In memory and respect of 350 year of service by our Royal Marines, we asked Royal Marine David Lilburn MBE to tell us a little about what the Royal Marines are all about and how it all started. David left the Royal Marines as a Colour Sergeant. He served for 25 years, as did his father who served 28 years, his grandfather 26 years and his great grandfather 22 years……this is what David told us:
The Royal Marines Convening Order (the start)
The Kings Most Excellent Majesty.
His Royal Highness the Duke of York, Lord Chancellor, Lord Treasurer, Duke of Albermarl, Duke of Ormond, Lord Chamberlain, Earle of Angelesey, Earle of Lauderdaill, Earle of Middleton, Lord Bishop of London, Lord Ashley, Mr Vice Chamberlain, Mr Secretary Morice, Mr Secretary Bennet, Mr Chancellor of Ye Dutchy, Sir Edward Nicholas
Upon a report from the Lords Committee of the Affairs of His Majesties Navy Royal and Admiralty of this Kingdom this read at the board.
His Majesty was pleased to order and direct that twelve hundred land soldiers be forthwith raised, to be in readiness, to be distributed into Majesties Fleets prepared for sea service which said twelve hundred men are to be out into one regiment under one Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel and one Sergeant Major. And be divided into six companies, each company to consist of two hundred soldiers; and to have one Captain, one Lieutenant, one Ensign, one Drum, four Sergeants, and four Corporals, and all the soldiers aforesaid to be armed with good firelocks; all which armies, drums and colours are forthwith to be prepared and furnished out his majesties stores; the care of all which is recommended to the Duke of Albermarle his grace, lord General of his Majesties Forces.”
The above was the initial Convening Order for twelve-hundred soldiers to be recruited for service as a regiment of land and sea soldiers for service in King Charles II Naval Fleet. Initially the regiment was know as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot and later became known as the Admiral’s Regiment. The regiment was renamed several times and actually disbanded on two occasions, in 1713 and then after War of Austrian Succession. In 1755 fifty new companies of marines were created and through the years the number of companies grew and in 1802 they were given the title Royal Marines by King George III, to reflect their steadfast loyalty to the Crown during the war with France. In 1804 an artillery division was created, and later separated into their own division in 1859, under the name Royal Marine Artillery. Finally in 1923, both of these divisions combined as the Corps of Royal Marines.
As a result of this Order, this fighting force of courageous infantry soldiers became seamen and played a significant role aboard the warships as part of the Royal Navy. These Marines on the sea used their muskets against enemy ships (often from above) and when on land, their infantry training played a significant role in many battles throughout history, most notably the war with France and Spain in 1704 when the British troops attacked the Rock of Gibraltar,“1,900 British and 400 Dutch marines prevented Spanish reinforcements reaching the fortress. Later, British ships bombarded the city while marines and seamen stormed the defences.” The Great Victory of Trafalgar in 1805 involving a large fleet of Royal Navy warships with a compliment of 2,700 Royal Marines defeated the Franco-Spanish fleet. The attack against the Barbary Corsairs in 1816, Bombardment of Algiers, where significant loss of life occurred on both sides and victory for the British which resulted in the release of over 1,000 slaves.
The Royal Marines have had a long and enduring history that is reflected in their present-day badge. The Lion and Crown reflect the Royal honours granted to the regiment in 1802 by King George III. “Gibraltar” has a significant meaning to the old marine regiments during the aforenoted Siege of Gibraltar in 1704 (which was led by Admiral Sir George Rooke, a English naval commander). In the centre, the “world globe” was chosen by King George IV as a symbol that represents the Royal Marines’ global success around the world. The encompassing laurel leaves are believed to honour their gallant effort during the capture of Belle Isle in 1761. The fouled or tangled anchor symbolizes the difficulties associated with service in the Marines. Finally, the Latin phrase “Per Mare Per Terram” roughly translates to “By Sea, By Land”; this is the motto of the Marines, which first appeared on the headdress of the men during the Battle of Bunkers Hill in 1775.
Link to video:
The BBC have an excellent video which we would like to link too. Please click here.
David Lilburn MBE and published author of poetry, wrote us this poem for today also:
In town or a city, by an ocean so bright,
We gather this October 28th so proudly tonight,
To honour all Royal Marines, so far and so near,
It is a birthday we celebrate each and every year.
We’ve lived 350 years, I am so told,
Wait, no man could ever be that old,
You are right, my wise and cherished friend,
It’s the Royal Marines, to whom greetings we send.
We look at those gathered at the ocean shore,
I sense a difference from celebrations before,
There has been a concern who would fill our ranks when we fall,
In years to come, who will answer the call.
Gathered amongst the brothers are faces lined with wars of the past,
And the new breed at each table, recognized by the youth they cast,
Men who have served with honour in the struggles of today,
In continents and lands that are so far away.
Lift your glasses to every brother who has been to Hell,
In all parts of this world, they have served their Corps well,
The ranks of the old embrace the new members, some son’s,
Come back to us safe, when your war is won.
The 350th celebration is drawing to a close for another year,
We had time to tell stories and, yes, shed a tear,
We are aware that there are many in our ranks who will not be here,
To witness the joy and happiness of spending time with those dear.
Per Mare – Per Terram, Royal, gathered here with good cheer,
Look around you, it’s the image of those faces so dear,
A more powerful bond was never know to another,
Than that relationship of our Royal’s, Brother to Brother.
April 19, 2012
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