Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Royal Marines

Originally named the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot the Corps of Royal Marines can trace their origins as far back as 28th October 1664. As the first unit of English Naval Infantry they were commonly known as the Admiral’s Regiment because the Duke of York was the Lord High Admiral.

In 1704 approximately 2000 British and 400 Dutch marines attacked the Rock of Gibraltar to prevent Spain from reinforcing the fortress. For their action the Battle Honour ‘Gibraltar’ was bestowed upon the Corps by King George IV who decreed that the word ‘Gibraltar’ should appear as part of their crest in representation of the numerous honours they had earned. To the current day the Royal Marines maintain a close relationship with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps.

Although members of the Corps were soldiers they also undertook the duties of sailors and as such played a big part in establishing the British Empire. The motto of the Royal Marines, ‘Per Mare Per Terram’ which translates as ‘By Sea By Land’, is believed to have been used for the first time at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775 during the Siege of Boston in the American Revolutionary War and reflects the Royal Marines ability to fight both at sea and ashore. It is little known that in 1805 nearly 3,000 marines took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.

In the early 1900’s all vessels classed as destroyers and above in the Royal Navy had a Royal Marine detachment embarked as part of the ships company and at least one of the main gun turrets, and secondary armament, was manned by the detachment.

Read on! However, if you are interested in joining the Royal Marines see our articles on joining information Am I Eligible to join the Royal Marines?

World War I

During WWI Royal Marines took part in the April 1915 ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) amphibious assault of Gallipoli and in April 1918 the Royal Marines led the Zeebrugge Harbour Raid that successfully blocked the harbour entrance for the final months of the war.

Demobilisation after WWI saw the Corps reduced in strength from 55,000 to approximately 15,000 – with even talk of the Corps being entirely disbanded! Eventually reduced to an establishment of 9,500 it was impossible for the Corps to retain two separate branches - Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) and the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI). As a consequence both branches were amalgamated in June 1923 to form the Corps of Royal Marines with the respective ranks of Gunner and Private being replaced by that of Marine.

World War II

WWII saw a resurgence in the Royal Marines with over 80,000 members eventually serving on land and at sea with 40 Commando being the first commando unit to be raised and eventually taking part in the infamous Canadian led raid on Dieppe in August 1942. Because of the success of earlier operations the Marine Division was disbanded in late 1942 and reorganised into eight commandos. In March 1944 the 4th Special Service Brigade was formed from Royal Marine units but in early December 1944 was re-titled 4th Commando Brigade – to ‘rid’ it of the title Special Service which was being compared with the German SS. Similarly the 1st Special Service Brigade was renamed the 1st Commando Brigade at the same time.

On D-Day, 6th June 1944, Royal Marine Commando units of 4th Special Service Brigade, comprising 41, 46, 47 & 48 Commandos, took part in the landings on Sword, Juno and Gold Beaches with the 1st Special Service Brigade – commanded by Brigadier The Lord Lovat - consisting of 3, 4, 6 & 45 Commandos landing at Ouistreham on the extreme easterly flank of the D-Day landing zones. It is estimated that in total some 16,000 members of The Corps were involved in Operation ‘OVERLORD’. At the time of the D-Day landings 40 Commando were operating with the 8th Army in Italy.

The 3rd Special Service Brigade, comprising 1, 5, 42 & 45 Commandos, was formed in 1943 and deployed to the Far East on operations in the war against Japan. As occurred with the 1st & 4th Special Service Brigades the 3rd Brigade was renamed 3rd Commando Brigade in early December 1944. In January 1945 3 Commando Brigade were involved in securing the Myebon Peninsula and Kangaw before moving to India to prepare for the amphibious assault of Malaya, but, with the Japanese surrender the Brigade was diverted to Hong Kong to secure the colony.

In 1946 the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the Commando role. There are still Army elements serving with the Royal Marines in a supporting role.

All personnel, with very few exceptions, have completed either the Commando Course at the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone or for Army ranks, the All Arms Commando Course.

Completion of either of these courses entitles the individual to wear the coveted Green Beret.

Have you got what it takes to become a royal marine?

If you are interested in the Royal Marines see below for our comprehensive list on all the current brigades, and we also have a section illustrating the current Ranks in the Royal Marines. So click on the link and have a look.

3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines (3 CDO BDE RM) Units

40 Commando Royal Marines

42 Commando Royal Marines

45 Commando Royal Marines

30 Commando IX (Information Exploitation) Group Royal Marines

Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (FPGRM)

539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines

Commando Logistics Regiment

Attached Army Units Under Command of 3 Commando Brigade

Commando units not under command of 3 Commando Brigade RM

Royal Marines Non-Commissioned Officer Rank Structure

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