Valentine’s Day has always been known as a day to warm people’s hearts. However, The Duke of Sussex was probably struggling to feel the warmth during his visit to Norway today, to see Royal Marines on exercise.
The Duke visited Exercise Clockwork at Bardufoss Air Force Base to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Commando Helicopter Force and Joint Helicopter Command deploying for extreme cold weather training. Exercise Clockwork takes place 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle.
Harry arrived mid-morning, wearing his Royal Marines uniform; it is believed that today is the first time he has worn the green beret in his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines. The Queen formally appointed her grandson Captain General in December 2017 in succession to his grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh.
The temperatures today at Bardufoss were just over freezing point.
The Duke of Sussex is the first Royal to visit Exercise Clockwork in its 50-year history. There are 1,000 military personnel living and training at the Bardufoss base.
Harry was amused when visiting a Quincy Shelter, a makeshift shelter built of snow, to find a photo of him and The Duchess of Sussex from their wedding decorating one of the walls. He also joked that the background music playing must be especially for Valentine’s Day.
The Duke gained insight into how working in the extreme weather helps expand the Royal Marines’ capabilities and also watched personnel complete outdoor ground training.
He had a chat with military personnel about how they design and build the Quincy Shelters; he exclaimed that building a Quincy Shelter was, “Quite an accomplishment to finish this and then spending so much time in here.”
Warrant Officer 1st Class Adrian Shepherd, who has served with the Commando Helicopter Force (CFO) for 27 years, said: “[Harry] was able to get a good look at what we do and how we operate in these harsh conditions. He saw the amount of training that goes into it and why it is so important that we do this exercise every year.
“It is good for the people out here to see their hard work recognised during a significant year for the exercise.”
Exercise Clockwork has trained over 16,000 Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors and airmen since 1969. Military personnel are taught how to survive, operate and fight in sub-zero conditions and gain experience of operating aircraft in severe cold weather and mountainous environments.