Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

By Sea, by Land, the Marines Are Finest in World

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

By Sea, by Land, the Marines Are Finest in World

Article excerpt


ROYAL Marine Commandos have for generations been among the most feared and respected fighting forces in the world.

Their indomitable spirit and supreme self-confidence was perfectly summed up by the CO of 45 Commando, Andrew Whitehead, during the Falklands conflict. He said after capturing Two Sisters in a notably dashing action in the South Atlantic: "With 50 Royals, I could have held this place until I died of old age."

No doubt similar messages of determination will ring out through the mountain passes of Afghanistan during the Green Berets' latest campaign.

The Royal Marines are one of the oldest units of the Armed Forces.

"The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot", as they were originally called, were founded in 1664 by Charles II.

A 1,200-strong unit of soldiers to serve on ships, for landing boarding parties, their motto : Per Mare Per Terram - By Sea, By Land - was to become known across virtually every major theatre of war For the next 250 years, Marines provided the Royal Navy's infantry: its landing force for amphibious operations; marksmen afloat in fleet action; occasional suppressors of mutiny among the sailors, and gun turret crews in the post-Dreadnought age.

They fought side-by-side with Anzac troops during the Gallipoli landings in 1915, suffering heavy losses. In 1918, light infantry companies of the 4th Battalion Royal Marines stormed a German naval base, crippling the enemy's sea force. They were awarded two VCs.

The "commando" style of soldiering was introduced to the corps in 1942 -two years later Marines took part in the largest amphibious landing operation ever, on the Normandy beaches.

The corps can count almost every major British military action in the past two centuries in its battle honours. Since the Second World war it has seen action in areas including Suez, the Middle East, Northern Ireland-Cyprus, Borneo, Iraq and Kosovo. …

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