tightly co-ordinated plan is our core business.
Tonight’s ceremony provides a welcome break from our security duties in support of Dorset Police to ensure there is a safe and secure Olympics here in Weymouth and Portland.
HMS Bulwark has made a rare incursion inshore to provide a backdrop, and we have had the opportunity to land some of the ship’s company to witness this amazing ceremony from the shoreside.
The Royal Navy’s flagship, HMS Bulwark, remained floodlit in the bay during the delivery sequence. The ship is tasked to provide the Command and Control Headquarters at sea during Dorset Police’s maritime security operation.
On board, the Maritime Force Commander’s mission is to deliver security to the Olympic sailing arena, controlling access to almost 50 square miles (129.5 square kilometres) of sea; covering the surface, underwater, and airspace during the period of the Games.