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

Yomp is Royal Marines slang describing a long-distance loaded march carrying full kit. It was popularized by journalistic coverage in 1982 during the Falklands War. The origin of the word is unclear, and there is no evidence to suggest that it derives originally from an acronym. Various backronymic definitions have however been proposed, including “young officers marching pace”, "your own marching pace" and a connection with the term yump used in rally-driving in the sense of "to leave the ground when taking a crest at speed", apparently a Scandinavian pronunciation of jump.[1]

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-pound (36 kg)[3] loads. They were supposed to be transported by helicopters, but after the Atlantic Conveyor, which carried the helicopters, was sunk by Argentinian Exocet missiles on 25 May, the soldiers had to march across the island.


British Army slang for the same concept is "tab", of equally unknown origin. (One suggestion would interpret it as an acronym of Tactical Advance to Battle.[4])

US Military slang for this concept is to "ruck" (from the "rucksack" being carried) or to "hump" from the phrase "humping a pack".[citation needed]

The Yomper[edit]

The image of "the Yomper" became one of the iconic images of the Falklands War. 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 as the Royal Marines proceeded along the Moody Brook track towards Stanley.[5]

"The Yomper", Royal Marines Museum

When news of the surrender of Argentine forces was received, Marine Trev Gillingham produced a small Union bunting flag from his bergen ("proffed" (as in the 'acquisition of military resources') from SS Canberra's bunting locker). Marine Gillingham first tied the flag to Corporal Robinson's radio aerial, which eventually blew off. It was then fixed with masking tape to the radio aerial of Corporal Robinson (who was the last man in the patrol). The photograph itself was entirely spontaneous and not staged. The original Union Flag remains in Corporal Robinson's possession.

The image was used as the inspiration of a statue that was unveiled by Margaret Thatcher on 8 July 1992 on the 10th anniversary of the conflict.[6] It now adorns the entrance to the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea.

In popular culture[edit]

In games[edit]

In literature[edit]

  • In Raynor Winn's "The Salt Path" (2018) "yompers" are encountered during the course of walking "the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset" in England.[8]
  • In Charlie Higson's second novel in The Enemy series, titled The Dead (2010), Bam tells Greg, "I grew up in the country, you see, always out yomping 'round the fields."[9]
  • In Robert Westall's novel Urn Burial (1987), the main character Ralph wonders, “if they’d felt as lonely as this, yomping to Port Stanley...”[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ayto, John (2006). Movers And Shakers: A Chronology of Words That Shaped Our Age. Oxford University Press. p. 225.
  2. ^ Freedman, Lawrence (1990). "The Bridgehead and Beyond". Signals of War, the Falklands Conflict of 1982. London: Faber and Faber: Chapter 21. ISBN 978-0-571-14116-6. "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."
  3. ^ Bernard Fitzsimons (Editor) (1987). Modern Land Combat. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85501-165-6.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "TAB". Acronym Finder.
  5. ^ "Memorials and Monuments in the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth (The Yomper)" (ISO-8859-1). 20 December 2006.
  6. ^ "Memorials and Monuments in the Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth (The Yomper)" (ISO-8859-1). 20 December 2006.
  7. ^ "Yomp - World of Spectrum". Sinclair Infoseek. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Winn, Raynor (22 March 2018). The Salt Path. ISBN 978-0241349649.
  9. ^ Higson, Charlie (2010). The Dead. Puffin Books. p. 5 of 6, Chapter 25.
  10. ^ Westall, Robert (1987). Urn Burial. Mammoth. p. 179 of 248.


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