Royal Marines History 1

Part 1 of Royal Marines History

“There is nothing like The Royal Marines”

The previous page was: "Royal Marines Reserve"

Royal Marines History 1: The first Royal Marines were originally formed on 28th October 1664 when Charles II sanctioned the formation of a Regiment for Sea Service, to be known as The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot, otherwise known as ‘The Admiral’s Regiment,’ The Duke was The Lord High Admiral of England from 1660 to 1673.

Before that ‘Sir Francis Drake’ had regularly used soldiers at sea; he used them as snipers in the rigging of his ships. They were very effective snipers who shot and killed the enemy officers or to prevent the men from loading their cannons.

1667 in July the Corps fought its first recorded land battle. Where 1,500 Dutch Marines attacked the Landguard Fort, Felixstowe. Captain Nathaniel Darrell and 400 Members of the Admiral's Regiment successfully defended the fort with one killed and he himself with a slight shoulder injury.

1670 on the 24th Setember Major Darrell of the Admirals Regiment was appointed Governor of Sheerness. (The name Darrell, Darell and Dorrel over time has been used with alternative spelling)

In 1672, a young ensign was promoted to be a captain in the Maritime Regiment for his services in H.M.S. Royal Prince. His name was John Churchill, and he became the great Duke of Marlborough, his descendant was Sir Winston Churchill.

1672 The word "Marine" first appeared in documents and gradually evolved to Royal Marine.

1685 the admiral’s regiment became known as ‘The Prince’s Regiment’

1690 they were built up and became known as the ‘Two Marine Regiments of foot soldiers’. Lord Thorrington's 1st Regiment of Marines and The Earl of Pembroke's 2nd Regiment of Marines. They both wore different uniforms.

1690 The Battle of Beachy Head was a naval engagement fought on 10 July 1690, during the Nine Years' War. The battle was the greatest French tactical naval victory over their English and Dutch opponents during the war. England's crushing defeat by France, became the catalyst to Britain rebuilding itself as a global power.

England had no choice but to build a powerful navy; as there were no funds available, in 1694, a private institution, the Bank of England, was set up to supply money to the King. £1.2m was raised in twelve days; half of this was used to rebuild the Navy.

As a side-effect, the huge industrial effort needed started to transform the economy, from iron works making nails to agriculture feeding the quadrupled strength of the Royal Navy. This helped the new United Kingdom to become prosperous and powerful. Together with the power of the navy, this made Britain the dominant world power in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

1698 they were built up until there were ‘Four Regiments of Foot’.

Royal Marines Reserve

1694 Marines Guns

Were involved in the bombardment of Dieppe

1704 The Marines played a prominent roll in the Capture of Gibraltar. Sir George Rooke took possession of the great Rock of Gibraltar, thereby winning "An Immortal Honour".

1710 16th January, British Marines were landed from ships and succeeded in capturing Annapolis Royal; formerly French Port Royal, finally for the last time from the French at the 1710, Siege of Port Royal during Queen Anne's War. To mark the British conquest of mainland Nova Scotia, the British renamed the town Annapolis Royal after Queen Anne (1665–1714), the reigning monarch.

The name was formed by combining the queen's name 'Anne' with that of 'polis' the Greek word for city and taking part of the former French name Port-'Royal. The Annapolis Basin, Annapolis River and the Annapolis Valley all take their name from the town. Annapolis Royal remained in British hands for the remainder of the war.

1713 they were again built up until there were ‘Six Regiments of Marines’.

1714 they became recognised as ‘Four Companies of Invalids of Marines’.

1739 groups were formed the first was ‘Six Regiments of Marines’

1740 there were another ‘Four Regiments of Marines’.

1747 The Fouled Anchor the Badge of the Lord High Admiral was awarded to the Marines.

1748. A branch known as:

‘Gooche’s Marines’ was established

1748 Aix-la-Chapelle peace reigned for seven years.

1755 after re-formation they were recognised as ‘The Marines’.

1759 13th February Lt Col Rycaut landed with 800 marines to participate in the taking of the island of Guadaloupe.

1759 1st May known as the 'Battle of Guadaloupe' 270 Marines formed part of the force, which captured Manilla in the Philippines. Lt Col Rycaut was in command of the successful assault. He accepted the surrender of the rich French Jewel.

1759 13th September the Marines were involved in the seven year war in Quebec.

1761 While the British Fleet was blocking Brest. In a gallant display the Marines seized Belle Isle as an advanced base; where later it was called a combined operation.

The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17th 1775. The British had taken the ground but at a great loss; they suffered 1,054 casualties (226 dead and 828 wounded), with a disproportionate number of these officers. The casualty count was the highest suffered by the British in any single encounter during the entire war.

British dead and wounded included 100 commissioned officers, a significant portion of the British officer corps in North America. Much of General Howe's field staff was among the casualties including Major Pitcairn of the Marines who had been killed.

1775 The Corps motto

"Per Mare Per Terram" first used

1780 16th January. Admiral Rodney's action off St. Vincent, where he spotted 11 Spanish warships and gave chase with his fleet where six were captured. This was the first Naval action to be fought at night, and resulted in the pressure on Gibraltar being eased. This is known as "The Moonlight Battle".

1780 12th May. The surrender of Charles Town USA to Regiments of Marines.

1794 In June Admiral Alan Lord Gardener was appointed holder of the title of Major General of Marines. 1795 Captain Nelson was appointed holder of the title Colonel of Marines

1779 17th October the Storming of Omah.

1799 16th March the defence of Acre commenced.

1799 18th March Marines on board 'Telegraph' boarded and captured the French Ship l'Hirondelle at Brittany.

1799 7th April Major John Douglas and acting Lt John Wesley Writes Marines led a sortie from Acre to destroy a mine under the walls of that town. H.M.S. Theseus covered the Operation.

1799 8th may they were involved in heavy fighting in the defence of the Breach at St Jean D'Acre.

1799 11th July Marines were successful in the Seige of Fort St. Elmo, Naples.

1800 Admiral Alexander Lord Bridport was appointed title holder General of Marines and Admiral John Jervis was appointed title holder Lieutenant General Marines.

29th April 1802 King George III

Granted the Marines "Royal"

29th April 1802 King George III granted the Marines the style of "Royal" and "in consideration of their very meritorious service during the late war". They were granted the distinction of the Crown and Crowned Lion to show that the Marines are a Royal Corps. That was when they became know as ‘The Royal Marines’.

In 1803, Napoleon remarked of the Corps: ‘How much might be done with a hundred thousand soldiers such as these’

18th August 1804 the ‘First Artillery Company RM’ was formed one per division. Whilst at the same time ‘The Royal Marines (light Infantry)’ were assembled.

14th January 1809 Captain James Lucas Yeo Royal Marines and Portuguese troops were involved in the taking of Cayenne in French Guiana.

24th February 1809 The capture of Martinique by Lt General George Beckwith RM.

In June 1809, Lord George Stuart placed Commander William Goate of "Musquito" in command of a small force consisting of "Musquito" the two Cherokee class brig-sloops "Briseis" under the command of Robert Pettet and "Ephira" under the command of Edward Watts. Five gun-brigs, including "Basilisk" one armed schuyt and a cutter.

On 7th July, they entered the Elbe and anchored out of gunshot of the battery at Cuxhaven. Then at daylight the following morning Goate, with the commanding officers, of the Marines of their respective vessels, they landed to attack the battery; the 80-man garrison who made a hastey retreat. The British seized the battery and hoisted the British flag; they also hoisted the Hamburg flag on the castle at Kitzbuttle.

While the captains of the "Basilisk" changed regularly, some of the crew provided continuity. Royal Marine Abel Helps signed on to "Basilisk" 29th May 1802, as a corporal (ADM 96/216), was raised to sergeant 9th March 1805, (ADM 158/91) and disembarked at Portsmouth 16th Oct 1809, (ADM 35/2625) meaning he was on board for 7 years 5 months. By 4th November 1809, he had joined another ship, the frigate "Nyaden".

1809 Vice Admiral Cuthbert Lord Collingwood became the title holder Major General Royal Marines

1810 17th January. Lieutenant Sillibeer in command of 30 rank and file Marines stormed the batteries at Baie Mahut, Guadaloupe.

1810 17th February. Amboyna captured. Royal Marines of H.M.S. Cornwall, Daver and Samarony formed part of the force of 401 Seamen, Marines, Artillery and detachments of the Madras European Regiment who captured Amboyna fighting against formidable fortifications that were manned by very superior numbers.

18th May 1809 The capture of Anholt.

It was against the Danes that The Corps won its greatest land victory of the era. In the Kattegat, The tiny island of Anholt was already garrisoned by 350 Royal Marines under the command of Captain James Maurice RN. With a detachment of 31 Royal Marines Artillery under Captain Steel Royal Marines Artillery.

1809 8th July a number of landing parties from various ships put ashore a force predominantly Royal Marines and captured a battery at Cuxhaven.

1809 27th July Royal Marine landing party destroyed a battery at Gassendorf, Wessemunde.

1814 8th April Royal Marines manned the boats from H.M.S. Boxer, Endymiam, Hogue and Maidstone on an amphibious assault against American Vessels in the Connecticut River, successfully sinking 27.

1814 Earl St Vincent was promoted from Colonel to the the rank of Major General Royal Mmarines. Then for the next 9 years he played a prominent part in the regeneration of the Corps.

1827 King George 1V directed

That all of the Battle Honours

1821 Sir Thomas Hardy was the last of Lord Nelson's sea captains to be appointed holder of the title Colonel RM

1823 The Duke of Clarence obtained the senior appointment of Major General before being crowned King William IV

1832 Admiral Sir Sydeny Smith became the last naval officer hold the title rank of Lieutenant General in the RM.

The Battle honours of the Royal Marines was so many; that the Corps should have the Great Globe itself’ as their distinctive badge. Whilst the single honour ‘Gibraltar’, commemorating their assault on the rock in 1704, was selected on the colours as representative of all of the others won by the Corps. At the same time their motto ‘Per Mare Per Terram’ was officially approved.

1854 12th March 1854 The Kafir war concluded.

1854 20th April Royal Marines attacked the outer batteries at Sevastopol. A new offensive weapon appeared "The Shell."

1854 2nd October Battalion strength Royal Marines landed at Balaclava.

1854 20th October Two Royal Marines Artillery Batteries with 26 guns. They took over the entrenchments overlooking the port of Balaclava, this position became known as 'Marine Heights', time after time The Russians attacked and were pressed back by the Marine gunners.

5th November 1854

Corporal John Prettyjohn awarded the VC

1862 From both became the ‘Royal Marine Light Infantry’ and "Royal Marine Artillery’.

1864 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.

Lord St Vincent’s tribute to the Corps:

"I never knew an appeal to them for honour, courage or loyalty that they did not more than realise my expectations; if ever the real hour of danger should come to England, they will be found the Country’s sheet anchor."

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14th September 1864 Royal Marines

Stormed the Japanese stockade

1864 14th December Bombay destroyed by fire and explosion of Montevideo, 97 dead including 34 Royal Marines, one of whom died at his post as sentry outside the Captains quarters.

1869 25th March the remainder of the Woolwich Division of the Royal Marines was disbanded. (The initial move was started on the 17th March 1869)

In 1870, and again in 1873, other R.M. battalions were sent, and the R.M. connection with Japan was renewed in August 1945, when the British Fleet sailed into Tokyo Bay and the senior officer Royal Marines went ashore and hoisted the Union Jack in Yokohama. His name was Major Peter Norcock. His grandfather had carried the colour in the R.M. Battalion which landed in Yokohama in 1870.

1874 1st February The Ashantee finally made a stand at Amquana where an ambush was turned by the Royal Marines who moved out onto the columns flank to clear the line of approach. The Capital was finally reached and torched before the column withdrew to the coast and the Ashantee gave no further trouble.

The next Link below will be: "Royal Marines History 2"

1874 The Royal Marines

Red Uniform was worn for the last time

Royal Marines History 1 Royal Marines History 2

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