Britain's Royal Marine Corps, who played a leading part in the original settlement of the Falkland Islands and their recapture from Argentine military occupation in 1982, have a new Commandant General, Major General R.A. Fry, MBE, who recently returned to the United Kingdom from active service in Kosovo.
Major General Fry had an unconventional start to professional life for a Royal Marine. Before joining the forces in 1973, he took a degree in economics at Bath University and worked for a period in commerce in New York. He later gained a Master of Arts Degree in War Studies.
His early career was spent largely at Regimental and Special Duties. He commanded, successively, rifle troop, a Special Duties detachment and a rifle company on operations in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, and exercises throughout Europe and North America. During this period he was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the MBE.
In 1981 Brigadier Fry joined the Officers' Training Wing at the Commando Training Centre and became course officer for two Young Officer Batches. Attendance at the Army Staff College, Camberley in 1983/84 was followed by tours in the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in London (1985/86) and the Directorate of Special Forces (1987/89).
This sequence of staff jobs was punctuated in the 1986/87 academic year by a MA (distinction) in War Studies at King's College, London where he conducted research into war planning, 1910-14.
In 1989, Brigadier Fry was appointed Chief of Staff, HQ 3 Commando Brigade and took part in Operation HAVEN in Northern Iraq where he was awarded a Joint Commander's commendation. This was followed by a return to the MOD and jobs in the Directorate of Naval Plans and Operations Requirement (Sea) at desk and Assistant Director level, before taking command of 45 Commando Group in 1995. In the following two years the Commando Group exercised world-wide, in temperate, jungle, desert and arctic warfare environments.
In 1997, in the rank of Brigadier, he became Director Naval Staff in the MOD at a time which coincided with the conduct of the Strategic Defence Review and continued in that post until October 1999. During this period, he won the US Naval Institute's International Essay Prize. In 1999 he assumed command of 3 Commando Brigade and deployed to Kosovo in August 2000 where he was the Commander of the Multi National Brigade (Centre).
Brigadier Fry was promoted Major General and took up the appointment of Commandant General Royal Marines this month (March 2001) He is married and has two daug