Sidmouth defeat Royal Marines, but the company was just as fine as the golf!

Jim Millin

Jim Millin - Credit: Archant

Last week I was privileged to play a round of golf in the company of Jim Millen - war veteran, Captain Jim Millin retired, that is, of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, writes George Carr.

Flown in from Spain, where he spends a great deal of his retirement, especially to play in this annual fixture between The Royal Marines and Sidmouth Golf Club.

Jim, tanned to a ripe walnut colour and even now as lean and as seemingly fit as ever served an astonishing 38 years as a Marine before retiring at the turn of the century.

As a young man, thirty-one years ago, in May 1982, Jim found himself aboard a troopship standing off San Carlos, East Falklands, waiting for the signal to invade. San Carlos taken, there followed the march and battle for Goose Green, fiercely fought over two days against superior numbers; then the long ‘yomp’ to Stanley with 120lb packs plus weapons across the peat bogs of East Falklands where the defended heights of Mount Tumbledown, Mount William and Wireless Ridge awaited Jim and his comrades.

The liberation of Stanley is a matter of history now, but is not difficult to imagine the steady blue eyes that now sweep the sunlit fairways of Sidmouth Golf Club gazing up at the dangerous misted height above Port Stanley.

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Jim, once a ‘single-figure’ golfer was a member at Sidmouth for 27 years when he could be spared during his service to the colours; his scots burr softly-spoken as ever, he is bearded now with all the appearance of a grizzled veteran, which indeed he is, and it was great pleasure to play with him once more.

The visiting Royal Marines team came in all ages, some long retired, but most were still serving and some, indeed, just back from tours of duty in foreign fields.

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They had, all these men, one thing in common; a certain ‘presence’ that is hard to describe and, also, a self assurance that goes with hard military training and self discipline, however long ago that may have been; it occurs to me that while the Sidmouth golf team won narrowly on the day (courtesy of home advantage) we could have defeated them at precious little else I’m sure.

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