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Monday, 4 June, 2001, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
Woman fails commando course
Capt Pip Tattersall
Capt Pip Tattersall nearly made it to the end
An Army captain hoping to become the first female to win the Royal Marines green beret has stumbled at the final hurdle, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Monday.

Captain Pip Tattersall, 26, joined the All Arms Commando Course at Lympstone, Devon, on 26 May along with two other hopeful female recruits.

Captain Tattersall is an extremely competitive individual

Brigadier Andy Pillar

Captain Claire Philips, 28, and Lance Corporal Joanna Perry, 29, both dropped out in the earlier stages of the eight-week course, leaving Capt Tattersall to battle on alone.

The captain from the Adjutant General's Corps, had a chance of making military history by being the first woman to win the commando knife and coveted green beret.

But despite having completed almost seven weeks of the eight-week course - considered one of the toughest in the world - it emerged on Monday that she had failed at the eleventh hour.

An MoD spokeswoman said that Capt Tattersall had been withdrawn from the course after failing to pass the final exercise of the course in Scotland.

'Specialist skills needed'

"She was fine on the physical side, but she didn't achieve the specific and operationally necessary standards of military skills required to carry out a specialised role within 3 Commando Brigade," said the spokeswoman.
Recruits on Royal Marines course
The All Arms Course is one of the toughest in the world

Brigadier Andy Pillar, Commandant of the Commando Training Centre, said: "From the outset it was apparent that Captain Tattersall is an extremely competitive individual who had prepared thoroughly for the physical challenges of the course.

"Regrettably she has not responded as well to the equally vital requirements of field training elements of the course."

He said that two other male ranks had also failed the final exercise, adding that all three would be eligible to attempt the course again if they so wished.

Gruelling tests

The Army says nearly half of all the recruits are expected to drop out or be dismissed before completing the commando course.

So far, 38 remain of the 63 who initially joined the course.

Applicants have to successfully tackle a nine-mile speed march, scale a 30ft wall and sprint 217 yards carrying another trainee in a fireman's lift.

Together with a range of assault courses, survival training and physical endurance tests, the course includes a 30-mile march wearing a full pack across Dartmoor which must be completed in eight hours.

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