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Royal Marines History

CORPS MEMORABLE DATES

The Corps Memorable Dates where revised in 1987 when citations for the Unit Memorable Dates were published for the first time. World War 2 Units, which are still in existence have two memorable dates, one commemorating a wartime achievement and the other a post-war honour.

23 April 1918 - The Raid on Zeebrugge

28 April 1915 - Gallipoli

6 June 1944 - The Landings in Normandy

7 June 1761 - The Battle of Belle Isle

14 June 1982 - Recapture of the Falkland Islands

17 June 1775 - The Battle of Bunker Hill

24 July 1704 - The Capture of Gibraltar

21 October 1805 - The Battle of Trafalgar

28 October 1664 - The Birth of the Corps

1 November 1944 - The Assault of Walcheren

Corps Memorable Dates (Full Listing)

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VICTORIA CROSSES

Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other orders, decorations and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not in the face of the enemy. However, the VC is higher in order of precedence and would be worn first by an individual who had been awarded both decorations (which has not so far occurred).

The VC was introduced on 29 January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward acts of valour during the Crimean War. Since then the medal has been awarded 1,356 times to 1,353 individual recipients. Only 13 medals, nine to the British Army and four to the Australian Army have been awarded since the start of the Korean War. The traditional explanation of the source of the gunmetal from which the medals are struck is that it derives from Russian cannon captured at the siege of Sevastopol. Recent research has thrown doubt on this story, suggesting a variety of origins. Due to its rarity, the VC is highly prized and the medal can reach over 400,000 at auction. There are a number of public and private collections devoted to it, most notably that of Lord Ashcroft, which contains over one-tenth of the total VCs awarded.

Corporal John Prettyjohn RM

Corporal John Prettyjohn RM

2 November 1854

Crimea

Bombardier Thomas Wilkinson RMA

Bombardier Thomas Wilkinson RMA

5 June 1855

Crimea

Lieutenant George Dare Dowell RMA

Lieutenant George Dare Dowell RMA

13 July 1855

Viborg, Baltic Sea

Captain Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday RMLI

Captain Lewis Stratford Tollemache Halliday RMLI

24 June 1900

Peking Legations — Boxer Rebellion

Lance-Corporal Walter Richard Parker RMLI

Lance-Corporal Walter Richard Parker RMLI

1 May 1915

Portsmouth Battalion — Gallipoli

Major Francis John William Harvey RMLI

Major Francis John William Harvey RMLI

31 May 1916

HMS Lion — Battle of Jutland

Major Frederick William Lumsden DSO*, RMA

Major Frederick William Lumsden DSO*, RMA

April 1917

Western Front

Captain Edward Bamford DSO RMLI

Captain Edward Bamford DSO RMLI

23 April 1918

4th Battalion RMLI — Zeebrugge

Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch RMA

Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch RMA

23 April 1918

RMA Detachment — Zeebrugge

 

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter RM

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter RM

3 April 1945

43 (RM) Commando — Lake Comacchio

 
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THE COLOURS

From the earliest days, Colours were carried by regiments and companies and those of the Admiral's Regiment, as was normal, reflected the yellow of their coats of the 17th century. It is interesting to note that today 42 Commando still uses the design of the original Lieutenant Colonel's Colour as their unit flag.

When the six Marine Regiments were formed, the number of Colours carried had been reduced to two, the King's Colour (or Union Flag) and a Regimental Colour (matching the facings). Later each of the Grand Divisions (Chatham, Portsmouth, Plymouth and, for a period, Woolwich) carried Colours. Each Royal Marine Commando was presented with a stand of Colours at a ceremony in Malta on 29 November 1952, by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and today in the Royal Marines, Colours are only carried by Commandos. 41 and 43 Commandos, during their brief revivals, were presented with Colours which are now housed in the Officers Messes at Plymouth and Lympstone respectively.

 

"Guard these Colours well and remember that, whatever the problem, a Royal Marine Commando is always expected the achieve the impossible."

                                                               HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Malta 1952

 

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The Queen's Colour

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The Regimental Colour

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Corps Colours

Good piece of video depicting Royal Marines footage past and present (Youtube video)

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