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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Superwoman Pip's green beret test
Pip Tattersall on an assault course wall
Pip Tattersall undergoes her gruelling challenge
The nine-week course passed by Captain Pip Tattersall to win her Royal Marines green beret is regarded as one of the toughest in the world.

Despite two failed attempts, she overcame the physical challenges through sheer determination and drive to become the first woman to wear the coveted beret.

Capt Tattersall moved to Aberdeenshire at the age of two when her father got a job as an engineer in the oil industry.

She was educated at the private Roedean school, near Brighton, where she studied arts and was captain of games, and played lacrosse and hockey for Sussex.

Pip Tattersall on a rope
A rope test had to be overcome

The school said it was "immensely proud" of her achievement and described her as "always determined, feisty and a terrific sports woman".

Head mistress Patricia Metham added: "It is just what we expect of our girls to become world leaders."

In 1993 Capt Tattersall, who has two brothers, took a temporary army commission that gave her a bursary to Chester College, where she studied sports science before entering the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

After officer training she went to Kosovo for six months to teach in a school.

Battle tactics

Capt Tattersall, 27, is currently serving with the 7,000-strong Adjutant General's Corps, based at Worthy Down, near Winchester.

Having completed the nine-week programme she is entitled to wear the green beret with her unit's cap badge.

The gruelling commando course completed by Capt Tattersall begins teaching soldiers to live "in the field".

Marine firing rifle
Marines have to carry out a series of challenges

They learn to navigate by day and night and take on instruction in first aid and communications.

By week three, they are taught close quarter battle tactics, team manoeuvre and battle drills.

The fourth week gives a taste of the tough tests to come.

Soldiers climb 30ft ropes, complete an assault course in less than five minutes and a fireman's carry in under 90 seconds.

Further weeks of tactical and survival training culminate in the finale.

Week eight is a lung-busting, muscle-straining series of commando tests undertaken while carrying 22lbs of webbing and a rifle.

These include:

  • A 2.5-mile cross country run with water and tunnel obstacles followed by a four-mile run back to camp and a shoot on a 25 metre range

  • A nine-mile speed march to be completed in 90 minutes

  • The Tarzan assault course of high ropes and ladders, followed by an assault course ending with a rope climb up a 30ft wall - all to be completed in 13 minutes

  • The 30 mile march - with hopefuls carrying an extra 10lbs of food and water on a yomp across Dartmoor within an eight-hour time limit.

See also:

31 May 02 | Scotland
13 May 02 | England
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