The Royal Marines trace their history back to 28 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. On 24 July 1704 Marines under Sir George Rooke took possession of the Rock of Gibraltar and have retained “Gibraltar” as a battle honour. Briefly disbanded, they were re-formed in 1775 and have been in continuous existence ever since. The Corps’ motto is ‘Per mare per terram’, meaning ‘By sea, by land’.
Today the Royal Marines consist of 6,700 men grouped in 3 Commando Brigade, Commachio Group, Commando training Centre RM, RM Poole, the Amphibious Trials and Training Unit Royal Marines (AATURM), Royal Marines School of Music (RMSM) and Royal Marine Reserve units.
3 Cdo Bde
Commanded by a Brigadier with his HQ in Plymouth 3 Cdo Bde is a key contributor to the recently formed Joint Rapid Deployment Force (JRDF). It consists of:
HQ and Signals Squadron Royal Marines based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth, Brigade Patrol Troop a force of 24 men working in six four man teams, Y Troop the Brigade’s electronic warfare specialists, Communications Troop which provides secure communications, Air Defence Troop equipped with Javelin SAM, Royal Marines Police Troop, Tactical Air Control Parties which works with the Royal Navy and RAF.
40 Commando is based at Norton Manor camp, Taunton, 42 Commando at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth, 45 Commando Arbroath, Scotland, 29 Commando Rgt RA (Army) include 1 Bty (TA); 20 Commando Air Defence Battery Royal Artillery, 1 Commando Logistics Regiment (joint service) based at Chivenor, 59 Independent Squadron RE (Cdo engineers 1 Army 1 TA), 847 Naval Air Sqn 1 light 2 support helicopter formations is based at Yeovilton; 539 Assault Squadrons based at Turnchapel, Plymouth. Medium Reconnaissance is provided by B Squadron The Household Cavalry regiment with Scimitar and Striker armoured vehicles.
Commachio Group is based at Arbroath and is tasked with North Sea oil rig protection; the Landing Craft and Amphibious Training Wing is based at Poole. ATTURM is based at Instow, the RMSM at Portsmouth. There are RMR units in London, Bristol, Birkenhead and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The Commandant General who is based at Whale Island in Portsmouth commands the Royal Marines; the Royal Marines include men and women who are all volunteers drawn from all three services. Recruits, both officers and men pass through a 30 week training course at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) at Lympstone in Devon. The course emphasises team work and includes a 30 mile timed march with weapons and equipment.