Salute the Modern-day Commando
"The war's real to the Navy," he was heard to murmur, "so it must be to the Army." In that moment the Commandos were born. It was 4th June 1940, when Lieutenant-Colonel Dudley Clarke (Royal Artillery) conceived the Commando inspiration. From that moment till the 4th May 1945, when World War II, was declared over by Germany, it was 1,799 days, 30 less than five years of fighting, which the Commandos had mastered so well.
These are some of the stories of the Royal Marines and Army Commandos, who had fought so gallantly, often, side by side, at one hundred and forty-seven actions.
The Commando Soldier had reached the highest pitch of efficiency; battle experience combined with intensive, tough training had produced a human military machine as perfect as any which history can show.
"Land Forces are nothing, Marines are the only species of troops proper for this nation. A powerful fleet and 30,000 Marines will save us from destruction." (Major General Lloyd. 'The History of the Late War in Germany' 1779.)
"A very considerable corps of Marines should be kept us, and I hope to see the day when there is not another foot-soldier in the Kingdom, in Ireland or in the Colonies." (Admiral Lord St Vincent. Letter to Lord Spenser, 30 June 1779.)
In 1803, Napoleon remarked of the Corps: "How much might be done with a hundred thousand soldiers such as these."
1864 The Corps 200 year birthday Lord St. Vincent wrote: "Their record is second to none. I have seen them on active service, on police service, in daily routine, and in gales of wind. I have had them with me everywhere, and I tell you there is nothing like The Royal Marines."
Going back to the 1700/1800 period senior naval officers held the
top positions of the Marines; although paid to have these commissions some very rarely got involved with the functions of the Corps. All of these officers went on to be come some of the Royal Navy's and Britain's most famous sailors.
Around this time the General of the Marines was Admiral Alexander Lord Bridport, the Major General being Admiral Alan Lord Gardner, and the two Lieutenant-Generals were Admiral John Jervis, and Admiral Earl St Vincent.
Two men whose fame adorns the annals of British History are Admiral George Rooke the hero of Gibraltar was one; and in 1672 a young soldier of the lowest rank of commissioned officers was promoted to captain in the Maritime Regiment for his services in H.M.S. Royal Prince. This Captain's name was John Churchill, who became the great Duke of Marlborough.
Four Royal Naval Captains held the rank of Colonel of the Marines, the most famous being Captain Horatio Nelson, Other Colonels were Captain Sir Thomas Troubridge, Captain William Domett and Captain Sir Edward Pellew. On 6th August 1965 Lord Mountbatten of Burma was promoted Life Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines.
In the period when King George IV reigned, posters were mounted in public places to attract recruits for the Royal Marines. These posters would display the attractions:
All Dashing High-Spirited - YOUNG HEROES
Who wish to obtain GLORY in the SERVICE of their Country, have now
the finest Opportunity by entering that enterprizing respectable Corps.
THE ROYAL MARINES
Every one must be well aware, that this Honourable Corps, possesses
Advantages superior to any under the Crown. Good Quarters, whilst on
Shore; on Board, plenty of beef, Pudding, and Wine after Dinner. Even these advantages are trifling when compared to the inestimable one
Remember the Galleons; when the Private Marine made sufficient Prize Money to render himself and Family comfortable for Life.
Remember these Times may return, it is impossible to say how soon.
Lose no Time! therefore! in repairing to the head Quarters of the 1st Lieu. H. B. MENDS, of the Plymouth Division of Royal Marines, commanded by Lieu. Gen. BRIGHT, or to Sergeant GREBBLE, at the BLUE BOWL, PITHAY, BRISTOL. Where every attention will be paid to them.
Eleven Guineas Bounty - SEVEN YEARS SERVICE
Sixteen Guineas - UNLIMITED SERVICE
Boys 5 Feet, Eight Guineas, Limited Service. Twelve Pounds, unlimited.
NOW OR NEVER, ENGLAND FOREVER
GOD SAVE the KING
The Royal Navy's greatest sailors; Lord St Vincent, Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson and Lord Mountbatten of Burma, to name just a few; all had Royal Marines in attendance.
The Fighting Soldier is the Centrepiece of all Combat; for it is He whom must Bear the Scars and Suffer the Deepest Wounds of War.
The Royal Marine Commandos are the Royal Navy's Regiment of Fighting Soldiers. They are the main topic. I was one of them.