Tuesday 30 April 2024

2024 A Higher call: Clive Dytor




                           EDUARDO GERDING

This article presents the life of British war veteran Clive Dytor from his commission as a Royal Marine to his conversion to a Catholic priest.


Royal Marine Clive Dytor

Clive Daytor Idris was born in Cardiff (Wales) in 1956, he studied Arabic for 4 years at Trinity College, Cambridge before joining the Royal Marines at the age of 23


                        Bad Ass of the Week: Clive Dytor-


45 Commando is a battalion-sized unit of the British Royal Marines and a subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, a major commando formation, under the operational command of the Fleet Commander.


On January 20, 1987, Dytor married Sarah Payler. 1


As a Royal Marine he participated in the Troubles, the Malvinas Conflict and the Persian Gulf.



The Northern Irish conflict (known as the Troubles and in Irish na Trioblóidi, 'the troubles') was an interethnic nationalist armed conflict in Northern Ireland that caused a large number of deaths during the second half of the 20th century. He faced, on the one hand, the unionists of Northern Ireland (of Protestant religion, majority in the region), in favor of preserving ties with the United Kingdom due to the colonization of Ulster, and on the other hand the Irish republicans, in mostly Catholic and demographically minority, supporters of the territory's integration into the Republic of Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country. Both sides resorted to weapons, and the province sank into a spiral of violence that lasted from October 8, 1968 until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, on April 10, 1998, which laid the foundations for a new government. , in which Catholics and Protestants share power. However, violence continued after this date and still continues occasionally and on a small scale. (Wikipedia)



Dytor at the Battle of Mount Two Sisters 2,3,4

The British force, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Whitehead and consisting of 600 soldiers, consisted of the 45th Commando Battalion of the Royal Marines, supported by the Milan Troop of the 40th Commando Battalion in addition to the support of six 105 mm guns from the 29th Commando Regiment. The 2nd Battalion of the 2 PARA Parachute Regiment was part of the reserve. Naval fire support was provided by two 114 mm guns from the light cruiser HMS Glamorgan (D19). The 45 CDO had recent combat experience, against the Irish Catholic urban guerrilla.


The Mount Infantry Regiment 4 "Cnel. Manuel Fraga" (RI Mte 4) of Lieutenant Colonel Diego Alejandro Soria composed of 678 men occupied the Kent, Challenger and Wall mountains west of the Murrell River, the Low and Twelve 'O' mountains Clock north of Puerto Argentino. Company C of Captain Edgardo Humberto Marpegan, then occupied new positions in Dos Hermanas where the defenders would come to be under the command of Major Ricardo Mario Cordón, second chief of RI 4 with the 1st Platoon Second Lieutenant Miguel Mosquera Gutiérrez and 2nd Platoon Jorge Pérez Grandi stationed around the summit of Dos Hermanas Norte; and the 3rd Platoon, second lieutenant Marcelo Llambías Pravaz, occupying Dos Hermanas Sur and the 1st Platoon of Company A second lieutenant Juan Nazer and the Support Platoon, lieutenant Luis Carlos Martella located in the chair between the two heights. The well-trained troops of Company B 'Piribebuy' of Major Óscar Ramón Jaimet, commando trainer of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment 6 "General Viamonte" RI Mec 6 would be part of the local reserve, occupying anti-tank positions in the rocky valley between the mountains Two Sisters and Longdon, and providing mortar fire support during the battle. 3




On the night of 11/12 June 1982, on Soledad Island, 45 Commando Royal Marines launched a silent night attack against heavily defended Argentine positions on the steep hill of Mount Two Sisters, ten kilometers west of Puerto Argentino.

                               War History Online-  7

                          Night of 11 to 12th June,1982



The forces in combat were: British: 600 men and a light cruiser. Argentines: 300 men. British casualties were 21 killed, 13 on HMS Glamorgan, 50 wounded, 13 on HMS Glamorgan. The Argentine casualties were: 20 dead, 50 wounded and 50 prisoners. 3


Second Lieutenant Jorge Pérez Grandi of RI 4, a member of the Nottingham-Malvinas Group, was wounded by British artillery: a triple exposed fracture in the left leg and right thigh pierced by a large shrapnel. If he did not die at the front it was due to the work of Corporal Nicolas Urbieta (also belonging to the Nottingham-Malvinas Group) and soldier Barroso. Another wonder was the doctors saving his legs.


A firing installation designed and manufactured in Puerto Belgrano, and which was transported to the Malvinas, fired an Exocet missile from land against a ship for the first time in the world. This Argentine invention left HMS Glamorgan out of combat in the last days of the Malvinas War.


Dytor and his men were pinned down for some time, and casualties quickly began to mount.  His ammo was getting low, three Marines were dead, and one more had his leg blown off by a mortar.  When another mortar slams nearby, wounding yet another of Dytor’s guys with flaming chunks of shrapnel. 2


Standing up in full view of his men  and the Argentines Lieutenant Clive Dytor, Royal Marine Commando, ordered his men to fix bayonets and follow him.  Screaming his unit battle cry, “ZULU!!!!!” he locked a fucking bayonet on the end of his FAL L1A1 service rifle and started running full fucking speed uphill towards the enemy firing his gun from the hip Schwarzenegger-style.  As he ran ahead, oblivious to a hail of .50-caliber machine gun bullets whizzing around him in every direction, he managed to make out a very British scream of confidence from one of his hardened sergeants:

 “Get your fucking head down, you stupid bastard!”

 But Clive Dytor did not get his head down.  He ran like a bat out of hell, firing indiscriminately into the darkness, bayonet at the ready, straight towards the machine gun nest.  When he reached it, he dove in, gun at the ready, bayonetting, swinging, and shooting. 

It was only at this point that he realized his men were right there with him.   7

The Royal Marine Commandos, attacking an almost impossible situation, ran from trench to trench, fighting with tooth and nail, using everything from grenades and rifles to claw their way through enemy positions.

The Argentinians fought heroically .

                Lieutenant Clive Dytor Royal Marine


The only thought going through my head was to get the advance moving again and to try to regain the forward momentum: the idea of being killed didn’t enter my mind. I did what any well-trained infantry officer would have done.  2


Eight Royal Marines were killed, and 17 more were wounded (including a naval artillery attaché officer) in the fighting on the slopes of Mount Two Sisters.  ( All three companies then fought brisk battles on their objectives, suffering eight killed and seventeen wounded in the process." Jigsaw Puzzles: Tactical Intelligence in the Falklands Campaign, Giles Orpen-Smellie, Amberley Publishing Limited, 2022)

The Military Cross is awarded for acts of exemplary courage during active operations against the enemy on land, to captains or lower-ranking officers up to the rank of non-commissioned officer. 9


Clive Daytor experienced savage combat and saw his fellow Royal Marines die, but for him the worst were the seemingly endless days aboard the troopship HMS Intrepid, exposed and vulnerable in San Carlos Bay in what became known like “bomb alley” 8

A young sailor asked Dytor, "What happens if they hit us, sir?" There was no point lying to him. He told him: Well, we will all die. Everyone laughed. He told him: My friend, there is no way out of here. The Exocet is going to hit you on top of your bed and that's the end. The last thing you will hear will be a bang. 8

Entry into the Anglican Church of England 6

Dytor was educated at Christ College, Brecon where he was a prefect. He was a well-regarded person for his work ethic, sense of humor and slight eccentricities. At Christ College academic and sporting effort was rewarded. During his time at Trinity College, Cambridge he played rugby in the College 1st XV and was able to ensure an abundant display of daffodils on St David's Day (patron saint of Wales).

When he completed his service with the Royal Marines four years after the Conflict, he trained to enter the Church of England as a priest at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and became chaplain of Tonbridge School. 1


Wycliffe Hall is a permanent private hall at the University of Oxford affiliated with the Church of England. It is named after the Bible translator and reformer John Wycliffe, who was master of Balliol College, Oxford in the 14th century.

Tonbridge School is a public school (boarding and day school) for children aged 13 to 18 in Tonbridge, Kent, England founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judde. He is a member of the Eton group and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest livery companies in London.

The spiritual head of the Church of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is also Presiding Bishop of all England and Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury.

The British monarch (currently Charles III) holds the constitutional title of “Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”


The Church of England has a legislative body, the General Synod. Synod resolutions must be approved (but not amended) by the UK Parliament before receiving royal assent and becoming part of English law.

 In this regard, Dytor says:

I joined the Royal Marines but ultimately what I wanted was to join the Church. It wasn't a post-combat conversion but it acted as a contributing factor. Any seismic experience has an effect on you. When I broke my leg I had time to think and evaluate. I had a lot of action in my life but after the injury I was physically incapacitated and then I realized that I had spent a lot of time as a man of action. I needed time to reflect and that changed my interior life and led me to think about the Church. 8


Clive Dytor’s conversion to Catholicism

For Clive Dytor, conversion to Catholicism was another moment of decision. Looking back, Dytor thinks the process began in divinity school when he read John Henry Newman's biography describing his spiritual journey from the Church of England to Rome. 8

 But there were several impediments: Clive Claytor was 63 years old, married with children, with a history of having served in the Royal Marines and also belonged to the Anglican Church.

 To do this, he requested a Papal dispensation that lasted 9 months and was signed by the Pope himself. A papal dispensation is a decision within the prerogatives of the pope by which he allows individuals to be exempted from a particular law of canon law.

He finally entered the Catholic Church in 1994. He had to study new subjects such as canon law, bioethics and other specific Catholic studies but he enjoyed it. He took an oral and written exam.

 Clive Daytor joined St. Teresa's Church in Charlbury as a deacon awaiting appointment to the priesthood. Meanwhile, he was in charge of baptisms, marriages and deaths. eleven

Finally, on Friday 12 September 2020 he was appointed parish priest by the Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley at Holy Trinity, Chipping Norton and St. Teresa, Charlbury. 5,10,12


In 1931, there was a former Methodist chapel in Charlbury built in 1854 which had served the Salvation Army. It was purchased for £100 and became the church of St. Therese of Lisieux.

 Today, Dytor instills in his students the virtues of commitment, loyalty and tenacity embodied in the Armed Forces. It teaches them the attitude that things can be done: identify the problem, work on it, and apply the solution.

When asked, he does not talk about his experience in the Malvinas, not even to his wife, with whom he has been married for more than 20 years.


                                   Charlbury in the Cotswold


                                   Charlbury in the Cotswold

Father Clive Dytor blesses reopening of pub Rose & Crown

-April 13, 2021.                                                    



 1-Achetron-The Free Social Encyclopedia-Clive Dytor-


 2-Bad Ass of the Week: Clive Dytor-


 3-Batalla del Monte Dos Hermanas-Wikipedia.


 4-Commando Veterans Archive-Dytor Clive Idris-


 5-Charlbury in the Cotswold-News-Rev Fr Clive Dytor to be inducted as Catholic priest of Chipping Norton and Charlbury. May 11,2023.


  6-Iglesia de Inglaterra-Wikipedia


  7-Knighton, Andrew-Clive Dytor´s Battle-Winning Bayonet Charge in the Falklands War-War History Online,Oct 7,2018.


 8-Maidment, Jack-Falklands war hero explains why he entered the church after being awarded the Military Cross. The Telegraph-25 March 2012.

 9-Military Cross-The Gazette-



10-Ordenation of Clive Dytor by the Most Reverend Archbishop Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and Metropolitan, Saturday 12,September 2020


  11-Rice,Liam-New Catholic priest in Oxfordshire was formerly in Royal Marines-Oxford Mail-April 20th,2020.


 12-The Archidiocese of Birmingham-Four priests ordained in september 2020.