A FORMER Neyland cricketer has become one of the youngest ever fully commissioned officers in the Royal Marine Commandos.

Twenty-year-old Jack PG Richards was the youngest out of 33 officers to successfully complete a 64-week officer training course at Royal Marine Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, Devon.

Jack, who still has family in Pembrokeshire, attended Sir Thomas Picton School and played cricket for Pembrokeshire and Neyland.

After leaving Sir Thomas Picton School in 2007, Jack was awarded a cricket scholarship at St. Joseph’s College Ipswich. When two Royal Marine Commandos visited the school in 2010, he made a decision to join the force.

A notoriously difficult entry programme, Jack’s training schedule included interviews, psychometric testing, fitness tests, and exhausting all-terrain treks Dartmoor carrying loads up to 70lbs in weight.

Jack has followed in the footsteps of his mum and dad, Elizabeth and Graham, who both joined the Navy straight from school, and his late Granddad, Peter Halliday, who reached the rank of WO1 after serving in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy for 37 years.

Graham said all of his family is immensely proud of Jack’s achievement so far.

“I believe that he is a real example that if focus, desire and self-belief are at the forefront of your character, age is not a hurdle to fulfilling ambition,” said Graham.

“He lives his life by constantly reminding himself to never ever give up and to always be true to himself because the mirror never lies.”

He added that Jack was indebted to his Uncle John Halliday for supporting him in his final years of school and for presenting him with his ceremonial sword.

On Monday, December 16, Jack took up his first duty as a Troop Commander of 28 Marines in 10 Troop, Mike Company, 42 Commando, Royal Marines, at Bickleigh Barracks near Plymouth.