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The beret badge of the Royal Marines (Photo Wayne Bradbury)

April 2022

Object Title: Clothing worn during the 1982 conflict

Object Number: 2013.2-7

To mark the 40th anniversary of the invasion of South Georgia by Argentine troops on the 3 April 1982, our Object of the Month features clothing worn by Bob Ashton during the conflict.  The conflict was a short, undeclared war between Argentina and Britain over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

On 19 March an Argentinian ship on a scrap metal recovery operation, arrived unannounced at Leith Harbour.  As a response to this, HMS Endurance was sent to South Georgia with a detachment of Royal Marines. Their role was to protect 13 civilian scientists working for the British Antarctic Survey and defend the garrison at King Edward Point.

On 3 April, an Argentinian warship entered Cumberland Bay East and attacked King Edward Point. The invasion was one of the first episodes of the Falklands War, immediately succeeding the invasion of the Falkland Islands the day before.

Robert Charles Ashton was one of the 22 Royal Marines, commanded by Lieutenant Keith Mills, who landed on South Georgia. In 2013, Bob donated his full Royal Marines combat uniform to the museum, including the famous green beret, a shirt, jumper, windproof smock, webbing, trousers and boots.

The Royal Marines who fought the battle of Grytviken on the dock at King Edward Point
The combat uniform has a camouflage pattern called Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM), used by the British Armed Forces. It is a four-coloured woodland pattern introduced in 1966. This No.8 Temperate Combat Dress, was introduced for the Royal Marines circa 1972. Each marine was issued with a smock (windproof, Arctic) and trouser (windproof, Arctic). The smock was designed to be long and loose fitting and incorporated a hood, while the trousers had zips to allow them to be put on over boots. DPM has now been phased out in British Military service, superseded by the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP), a six-colour camouflage pattern.
Full Royal Marines combat uniform
Bob’s mark is “RCA” for Robert Charles Ashton
Boot laces










Beret – The colour of the beret shows what regiment the wearer is from. On completion of the Royal Marine All-Arms Commando course, the successful candidate earns the right to wear the green beret.

Windproof smock – Worn with the hood always tied back, zipped and velcroed up with lower popper done up. The end of arms would have been worn closed up with Velcro tab. The large pockets would have been full. In the top left pocket, Bob carried First-Aid field dressing and four ampules of morphine. The top right pocket would have contained a notebook, a pencil and a jacknife (claspknife). The lower pockets held treats such as sweets and chocolate.

Trousers – Worn turned up under with elastics. Again, every pocket would have held a vital item, such a handkerchief. The trousers issued here were jungle trousers, not standard windproof trousers. It was fairly common for non-regulation clothing to be worn.

Boots – These brown leather boots were only issued to Naval Party 8901 and HMS Endurance Marines. Fitted with para-cord (cord nylon braided) laces, the photograph shows them laced correctly. The laces were then wrapped around the top of the boots and tied with a small bow. All of which is hidden under the hosetops.

Webbing – Webbing is a name given to a belt and shoulder harness (yoke) to hold everything a soldier needs to operate for 48 hours. By carrying items in the webbing the soldier is fully prepared should they become separated from their larger bags and supplies. The webbing would have held ammunition, a torch, water, food, emergency medical equipment, map and compass and other essential items.


HMS Endurance sat in Cumberland Bay East
Bob Ashton getting to know the local elephant seals on the shores of Grytviken








The conflict lasted 74 days and cost over 900 lives. The impact of the conflict still resonates today and the 40th anniversary is an opportunity to improve public understanding and remember those that were lost.
Grytviken in 1982
Bob Ashton’s position above King Edward Point, with Grytviken across the bay in the distance
King Edward Point in 1982, looking towards Shackleton House and Hope Cross