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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Woman fails commando test
Surgeon Lieutenant Katy Bray
Lieutenant Katy Bray is a running champion
A Royal Navy surgeon from Cornwall has failed in her attempt to become the first woman to win the coveted commando green beret.

Lieutenant Katy Bray, 26, failed the battle physical test in the fifth week of the eight-week course at the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, east Devon.

But Lieutenant Bray, from Truro, has the chance to re-take the Royal Marines all-arms commando course, regarded as the toughest of its kind in the world.

Another officer, Captain Pip Tattersal from Tarland in Aberdeenshire - who has twice failed the course - rejoined last week in a final attempt to win a green beret.

Captain Pip Tattersall
Captain Tattersall came close to success
If Captain Tattersal succeeds she will be entitled to wear the beret, although she will not be allowed to serve as a front-line commando.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon is expected to announce later this month, following a study considering a change in the rules, that women will remain barred from applying for front line jobs in the infantry.

Women who pass the commando all-arms course will be able to work in a combat support role.

Two other female soldiers, Captain Claire Philips, 28, and Lance Corporal Joanna Perry, both of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, have also attempted but failed the course.

The course includes a one-and-a-half-miles cross country endurance course with obstacles, followed by a four mile run back to camp and a shoot on a 25-metre range.

Then comes a nine-mile speed march, the confidence-testing Tarzan course, and the assault course - which ends with a rope climb up a 30-foot wall.

Finally candidates face the lung bursting 30-mile march across the wilds of Dartmoor, carrying weapon, equipment food and water.

Those who complete the course are handed their green berets at the end.

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