HISTORY was made on Thursday at RMB Chivenor as Royal Engineers marked the creation of the new 24 Commando Engineer Regiment with a formation parade before visiting high ranking dignitaries.

HISTORY was made on Thursday at RMB Chivenor as Royal Engineers marked the creation of the new 24 Commando Engineer Regiment with a formation parade before visiting high ranking dignitaries.

The head of the Royal Navy, Commander in Chief Fleet Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE and other top brass joined the 348 officers and soldiers of the new regiment plus their families and friends to mark the occasion.

In September 24 Commando will leave for a six-month deployment in Afghanistan, where they will continue to provide essential support to the fighting units of 3 Commando Brigade.

The new regiment is made up of 54 Commando Headquarters and Support Squadron RE plus 59 Commando, the previously independent squadron based at Chivenor. It is due to rise to 507 personnel when a third squadron, 56 Commando, is established in the future.

History was made as the final independent RE squadron of the Armed Forces become a regiment and it at last gives 3 Commando the same level of RE support as the rest of the Army.

The Commanding Officer of 24 Commando, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Weeden said it significantly increased the number of personnel at the base:

"It has brought more young soldiers and their families to the area," he said.

"It's fantastic for 24 Commando Regiment, we are making apiece of Royal engineer and Army history today. We all feel honoured and extremely proud to be part of it.

"It's an excellent relief from the hard training we have been doing in preparation for our deployment to Afghanistan."

The parade on Thursday saw Sir Stanhope and fellow officers inspect and speak to the men and women of the regiment, followed by a show from the Royal Engineers Parachute Display Team and a number of interactive demonstrations showing some of the regiment's capabilities.

Speaking before the regiment, Sir Stanhope said he was glad to be witness to such an important occasion:

"The commando engineers enjoy a very strong reputation within both the brigade and the Royal Engineers, with a proud record on operation," he said.

"I am delighted to see this transferred to the parade square today, as they were very impressive.

"It's been a particular delight to see so many families here to share in this event."

When they arrive in Afghanistan, in addition to supporting 3 commando Brigade, the regiment will be involved in training and working alongside the Afghan National Army, as well as working with civilian governors to develop infrastructure and essential services for the Afghan people.