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PHOTOS: South West Marines Take On Antarctica Expedition

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3:47pm 6th January 2016

 Three South West marines are taking part in an Antarctic expedition.

A team of Naval adventurers are embarking on the journey of a lifetime that will test their grit, determination and leadership as they follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

They are from Penzance, Falmouth and Plymouth.

Departing in mid January, 11 Service participants from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will undertake a six week expedition to the Antarctic and South Georgia - a century after Shackleton's extraordinary recovery from the Weddell Sea.

The aim of Exercise Antarctic Endurance (AE16) is to inspire a new generation of sailors and marines to seek adventure but will also provide the Navy and Ministry of Defence with research into team dynamics and leadership.

On the team is highly experienced Royal Marines Mountain Leader Sergeant Matt Hoey from Plymouth.

The 34 year old father of two has experience in all weather conditions and is an expert in Arctic and mountainous environments.

He said: "This expedition is going to be a quality experience in an extreme environment. It will be an opportunity to push ourselves and also build relationships with like minded people - it is the trip of a lifetime."

The journey will begin and end in the Falklands having travelled through the Weddell Sea, landed on the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, and Elephant Island, before sending a team overland from King Haakon Bay to Stromness, in South Georgia - the same route travelled by Shackleton and his companions 100 years ago.

Along with research into team dynamics and leadership; data will also be collected on climate, environment and hydrography on behalf of British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge and Plymouth Universities and the UK Hydrographic Office.

The 11 Service participants are made up of qualified and experienced sailors and mountaineers, with six of them in the first five years of their careers.

Sgt Hoey comes from a military family with both parents having served in the Army which helped instil a sense of adventure with Matt having now climbed mountains in the Alps, Alaska and the Himalayas.

In his career, Sgt Hoey has also seen service in Northern Ireland, Sierra Leon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now serving at 40 Commando in Taunton, Sgt Hoey, added: "Ive served, and trained, around the world; I've climbed to heights of over 6,000m in some fantastic locations but travelling to Antarctica is a new venture.

"It's certainly going to be a challenge but I think we have a strong, confident, well trained team, with a number of unique skills, so I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead."

3:47pm 6th January 2016

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