RMA – The Royal Marines Charity strives to give Royal Marines and their families support throughout their lifetime. Whether support is needed early in their career or if the need comes later in life, we will be there.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of ensuring the wellbeing of our vulnerable members became imperative.
When the Charity received an application for help on behalf of long-standing RMA member and President of the Chelmsford & District Branch, Cecil ‘Chuck’ Harris, the Membership and Health & Wellbeing teams were quick to respond.
Chuck, a WW2 veteran, who fought with 47 Commando in Normandy and Walcheren landings in 1944, needed a rising chair to enable him to continue living independently.
Initially, Chuck tried to enlist in the Navy but was informed the Royal Marines was a better option, he began his training at Eastney Barracks and was posted to what is now CTCRM. He deployed to South Africa, Aden and then Egypt where he joined the ‘Long Range Desert Group’ before returning to Egypt to prepare for the invasion of Sicily. Chuck suffered a shrapnel injury whilst in Sicily and came back to the UK to recover.
Once fully fit he volunteered for Commando training at Achnacarry and on his 21st birthday joined the unit to start training. In 1944 47 Commando prepared trucks for the invasion of Normandy.
He “acquired” a German MP38 and with that, a Commando knife and his green beret he joined the remainder of the 47 RM Cdo men. He received another shrapnel injury to his wrist whilst reaching for his pipe. The Doctor who treated him reminded him “smoking is bad for your health young man!”
After the war Chuck went on to join the London Police, he was shot during his service in the side and arm, after which he went on to specialise in Police Radios. His astounding career went on to include escorting Royal Family members and state funerals, including Winston Churchill’s funeral, Queen Elizabeth’s Wedding and Coronation and many more.
When Chuck retired in 1972 his life became dedicated to the Veteran community, namely that of 47 Commando Association and the recently disbanded 47 Charity. As Veteran President, he travels each year to all 47 Commando Commemorations.
The Charity was honoured to be able to award this grant to someone that has given so much to the RMA community, not only through his service but through his continued diligence to those in the Association, attendance of events, and willingness to go above and beyond.
We have received this message from Chuck’s eldest daughter, Pat.
“On behalf of Dad (Chuck) and the rest of the Harris clan, may I thank you.”