Leader comment: Commando spirit shines in Claire Blackman

Every individual who aims to earn a coveted green beret at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone in Devon is immersed in the commando ethos, which is known as the Commando Spirit and calls on all to embody the essential elements of that spirit '“ courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity.

Claire Blackman, the wife of Alexander Blackman, outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London as the Court Martial Appeal Court sentenced him to seven years for the manslaughter of an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Claire Blackman, the wife of Alexander Blackman, outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London as the Court Martial Appeal Court sentenced him to seven years for the manslaughter of an injured Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

These, it is said, are the characteristics which must be found in a commando, and in them there is a source of pride, comradeship and shared experience. One needs all of them to pass the commando tests.

But there can be no greater demonstration of those attributes than that shown by Claire Blackman, the wife of Sergeant Alexander Blackman, the Royal Marine who shot dead a wounded Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan in 2011.

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Sgt Blackman was convicted of murder, but it was obvious that verdict did not take sufficient account of the circumstances surrounding the death including the pressures on Sgt Blackman,

It took courage for Claire Blackman to lead the campaign for justice for her husband, going in to battle against the establishment. It was an unselfish act because it was to put her in the firing line for years to come. And when the first appeal failed in 2014 she showed great determination in continuing the fight until eventually his conviction was reduced to one of manslaughter, and he should now be released from prison in a matter of weeks having served his time.

Mrs Blackman should take great pride in the fact that she has upheld the finest traditions and highest standards of her husband’s elite corps. She has the Commando Spirit.