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Royal Marines

The Royal Marines are the United Kingdom's amphibious forces and a component of their Rapid Reaction Force. They are a naval infantry force similar to the United States Marine Corps.

The first unit of English naval infantry, the "Admiral's Regiment," formed on October 28, 1664, and the name "Marines" first appeared in official records in 1672. However, the naval infantry remained a part of the Army until 1755, when "His Majesty's Marine Forces," fifty companies in three divisions, headquartered at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, were formed under Admiralty control. In 1802, they were titled the "Royal Marines."

The "Royal Marine Artillery" were formed as a separate unit in 1804. In 1855, the naval infantry forces were renamed the "Royal Marines, Light Infantry" and in 1862 the name was slightly altered to "Royal Marine Light Infantry." It was not until 1923 that the separate artillery and light infantry forces were formally amalgamated into the "Corps of Royal Marines."

During World War II the Marine's infantry battalions were reorganised as Commandos, and after the end of the war, the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines alone to continue the commando role (with supporting Army elements).

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All Royal Marines, except those in the Royal Marines Band Service, are commando soldiers, trained to work in all terrains and environments. They undergo a long and demanding infantry training regime at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone[?], Devonshire. Most basic training is carried out on the rugged, inhospitable terrain of Dartmoor; other training areas include the Middle East for "hot, arid" conditions, Belize or Brunei for "humid jungle," or Scotland and Norway for "cold mountainous" conditions.

The culmination of the training is the Commando Course, a series of tests which have remained virtually unchanged since World War II. Until a Royal Marine has passed his Commando Course he can wear neither the Green Beret nor the Royal Marines Commando flash on his uniform.

After basic training, a Royal Marine will be selected for specialist training, and possibly for the Special Forces with the Special Boat Service. Upon completion of that training, a Commando will normally join a unit of 3 Commando Brigade. There are three Commando units in the Brigade: 40 Commando located at Norton Manor[?] near Taunton in Somerset, 42 Commando at Bickleigh[?], near Plymouth, Devon, and 45 Commando at Arbroath on the east coast of Scotland.


Royal Marines are organized around four-man fire team. Until recently, they were structured similarly to army battalions, but beginning in the 1990s, commando units were reorganised to meet the new challenges present after the end of the Cold War, and no longer resemble the Army.

The Amphibious Ready Group is a highly mobile, balanced amphibious force at sea, based on a Commando Group and its supporting assets, that can be kept at high readiness to deploy forward into an area of likely contingency operations. The Amphibious Ready Group is normally based around specialist amphibious shipping, most notably HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the fleet. Ocean was designed and built to accommodate an embarked Commando unit and its associated stores and equipment. The Amphibious Ready Group is designed to wait beyond the horizon and move swiftly as directed by HM Government. The concept was successfully tested in operations in Sierra Leone.

The Headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade is based in Plymouth and it was from there that the Brigade was mounted out during the Falklands War of 1982. The Commando Brigade not only consists of Royal Marines units, but also of the essential combat support elements provided by the Army, most notably 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery (based in Plymouth) and 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers (based in Barnstaple[?]). These units provide the specialist artillery and engineer support for the Brigade.

All ranks serving with these Army units also undergo Commando training on the All Arms Commando Course. In addition, Army ranks provide some of the specialist combat service logistic support to the Brigade, in the form of the Commando Logistic Regiment, also located in Barnstaple. The whole Brigade provides a balanced amphibious force, which, with its associated amphibious shipping, is self sustaining and capable of operating without host-nation support.

Traditions and Insignia

The Royal Marines have a proud history and unique traditions; they have so many battle honours that the "globe itself" has become the symbol of the Corps.

The badge of the Royal Marines is designed to commemorate the history of the Corps. The Lion and Crown denotes a Royal regiment. King George III conferred this honour in 1802 "in consideration of the very meritorious services of the Marines in the late war."

The "Great Globe itself" surrounded by laurels was chosen by King George IV as a symbol of the Marines' successes in every quarter of the world. The laurels are believed to honour the gallantry they displayed during the capture of Belle Isle in 1761.

The word "Gibraltar" refers to the Siege of Gibraltar in 1704. It was considered by George IV to be one of the most glorious achievements of the Marines and he decided that the word should represent the honours they had earned.

The fouled anchor, incorporated into the emblem in 1747, is the badge of the Lord High Admiral and shows that the Corps is part of the Royal Navy.

Per Mare Per Terram ("By Sea, By Land"), the motto of the Marines, is believed to have been used for the first time in 1785.


The Royal Navy's Web site is http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/ ; the Royal Marines' pages begin at http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/141 . Everything on that Web site is subject to Crown copyright protection. "Crown copyright material may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context."

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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