Two former Royal Marines are recreating the recruiting tours of two hundred years ago, but this time travelling around Devon in a Land Rover to promote a charity.

Old comrades Clive Richards and Keith Christopher will tour the county from Tuesday, December 3 until December 7 in a 42-year-old soft top land Rover with the aim of recruiting volunteers for armed forces charity SSAFA.

It harks back to the days of the Napoleonic War when recruiting parties would visit towns and villages where they would bang on a drum to gain attention, then liberally distribute gin and the 'King's shilling' to eager young men who were prepared to join the colours.

Clive and Keith will spend five days 'in the field' and be travelling through North Devon on Friday, December 6, parking up at the Rose Lane Tesco store at Whiddon Valley in Barnstaple from 10am to 11am.

They are happy to talk to anyone about the work SSAFA does and what support roles are available in Devon.

They aim to recruit volunteers to help with events and fund-raising, but particularly, case workers, who meet Devon's veterans in need, assess their circumstances, and then source funds to provide the solution.

The pair are both in their 60s and were reunited after 42 years through their work for SSAFA and will be completely self-sufficient during the tour, living on rations and sleeping in bivouacs each night.

Clive said: "We have a drum, a war chest of shillings, (5p in today's money) and miniature bottles of gin which have been generously provided by Findlay Wines of Budleigh Salterton to hand out to people who are willing to give up some of their time to this very worthy cause - I also believe Keith has something he's put aside for us in case it gets a bit cold."

Keith added: "Clive and I first served together when this Land Rover was made back in the Jubilee year of 1977. It's great to be back working together again.

"We are confident that our Land Rover will stand up to the task, especially now that Matford Land Rover and Thrifty Car Hire have kindly arranged to service it for us; it's our bodies I'm worried about."

If anyone would like to support SSAFA even before the tour they are welcome to call 01392 254611 and talk to Claire.

You can also donate to SSAFA by going to .