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File:Heading into Port Stanley.jpg

Heading into Stanley June 1982, The "Yomper," an iconic image of the Falklands War.

Yomp is Royal Marines slang describing a long-distance march carrying full kit. The origin of the word is unclear. It was popularized by journalistic coverage in 1982 during the Falklands War. It has been compared to the term yump used in rally-driving in the sense of "to leave the ground when taking a crest at speed", apparently a variant of jump.[1]

British Army slang for the same thing is 'tab', of equally unknown origin (one suggestion would interpret it as an acronym of Tactical Advance to Battle[citation needed]).

The most famous yomp of recent times was during the 1982 Falklands War. After disembarking from ships at San Carlos on East Falkland, on 21 May 1982, Royal Marines and members of the Parachute Regiment yomped (and tabbed) with their equipment across the islands, covering 56 miles (90 km)[2] in three days carrying 80 pounds (36 kg)[3] loads.

Media coverage of this war saw the term 'yomp' become well known and in general use. A computer game called Yomp was produced by Virgin Games shortly after the Falklands conflict. However, the term has since faded somewhat from general use in the decades since the end of the Falklands war.

The Yomper[edit | edit source]

The image of "the Yomper" became one of the iconic images of the Falklands War.[4][5] The original photograph was taken by Petty Officer Peter Holdgate, Commando Forces Photographer, whilst working as part of the Commando Forces News Team. After landing with 40 Commando at San Carlos, Holdgate accompanied British forces across the Falklands War zone taking hundreds of photographs. The photograph of 24 year old Corporal Peter Robinson was taken in June 1982 as the Royal Marines proceeded along the Moody Brook track towards Port Stanley.[6]

When news of the surrender of Argentine forces was received, Corporal Robinson produced a Union Flag from his pack and attached it to the aerial of his radio with masking tape. The photograph itself was entirely spontaneous and not staged. The image was used as the inspiration of a statue[7] that was unveiled by Lady Margaret Thatcher on 8 July 1992 on the 10th anniversary of the conflict. It now adorns the entrance to the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. John Ayto, Movers And Shakers: A Chronology of Words That Shaped Our Age, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 225.
  2. Chapter 21 The Bridgehead and Beyond: "There were two considerations. First, the distance between Stanley and San Carlos was some 56 miles and given the problems posed by the terrain it would take at least eight days to cover the ground. Movement would be 'under constant enemy fire from the air, in an area without cover, wood, drinking water or means of subsistence'. When his men arrived, worn out by the long trek, they would have to go into immediate action against an enemy well prepared and supported by field artillery." - Lawrence Freedman, Signals of War, The Falklands Conflict of 1982, 1990, Faber and Faber-London, ISBN 978-0-571-14116-6
  3. Modern Land Combat, 1987, editor Bernard Fitzsimons, Salamander Books Ltd., ISBN 978-1-85501-165-6
  4. Rees, Alun (21 April 2007). "Revealed at last: face of Falklands 'yomping' Marine". http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-449891/Revealed-face-Falklands-yomping-Marine.html. 
  5. Dunn, Tom Newton (30 May 2007). "'I was one of the lucky ones'". http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article231207.ece. 
  6. "Memorials and Monuments in the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth (The Yomper)" (ISO-8859-1). 20 December 2006. http://www.memorials.inportsmouth.co.uk/rm-museum/yomper.htm. 
  7. "Memorials and Monuments in the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth (The Yomper)" (ISO-8859-1). 20 December 2006. http://www.memorials.inportsmouth.co.uk/rm-museum/yomper.htm. 

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