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Tribute plan for tragic stunt death Marine

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

  • Captain Antony Easterbrook died during a stunt in 1960

  • Captain Antony Easterbrook, wearing a bowler hat, was supposed to somersault on to a rope slide and descend one-handed to the ground, before saluting the 10,000-strong crowd at New York's Maddison Square Gardens with his umbrella. But a fastener on his safety harness came loose and Captain Easterbrook fell to his death, leaving the audience in shock

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It is more than half a century since what was intended to be a quintessentially British piece of theatre staged by Royal Marine commandos turned a public display into a tragedy.

As part of the 1960 British Military Tattoo, Captain Antony Easterbrook, dressed in a suit and wearing a bowler hat, was supposed to somersault on to a rope slide and descend one-handed to the ground, delighting the United States audience.

And just as had been meticulously practised in training, he would salute the 10,000-strong crowd at New York's Maddison Square Gardens with his umbrella before being served a gin and tonic at the bottom and then strolling casually away. But a fastener on his safety harness came loose and Captain Easterbrook fell to his death, leaving the audience in shock.

A tribute to the Torquay-born marine was created at the Commando Training Centre's sports pavilion, at the base in Lympstone, outside Exeter.

But the photo and inscription is now in need of repair and as the Royal Marines celebrate 350 years in 2014, supporters want to create a new lasting memorial to the fallen colleague.

Shortly before the accident he was interviewed by a New York journalist and asked why he had wanted to join the Royal Marines.

"I wanted excitement, varied work, and comradeship," he told the reporter. "By nature I think I'm adventurous, and I know I've always been disobedient. The marines could satisfy the first and cure the second."

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