Royal Marines

Historical Time Line

1825 - 1849

1825. Saturday 5th February. Than-ta-Bain captured.

1825. Saturday 19th February. Paulang captured.

1825. Wednesday 23rd March. George IV passes an act for the regulating of His Majestry's Royal Marine Forces on shore.

1825. Wednesday 31st March.  An Act for the regulating of His Majesty's Royal Marine Forces while on Shore. The Safety of the United 61 Kingdom, and the Defence of the Possessions of the Crown of Great Britain and Ireland, that a Body of Royal Marine Forces should be employed in His Majesty's Fleet and Naval Service under the Direction of the Lord High Admiral or Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: And whereas the said Royal Marine Forces may frequency be quartered or be on Shore, or sent to do Duty on board Transport Ships or merchant Ships or Vessels, or Ships or Vessels of His Majesty, not being in Commission, or any Convict Hulk or Ship, where they will not be subject to the Laws relating to the Government of His Majesty's Forces by Sea; yet nevertheless it being requisite for the retaining of such Forces in their Duty, that an exact Discipline be observed ; and that Marines who shall mutiny or stir tip Sedition, or shall desert His Majesty's Service, be brought to a more exemplary and speedy Punishment than the Law will allow; be it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That from and after the Twenty-fourth Day of March One thousand eight hundred and twenty-five. (Sic)

1825. March and April. Donoobew captured.

1825. Monday 25th April. Prome occupied.

1825. Sunday 25th December. Burmese defeated at Prome.

1825. Appointment of a Colonel Commandant and deputy Adjutant General of Marines, resident in London.

1825 - 1854. The Marines Band uniforms of the day. (taken from 'Britain's Sea Soldiers: Vol 1 by Cyril Field RMLI).

1825. The Marines Drummer uniforms of the day. (taken from 'Britain's Sea Soldiers: Vol 1 by Cyril Field RMLI).

1826. Thursday 19th January. Melloone captured.

1826. Thursday 9th February. Pagahm-mew captured. In these operations Alligator, Arachne, Boadicea, Champion, Larne, Liffey, Sophie, Slaney, Tamar, and Tees, or parties from them, were engaged.

1826. Thursdaay 6th - 7th April. Boats of Alacrity took four Greek pirate vessels.

1826. Saturday 17th June. In search of Pirate ships off the Island of Candia in the Bay of Porta Bono. Captain G.R. Pechell of the 36 gun Frigate HMS Sybille, arrived off the island of Candia in search of some piratical vessels that had plundered a Sardinian merchant-ship, and ill-treated the crew. Being close in with HMS Gozo, on the morning of the 18th four large Misticos were discovered and chased under a small island, forming the bay or harbour of Porto Bono, or Calos-limuonop. The frigate anchored at about half past noon with a spring on the cable and opened her broadside on the Misticos lying moored to the rocks, whilst the five boats under the orders of Lieutenant Gordon, assisted among other officers by Lieutenant of Marines J.T. Brown, pulled in to the attack. They were instantly assailed by a destructive fire of musketry from above 200 men, protected by a stone breast work or concealed behind the rocks. Their pieces, loaded with three balls each, connected by a piece of wire, were so well directed, that although Lieutenant Gordon succeeded in boarding one of the vessels, the crew of the barge suffered so severely that he was compelled to abandon her, having 7 seamen and 1 Marine killed, himself, Mr. Edmonsons, Midshipman, and every other seaman and Marine wounded. Lieutenant E. Tupper, Commanding the launch, was mortally wounded. In the first cutter, Commanded by Lieutenant P.T. Brown of the Marines, Mr. Lees, Midshipman, was severely wounded, 2 Seamen killed and 2 wounded, the other boats suffered proportionally, and the total loss amounted to Mr. Knox, Midshipman, 10 Seamen, and 3 Marines killed, 2 Lieutenants, 2 Midshipmen, 20 Seamen, and 6 Marines wounded.

1826. Tuesday 12th September. An increase of the pay of Adjutants was ordered. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1826. The Appointment of a Colonel Commandant and deputy Adjutant General of Marines was resident in London.

1826. Chatham Division band accompanied the british Ambassador to Russia for the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas 1st, the first time that a British Band left Britain to attend a foreign ceremony. An Imperial Russian sword, suitably engraved, was presented to the Bandmaster. This sword is now in the Royal Marines Museum collection.

1827. Tuesday 3rd July. Why The great Globe? It is a well known fact oI`Corps history, that when in 1827. Kind. George IV was to present new colours to the Corps. it was only after a long and tedious consideration that a de cc was deemed appropriate to submit to for the King's approvLil.
Accompanying this was a list ofaetions in which the Corps had distinguished itsell. for the King to select those actions which would be emblazoned on the new colours. So great was this list that he could not choose and after more deliberation it was decide to retain the distinctive device of the `Fouled Anchor but to be surmounted with a crown and the word "Gibraltar" and in addition to this. a great globe surrounded by laurel was adopted to recognise the many actions in which the Corps had distinguished itself around the world.
The history records that the number of actions submitted to the King to choose from was 106. but did you ever wonder what were the actions named on this list?
Well, here they are, as recorded in the Globe & Laurel at the time that new colours were presented to the Pymouth Division on the 3rd July 1896, by.R.H. the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha KG. KT.
1704 Gibraltar, 1704 Toulon.
1706 Ostend, 1706 Barcelona.
1708 Spanish Plate Fleet, 1708 Minorca.
1718 Messina.
1719 Vigo, 1719 Port Antonio.
1740 Porto Bello, 1740 Paita.
1745 Cape Breton, 1745 Louisburgh.
1748 Port Louis, 1748 Hispaniola.
1758 Pondicherry, 1758 Chandernaorc.
1758 Goree, 1758 Guadaloupe.
1759 Defeat of French Fleet. Lagos, 1759 Defeat of French Fleet, Quiberon.
1761 Belle Isle, 1761 Dominique, 1761 Martinico.
1762 Manilla.
1775 Bunkers IIill.
1776 Charlestown.
1778 St Louis, 1778 Tiberoon, 1778 Jshant, 1778 St Vincent.
1781 I)o gerbank.
1782 Dominique, 1782 Porto Rico, 1782 TritRcomdtee.
1793 Defence of Toulon, 1793 Tobago.
1794 Martinique, 1794 Cape Tiberoon, 1794 Guadaloupe, 1794: Martinique. 1794:St Lucia,1794:Glorious !st June.
1795. L'Orient, 1795 St Fiorenzo, 1795 St Fiorenzo, 1795 Corsica, 1795 Trincomalee, 1795 Columba (Ceylon), 1795 Malacca, 1795 Chinsura Cochin, 1795 Demerara, 1795 Essequibo, 1795 Berbice.
1796 Saintes Loana.
1797 Cape St Vincent, 1797 Camperdown, 1797 Teneriffe.
1798 Nile.
1799 St Jean D'arc, 1799 I-Holland.
1800 Malta, I800 Genoa. 1800 Quiberon,
1801. Cabarita Point. 1801 Copenhagen, 1801 Aboukir, 1801 St Bartholomew, 1801 St Thomas, 1801 Santa Cruz.
1804 Diamond hook.
1805. Cape Finistcrre, 1805 Trafalgar. 1805 Bay of Biscay.
1806. Ocoa Bay. 1806 St Domingo. 1806 Cape of Good Hope.
1807 Montevideo, 1807 Capture of Copenhagen, 1807 Charente, 1807 Lord Cachran's action,
1809 Walcheren.
1810 use de Bourbon, 1810 Mauritius.
18l1 Java. 1811 Rarossa.
1812. Anhalt.
1813 Castro St Andro, 1813 Bilhoa, 1813 St Sebastian, 1813 Queenstown.
1814 Oswego, 1814 Blandishurgh, 1814 Washington.
1815 St Mary's, 1815 New Orleans.
1816 Algiers.

1827. Wednesday 26th of September. New Colours were presented to the Division of Royal Marines at Chatham, on the part of His Majesty King George IV, by His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence, then Lord High Admiral of Great Britain, and General of Marines, afterwards King William IV. After alluding to the services of Marine Regiments from the period of their formation to the present time, His Royal Highness caused the New Colours to be unfurled, and concluded his address in the following terms: "His Majesty has selected for the Royal Marines a Device to which their achievements have entitled them, and which, by his permission, this day present to you, a Badge which you have so hardly and honourably earned. From the difficulty of selecting any particular places to inscribe on these Standards, your Sovereign has been pleased to adopt. The Great Globe itself as the most proper and distinctive badge. He has also directed, that his own name (George IV.) shall be added to that peculiar badge, the Anchor, which is your distinctive bearing, in order that it may be known hereafter, that George the Fourth had conferred on you the honourable and well earned badge this day presented to you. The motto, peculiarly your own, ‘Per Mare; Per Terram’ has been allowed to remain and surmounting the entire is the word Gibraltar, in commemoration of the important national services you performed there. In presenting these Colours, the gift of your Sovereign, into your hands, I trust I am confident you will defend them with the same intrepidity, loyalty, and regard for the interests of the country, that have marked your preservation of your old ones, and if you do, you’re Sovereign, and your Country will have equal reason to be satisfied." (sic)

Through out the 18th and 19th century the Corps played a major roll in fighting to win Britain the largest empire ever created. The Marines had a dual function, they ensured the security of the ship's officers and supported their maintenance of discipline in the ship's crew. During battles they engaged the enemy's crews, firing from positions on their own ship, or fighting during boarding's. The Corps strength at that time was 9,000.

1827. Saturday 20th October. The Battle of Navarino was fought in the bay of Navarino (on the south-western shore of the Peloponnesus) between Turkish Egyptian naval forces and the joint Russian, British, and French navies during the Greek National Liberation Revolution (Greek War of Independence) of 1821 - 1829. The allied squadrons were sent to exert pressure on Turkey, which had refused to carry out the demands of the London Convention of 1827 on granting autonomy to Greece. The three squadron commanders, the British Vice Admiral E. Codrington, the Russian Rear Admiral L.M. Geiden, and the French Rear Admiral H. G. de Rigny, decided to enter the bay of Navarino, where the Turkish Egyptian fleet under the command of Ibrahim Pasha was located. (Ibrahim Pasha’s fleet consisted of three ships of the line, 23 frigates, and about 40 corvettes and brigs, with almost 2,220 artillery guns.) The entrance to the bay was defended by coast batteries (165 guns and six fire ships).

A British squadron (three ships of the line, four frigates, one corvette, and three brigs), a French squadron (three ships of the line, two frigates, and two corvettes), and a Russian squadron (four ships of the line and four frigates), totalling 1,676 artillery guns and under the overall command of Codrington, who was senior in rank, entered the bay. After a British truce envoy was killed by the Turks and the ships were fired on by coast batteries, the allies opened fire. In four hours the Turkish Egyptian fleet was completely destroyed and almost 7,000 Turks died. The Russian flagship Azov, under the command of Captain First Class M.P. Lazarev, especially distinguished itself in the battle. The allies lost more than 800 men in dead and wounded. The defeat of the Turkish fleet aided in Greece’s national liberation struggle and contributed to Russia’s victory in the Russo Turkish War of 1828 - 1829.

1827 - 1854. A small detachment of Royal Marines were stationed at Port Essington Australia.

1828 - 1829. The Taking of the Castle of Morea (or Rhion) and the Siege of Patras. A few Royal Marines, Artillery and Infantry, and some bomb vessels co-operated with the French Army in these operations. Lieutenant Logan RMA mainly caused the surrender of the Castle by blowing up the principal magazine for which he received the Legion of Honour.

1829. Edward Nicolls RM was appointed Superintendent of Fernando Po (now Bioko), a tropical island immediately off the coast of Africa, which the Navy used as a base for operations against the slave trade. Nicolls received the appointment after colonial administrator William Fitzwilliam Owen had refused the post, and after merchant John Beecroft was deemed unfit for the post. Owen, however, voiced his dissatisfaction with what he viewed as Nicolls's harsh rule on the island, and Beecroft increased his influence in the area. Nicolls, in turn, attacked Beecroft for his dealings with former slavers. Nicolls's health suffered in Fernando Po and by April 1830 he had left for Ascension. When Nicolls returned to England ill, Beecroft was placed in charge of the island. Tropical illness took a toll on the Europeans at Fernando Po, where hundreds died during the period. Nineteen of the 34 men in Nicoll's first contingent died soon after their arrival, and only five of the original 47 Royal Marines who accompanied him to Fernando Po in 1829 survived two years duty on the station. Lieutenant Colonel Edward Nicolls, somewhat restored to health, served a second term as Superintendent of Fernando Po during 1832–1833. Despite his differences with Owen, Nicolls was just as determined to disrupt the slave trade, and equally energetic in his attempts to convince the British government to adopt a more aggressive stance. Frustrated in territorial annexation schemes, he invited the West African rulers of Bimbia, Old Calabar, Camaroon, Malimba, and the Bonny to Fernando Po to form an anti-slavery alliance. To Nicolls' great disappointment, the British government ordered him to evacuate Fernando Po on Wednesday 29th August 1832 and put an end to operations there. Unfinished work and efforts to provide for the welfare of liberated and displaced slave populations delayed the end of Nicoll's mandate for several months, and the Colonel did not return to England until April 1835.

1830. Monday 26th April. Black Joke took the Spanish slaver Marimerito.

1830. Primrose captured the Spanish slaver Veloz Passagera.

1830s - 1840s. The introduction of steam has so materially changed the system of warfare, that it is now imperative on the british government to adopt the best method for the improvement of our naval gunnery; and as that never can be effectually maintained when the men are discharged after so limited a period of service as three years, it behoves the executive to consider the advantage that is likely to arise from an increase of the corps of Marines of sufficient extent to make an addition to the detachments on board her Majesty's ships, and discontinue that class which is now termed " Landsmen." This measure would not only provide an improving body of artillery-men, but at the same time every squadron would convey battalions of effective soldiers, ready to take the field on any emergency. In offering these remarks, we are supported by the opinions of many of our most distinguished naval officers. The immortal Nelson has been frequently heard to say, " When I become first lord of the Admiralty, every fleet shall have perfect battalions of Marines, with their artillery; and commanded by experienced fieldofficers, they will be prepared to make a serious impression on the enemy's coast." And we find it stated by Mr. Tucker, that lord St. Vincent was so persuaded of the importance of keeping up an extensive establishment of Marines, that his lordship remarked, "The French from the era of Louis XIV. have always equipped their fleet sooner than we have, and their 1 bureau de classe' continues in full vigour. Without a large body of Marines, we shall be long, very long, before an efficient fleet can be sent to sea." This system is persevered in; and it will be observed that, in the last vote of the French Chambers, where the number of seamen amounted to 26,000 men, the marine artillery numbered 19,000.
We are fully aware that this apparent disproportion arises from the circumstance that their naval ports, and likewise the colonies, are garrisoned by marines; and we conceive that great benefit would arise to the public service of this country, if our colonial possessions were supplied by the same description of military force. An extension of the establishment of the Marines would also enable the Admiralty to equip a squadron in half the time, and with more efficiency, than under the existing regulation; and we have recently witnessed the great national advantage of embarking an additional quota when seamen could not be procured, for at this moment there are no less than 2,300 Marines distributed on board eight sail of the line ; but with such an extent of military force, there is not even one fieldofficer in the squadron.
We cannot conclude this brief sketch of the progress of the corps of Royal Marines, without adverting to the unequal distribution of those honours and distinctions which emanate from the throne. Although the Marines have taken a prominent part in the glorious contests with the enemy, never, in any instance, tarnishing their well-merited reputation; and although the highest commendation has been conferred upon them by their Sovereign, yet those proud rewards which have been so profusely bestowed upon every other branch of the service, are withheld from the Marines; and it will scarcely be credited, that in the present corps, amounting to 10,500 men, not one officer has been honoured with the decoration of a Knight Commander of the Bath, and only four are Companions of the order.
This order of merit being restricted to the rank of fieldofficer, is a check upon the zeal and emulative spirit in that class of officers where an impulse is most required; and it has been well observed, that " no maxim in politics is more indisputable, than that a nation should have many honours in reserve for those who do national services. This rouses emulation cherishes public merit, and inspires everyone with ambition, which promotes the good of his country. The less expensive those honours are to the public, the more still do they turn to its advantage." Casting a retrospective glance at the remarks we have adduced, combined with those mpressive testimonies afforded in the memorials to the Board of Admiralty at various periods, and considering that even the last respectful remonstrance of the corps was alike disregarded, until echoed in the walls of Parliament, it must be evident that there has been great misrule in the administration of this branch of the service.

With this conviction we may venture to express an opinion, that those depressing measures have arisen from the absence of a responsible chief; who feeling himself identified with the honour and welfare of the corps, would watch over its interests with jealous attention to its claims.
As the constitution of the regiments of Royal Artillery is analagous to that of the Marines, the one governed by the Board of Ordnance, the other by the Board of Admiralty, it may be reasonable to infer, in contrasting the position of the two services, that the system of having a "Master-general" independent, and unfettered by a conjunctive administration, is productive of the best results ; and as there does not appear to be any impediment to an assimilation of the governing principle in the two services, we feel assured, that if the first lord of the Admiralty was also " Captain-general of Marines," the appointment would not only prove of the greatest advantage to the public service, but it would restore confidence to the corps, and revive that emulative spirit which has so eminently conduced to its distinguished reputation. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1931. March. The creation of this office, in March 1831, produced a feeling of dissatisfaction in the corps, that called for loud and general remonstrance; for it will scarcely be credited that the appointment was conferred upon a civilian (he having sold out of the service many years previously) totally unconnected with the Marines, and who, to have authority and control over the colonels of divisions, was created a major-general. This act of injustice produced a feeling of respectful remonstrance, until the discontent became too apparent to be disregarded; and another Board of Admiralty, with a due consideration for the welfare of the corps, removed the "Inspector-general," and restored the command of the Marines to the hands of one of its distinguished veterans. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1831. April. The Maintenance of Order in Newcastle. “On Wednesday week a detachment of 80 Marines and 6 Subalterns under the command of Major Mitchell, sailed from Portsmouth for this (Newcastle), on account of disturbances among the colliers. The vessel, towed by a steamer, sailed in less than an hour after the orders were received.” (Contemporary Newspapers of 28th April 1831). (Sic)

1831. Wednesday 24th August. By Order-in-Council 1831 gratuities for Good Conduct were granted after certain periods of service to wear “a silver medal, the size of half-a-crown, at the third Button of their jackets; having on one side ‘For Long Service and Good Conduct” and on the other an ‘Anchor and Crown’.” The forerunner of the “Blue Peter”.

1831. Saturday 10th December. Extract from a Journal dated 10th December 1831. "A Corporal and a Drummer of the Royal Marines, on the recruiting service at Henley, applied to the Magistrates to punish a man they had the day before enlisted, but, upon inspection, turned out to have a wooden leg. It appeared the Corporal slipped the enlisting shilling into his hand upon the usual expression of "free, able and willing", and which was soon converted into three pots of fourpenny, and as soon consumed by the recruit and his officers, and upon the word of command to march, the want of a limb so necessary to perform this part of the duty became obvious. The Magistrates recommended thee in future to drill the recruits before parting with His Majesty's money. But • the Drummer insisted that this man ought to be punished to deter others, and to prevent not only His Majesty's officers, but His Majesty himself, as represented by them, from being laughed at. The Magistrates, not apprehending the latter, dismissed the case.'

1831. Loyalty and Determination of Private George Higham. “Whilst the Medina steam vessel was stationed on the coast of Africa in the year 1831 a boat containing a midshipman, 9 seamen and a Marine was dispatched on service, and on ascending a river, the crew became mutinous, that the officer was under the necessity of using violent measures, and ran one off them through the body. This so exasperated the others, that they determined the throw the midshipman overboard, and were attempting to put their threat into execution when the Marine, named George Hyam or Higham, with great firmness stood between them, and declared he would shoot the first man who dared to lay his hand upon an officer, and bayonet the next who might venture to approach him. This determined act of courage so overawed the sailors that they desisted in their murderous intention, and the midshipman, thus nobly supported, was enabled to maintain his authority and re-join his ship in safety.” (Nicholas History. Record R.M. Force) .

1831. First cholera outbreak in England that affected all the British military forces.

1832. The establishment of the Marines increased to 10,000 men; and on the 6th of February an order in Council abolished the corps of Royal Marine Artillery.
This battalion, originally selected from a corps of 30,000 men, and which had progressively risen to eminence and distinction, was immediately broken up, " retaining two companies as a nucleus to form a greater body, which might hereafter be deemed advisable."
The impolicy of this measure soon became apparent, and the companies of marine artillery have been gradually increased until they have reached to about the same numerical strength as their establishment in 1823, (but still shorn of its field-offi- cers,) when they were formed into eight companies, as we shall presently show.
By referring to the minutes of the Board of Admiralty in the Appendix, relative to the marine artillery, it will be observed that they were intended for the training of the other marines, so as to embark efficient artillery-men in others of his Majesty's ships as well as in bombs, " experience having "proved the great advantage to he derived to the service from this practice." (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1832. The companies of Marine Artillery have been gradually increased until they have reached to about the same numerical strength as their establishment during1823, (but still short of field officers,) when they were formed into eight companies. The minutes of the Board of Admiralty show that relative to the Marine Artillery, they were intended for the training of the other Marines, so as to embark efficient artillery-men in others of his Majesty's ships as well as in Bombs Ketches.

1832. Monday 6th of February. The Band of the Royal Marines Artillery, was disbanded as part of the 1832 reductions.

1832. Monday 6th of February. An order in Council abolished the Corps of Royal Marine Artillery. This battalion, originally selected from a Corps of 30,000 men, and which had progressively risen to eminence and distinction, was immediately broken up, retaining two companies as a nucleus to form a greater body, which might hereafter be deemed advisable. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1832. Thursday 12th April. An order in Council ordered the promotion of four Lieutenant Colonels to be second Commandants, thus creating vacancies in the subordinate ranks. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1832. - 1834. A Battalion of Marines were keeping the peace in Ireland.

1833. A report of the Committee of the House of Commons on Army and Navy appointments, recommended the abolition of the sinecures of Generals and Colonels of Marines, enjoyed by Naval officers. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1833. The Marines uniforms of the day. (taken from 'Britain's Sea Soldiers: Vol 1 by Cyril Field RMLI).

1833. Finally an Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies is passed by British Parliament and Policed by

1833. When the Committee of the House of Commons in 1833, upon the navy and army estimates, recommended the abolition of the sinecures, held by naval officers, of generals and colonels of marines, they proposed that the amount thus saved should be distributed as rewards and pensions to officers of the Royal Navy and Marines, for good and faithful services. This has been carried into effect in a manner very unsatisfactory to the Marines; for notwithstanding that the major-generals of Marines are upon an equality of rank with rear-admirals, two major-generals upon the list of pensioners receive the pension of captains in the Royal Navy, and not those of rear-admirals. The difference is considerable, one being £300 per annum, and the other only half that sum; and these officers were consequently placed a step lower in rank than their commissions would warrant.

" Again, as field-officers of the army rank with captains of the navy in sharing prize-money w^hen upon a conjunct expedition, so field-officers of Marines, until lately, have shared prize-money, by royal proclamation, with that class of officers. But, by a recent order, field-officers of Marines when embarked, are made to share with the first-lieutenants of ships of war and captains of their own corps, which may be considered as a degradation of their rank.
" Another cause of discontent is, that the pay of captains of Marines is less by one shilling per diem than the pay of captains of the Line; for by an order of the War-office, the noneffective allowance to captains of companies was abolished, and became personal pay. It is admitted that this allowance was not generally given to captains of Marines; but as it is changed into personal pay, and as the officers of that rank are every where doing the same duties with those of the Line, upon less pay, it is justly felt as a hardship, more especially as they are unfortunately so long kept in the rank of captain."

Colonels Treraenheere and Owen, lieutenant-colonels Wright and sir Francis Lee, captains Alfred Burton and J. J. Willes, and lieutenant J. Buchanan, were then severally examined. Upon the evidence adduced by these officers, the Commission came to the following conclusions, which they submitted to the consi- deration of her Majesty: —
" 1. That it is expedient that officers shall not be continued in command of divisions, when no longer equal to the active duties of the service.
" 2. That every officer of Marines removed from the corps on becoming a general officer, should receive the full pay of his last regimental commission, or £400 a-year when the pay of his last regimental commission is not of that amount.
" 3. That upon full consideration whether, in consequence of the proposed alteration with respect to the pay of officers of Marines removed from the corps as major-generals, it would be proper to diminish the number of colonels-commandant allowed to retire upon full pay, — it has appeared to your Majesty's Commissioners that it would be inexpedient to offer any such recommendation, because the number of retirements allowed to colonels- commandant, need not be filled up by the Board of Admiralty, unless it should be thought necessary ; while it might be inconvenient to diminish the means now afforded, by the retirement on full pay of colonels-commandant, of removing from the corps officers who, from ill health or from other causes, have become inefficient.
" 4. The Commission deem it right to recommend to your Majesty, that the present number of lieutenant-colonels of Royal Marines allowed to retire on full-pay should be increased from four to six, on the same ground and in the same manner as has been recommended for the retirement of the colonels commandant.
" 5. That the regimental field-officers so retiring, and all those who may have heretofore retired upon full-pay as such, should be promoted in succession, by brevet, to the rank of general officer; and that the retired full-pay of such of the field-officers as may attain the rank of general-officer should be made up to £400 a-year, if the retired pay they received should be below that amount.
" 6. That the Board of Admiralty should be authorized to admit of the permanent retirement annually of two lieutenantcolonels of the Royal Marines to half-pay, at their own request; but these officers should not be eligible for any further promotion, by brevet or otherwise.
" 7. That it is expedient, that so much of the royal proclamation of the 3rd of February 1836, as relates to the allowance of prize-money to the field-officers of Marines, under which they are classed with sea lieutenants and captains of their own corps, should be rescinded; and they should, in respect to prize-money, be placed on a footing with field-officers of corresponding rank in the Line.
" 8. That it would be expedient, in regulating such grants of pensions for good services as may be made to general officers of Marines, to adhere to the principle of the order in Council of the 3rd of July 1837, under which general officers of Marines were classed with flag-officers of the fleet, with whom they rank.
" 9. That it is expedient, that the pay of captains of Marines, when serving a shore, should be fixed at the same rates as that of captains of infantry of the line." Before the Commission terminated its labours, the Royal Marines had to deplore the loss of their best advocate, sir Richard Williams, (the only officer of that corps who was a member of this board of inquiry), whose energies and zeal, in preferring their claims, cannot be too highly appreciated ; and as the last days of that gallant officer were devoted to the interests of the profession, of which he was so bright an ornament, we feel that the highest tribute we can offer to his respected memory is to record the statement he gave in evidence ; which is not only a testimony of the strenuous endeavours of that up right man to promote the welfare of the corps in which he had served with so much distinction and so much honour; but it affords a faithful and unprejudiced description of the neglect that had been long exercised towards this branch of the service. In urging the claims of the captains of Marines, sir Richard observes : — " For more than half a century they have served with the troops of the line very frequently, and usually upon expeditions of importance, with inferior advantages, but with the like expenses ; that their loyalty and fidelity have been acknowledged by the Sovereign, and by the votes of their countrymen in Parliament assembled ; that as a seniority corps, promotion from the very nature of such an establishment has been unavoidably slow: that officers have been known to remain on the list of second-lieutenants nineteen years in continuous service, and that numbers of them have remained twenty-eight years as subalterns.
"It can be proved, too, that they have not had the same advantages as have been enjoyed by the general service; that at the peace in 1814, when a large reduction took place, the existing vacancies, more than twenty in number — some of which were from deaths in action in America, were not filled up, with the exception of six. So that the subalterns at the head of the list, to that amount in number, had the rank of captain withheld from them for six years; not a single move having been made for that space of time from the 27th of July 1814. This was a grievance of so serious a nature, that the senior subalterns sent a memorial to the Board of Admiralty, praying that the vacancies might be filled up; but this application was not attended to. They then requested to be put upon the same footing as the Royal Artillery; that is to say, when a captain was brought in from half-pay, the senior first-lieutenant might be promoted and placed upon half-pay; but this request was also denied, although the final reduction to a peace establishment did not take place until 1816, owing probably to the return of Buonaparte from Elba, and the continuance of the war with America until 1815. " Now as regards the navy, mingled with whom they have always been proud to fight, and taken as a corps a fourth of its component part, all vacancies, as far as my information goes, were scrupulously filled up. There appears to have been 140 commanders made post-captains in 1814 and 1815; 360 lieutenants made commanders, and 1000 midshipmen were promoted in 1815.
" When I make these remarks, they will not be deemed invidious, I am quite sure: the glorious struggle which had been maintained, and in which the navy so largely participated, gave j ust claim at the termination to a liberal reward; and the country, at that time grateful to its defenders, gave universal consent. When I ask for an increase of pay for the captain of Marines, it may be said, and very correctly too, that his pay is already superior to that of a lieutenant of the navy, with whom he ranks. This is not a fair mode of reasoning; because the pay of the navy and of the army was never made to assimilate to any two corresponding ranks: if the captain of Marines has more pay, the sea lieutenant has more authority. In the event of an action, the latter was morally certain of promotion upon the death of his captain, while the former could gain nothing but the honour and gratification of having done his duty. The expenses incurred by outfit, and the losses sustained by disasters, were common to all the officers in the ward-room, even to the second-lieutenant of marines upon 5s. Sd, per diem. It appeared to me, therefore, that the claims of the lieutenants of the navy should stand upon their own merits, a foundation upon which a superstructure might be raised with every possible chance of success, and to which my feeble efforts should not be wanting.
" The rank of captain was also much retarded by the order of His Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral, dated 17th of August 1827, when the indulgence granted to lieutenants in the line, of retiring upon half-pay with the rank of captain, was restricted to such a number in the marines, as there might be first-lieutenants upon the half-pay of the corps. There were at that time more than sixty first-lieutenants of a rank prior to 1812: many of them applied for this indulgence, but it was refused to all but fifteen, the number of the first-lieutenants actually upon half-pay. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

"We must all have heard with peculiar satisfaction, upon va- rious occasions, of the estimation in which brevet rank was held when bestowed for services in the field; and I will venture to say, that no men value more highly the distinction of rank for services performed, than the officers of Marines. It is their peculiar lot to serve in detachments, and seldom or never do they serve from under the control of a superior officer; so that few opportunities occur for distinction. Under these circumstances it will not be deemed presumptuous in me, I hope, to suggest that in those general actions, which upon some future day may be fought, permission may be given to the commander-in-chief of the fleet to recommend three or four of the senior officers of marines for brevet rank, according to the strength of the fleet or squadron. It has hitherto been the custom to recommend the senior officer only, and this pretension to reward will scarcely put them on a footing (which is all they ask) with officers of their own rank in the same fleet; for the first-lieutenant of every line-of-battle ship was promoted after all the general victories during the war.
" With the exception of the attack upon Algiers, when three officers of Marines obtained brevet rank, but one only had that distinction in the other naval actions; and several were fought without any honour being conferred upon the senior officer of marines. Not more than ten officers appear to have had brevet rank given them during the late war.
" Rank by brevet is the only distinction, according to existing regulations, which can be given with justice to the junior ranks m a seniority corps; and below the rank of captain, merit, however distinguished, must go unrewarded. It has been deemed injurious to the service generally (although well deserved by the individual) to bestow the brevet rank of captain upon a lieutenant; but in several instances in the Royal Artillery, as I have been credibly informed, the subaltern officers so distinguished had the brevet rank of major given to them three years after they had arrived at the rank of captain in the regiment. There have been four instances, I have been told, of this nature: their services having been noted, they ultimately obtained a recompense. The same measure of justice has not prevailed in the Marines; for in 1814 there was an instance of a subaltern officer having been nominated to the brevet rank of captain, by the recommendation of the Board of Admiralty, for distinguished conduct in the field, and who was forced to relinquish that rank; but he did not get the brevet rank of major, after having served three years as a captain in the corps.
" Such has been the slowness of promotion in the marines, that those officers who came into the service as second-lieutenants in 180fi, are not only still captains without brevet rank, but they are at least sixty from the head of the list; whereas all the subalterns, or nearly so, of that date in the Royal Artillery, are brevet majors. This is a striking instance of the advantage of second-captains in a seniority corps, and of the benefits derived from a brevet rank for distinguished services; and strange as it may appear, there are twenty-seven subalterns of marines upon the list of first-lieutenants, whose first commissions were dated before the conclusion of the war. It may probably be thought worthy of consideration, whether length of actual service, reckoning from the date of the first commission, may not have a claim to brevet rank in a general promotion, in preference to the length of service in the rank of captain. I fear it may be thought that I have been prolix in my statement with regard to officers of the rank of captain, but the subject was of so much importance, that I thought it incumbent upon me to dwell upon the hardships of the junior ranks of the service ; and I wished to impress upon the members of this Commission that the officers of marines in command of companies, although they have served with less pecuniary advantages than those of the same rank in the army, yet from length of service, and other circumstances which have been detailed, have some claim to the increase of Is. \d. per diem to the present day.
" In conclusion, I am decidedly of opinion that the advantages which flow from a permanent establishment of officers of the higher grades, are those which will most essentially benefit any military establishment, however it may be constituted."
Sir Richard, in support of this last observation, submitted a proposal to form the ninety companies of Marines into nine battalions, making each battalion to consist of 1000 men, including officers. The senior officer of the corps should not only reside in London but sit at the Board of Admiralty whenever discussions arose respecting the Marines, or when details were to be made out for the performance of the duties which might be required of them. Two battalions to be stationed at each of the four divisions, and one battalion at Pembroke. They were to be denominated first and second battalions, giving to the commandants of the first battalions not less than £2. 5s. per diem, and to those of the second battalions £1. 10.? per diem.

If each battalion had a colonel-commandant and three fieldofficers, there would be twenty-seven field-officers, besides commandants; nor can this arrangement be deemed an unreasonable number for 9,000 men, when the Royal Artillery have forty-two field-officers and thirty colonels to 7,000 men.
The permanent retired establishment of the corps should remain as it is, with the exception of the colonels second-commandant, which rank should be abolished; viz. 8 colonels commandant, 4 lieutenant-colonels, 25 captains, and 10 first-lieutenants; and that each officer should retire upon the full-pay of the rank he then held in the corps, although he should have arrived at the rank of major-general. That no vacancy should remain open upon that list, and to this end, the senior officer of the rank below should be promoted and placed pro tempore in the vacancy; and whenever an officer of that rank in the serving corps should retire, the unattached officer should immediately take his place for duty. In case of the removal of the senior colonel of a second battalion to the retired list of colonels-commandant unattached, he would become entitled, of course, to the increase of pay from £1. 10s. to £2. 5s. per diem; for although he does not gain a step in rank, being already a colonel, yet he is duly entitled to the increase of pay, otherwise his removal would be a pecuniary injury. By these means, whenever officers are tardy in retiring, they will not on that account impede the promotion of those below them. Although it is stated in the report of the Commission, in reference to sir Richard Williams, " We have had the satisfaction of placing his suggestions upon the records of our proceedings and have given full consideration to them in the conclusions at which we have arrived," it would be difficult to trace the adoption of that officer's disinterested proposals. There was an almost unanimous evidence of the benefit that would arise to the corps from an increase of field-officers, (and subsequent events have proved the inconvenience and injury to the public service from the inattention to these recommendations,) but the Commission, " although prepared to admit the force of colonel Owen's argument, that the Marines had a title to an additional number of officers of the higher ranks, to give them a fair proportion of promotion with the other branches of the service, and as it was shown to us that this additional number was not needed on the effective list, we are disposed to recommend to your Majesty an addition of two lieutenant-colonels to the retired full-pay establishment, making the numbers of that rank to whom full-pay may be granted six instead of four ;" and " in furtherance of the object we have in view, of increasing the number of promotions to the rank of field-officers, we would suggest that two lieutenant-colonels of Marines should be allowed annually to retire upon half ! ! pay, as a permanent provision."

Now it must be obvious to every one, on a moment's reflection, that the extent of the boon recommended by the Commission to compensate the claim which is admitted in their report, is limited to the retirement of two lieutenant-colonels on full-pay, for it would be absurd to suppose that an officer of that standing would ask for half-pay ; and as a reference to the retired list will prove that this compensation for long services has never been sought after, it is evident that this proposed arrangement has been a dead letter. It will be observed, that for the same object in the regiment of Royal Artillery, there is a recommendation of the Commission for the retirement of four lieutenant-colonels annually on FULL-pay.

This recommendation has been faithfully carried out in the Royal Artillery ever since the Commission made its report; and it will be seen, that at the rate of four lieutenant-colonels annually, it has produced a promotion in that corps of at least thirty captains to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. A corresponding liberal arrangement conferred upon the Marines, during the same period, would have remedied the grievances so justly complained of; and while it removed all cause of complaint, the corps would have been efficient in its upper ranks, and with the advantage arising from casualties, promotion would have taken care of itself.
The Commission acknowledged the claim of the captains of marines to the same personal pay as captains of infantry of the line: but in recommending its adoption, the advantage is restricted to those serving ashore ; so that when a captain of Marines is employed on foreign service, which ought to entitle him to higher reward, he actually loses thirteen pence per diem, while those of every other rank have the same pay wherever serving ; and by this unjust restriction the captain of Marines is the only officer serving in the fleet subject to this deduction of pay for his provisions. There is another grievance that bears hard upon the captains of Marines, with reference to the unjust stipulation for the distribution of prize-money to field-officers, which we have already noticed. Sir Richard Williams remarked, " When I turn to the Gazettes, and read the testimonies that have been given of the uniform good conduct and exemplary services of the Marines, ' per mare, per terram,' and when I read the letter of the gallant admiral who communicated to the corps in 1802 the pleasure of his Majesty, that for its distinguished services the corps should be made ' Royal,' I feel quite convinced that the Board of Admiralty will have great satisfaction in reconsidering the subject of the distribution of prize-money." But notwithstanding the recommendation of the Commission, we have yet to learn that the proclamation of 1836 has been rescinded. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1834. Wednesday 30th April. Additional retirements on full and half-pay. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1834. Friday. 15th August. Private Charles Welch R.M. Naval General Service Medal 1793 to 1840 bar “SYRIA” (HMS Stromboli).
Born Britford, Salisbury, Wiltshire Approx. 1814, Trade, Labourer Enlisted by Serjt. A.W.Simpson 15th August 1834 on a bounty of 3 pounds Attestation papers to serve in the Royal Marines at Portsmouth on 16th August 1834 and was read the Articles of War regarding Mutiny and Desertion he then took the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity and received the sum of Ten shillings and Sixpence. The Surgeon then declared him as fit for His Majesty’s service. The commanding officer certified that he was satisfied with the correctness of the Attestation and he was entered in the Regimental Register with the number of 1157. He had joined the 85 Company of the Portsmouth Division of Royal Marines.
On the 21st March 1836 he joined HMS Vanguard (to 2nd April 1840) a 78-gun (or 80-gun) second-rate ship of the line, launched on 25 August 1835 at Pembroke Yard and commanded by Captain Thomas Fellowes (from January 1837 and April 1840) in the Mediterranean.
Vanguard had been commissioned at Portsmouth on 19 Mar 1836 and began her sea trials in July calling at Plymouth and then sailing to Cork. They returned to Plymouth to continue her trials and then on the 20th October they for Lisbon, Cadiz and then Malta. This means he would have been on board when on the morning of June 8th, all crews were mustered on decks to witness the execution of Private Thomas McSweeney, Royal Marines HMS Rodney who was hanged from Rodney’s yard-arm for an assault on Lance Sergeant James T. Allen also of Rodney which resulted in Allen’s demise soon afterwards. They remained in the Mediterranean with the British and French Fleets until ordered home in January 1840, in February they left Malta for Portsmouth arriving 17th March and Welch left Vanguard on 2nd April.
4th September 1840 joined HMS Stromboli a 1st class Paddle sloop of 1839 Commanded by Commander Woodford John Williams. Sailed for Malta on the 6th September and arrived in Gibraltar on 12th. On the 13th they sailed to join Vice Admiral Sir Robert Stopford fleet in the Levant. On 25 Sep 1840 Stromboli was part of Napiers force detailed to take possession of Sidon.
Sidon the main Depot for the Egyptian army was held by about 2700 men, it was quite well protected by a fort and other various defences. A mixed party including 750 marines landed and attacked on 26th, the fighting while fierce did not result in many casualties on either side, the British loss being 11 killed and 39 wounded. This included Stromboli’s casualties of 1 marine (Leiut C.T. Hockin) killed with 3 marines severely wounded and 1 marine slightly wounded. These appear to have been caused while storming the fortress which commanded the town. Of the three severely wounded was Charles Welch who lost three fingers from one hand.(Napier in his dispatch of September 29th says one marine officer and three seamen killed and two mates one boatswain and thirty seamen wounded. While a more detailed list is included in the London Gazette giving ship by ship)
See of 17 Nov 1840.HMS Stromboli continued with the fleet off Syria including the bombardment and capture of Acre on the 3rd/4th November (if Welch was still on board is not recorded but he would have qualified for the Turkish Medal even if he had not been).Welch’s papers state that he left Stromboli on the 3rd December 1840.24th December 1840, A divisional board (Col. Parks C.B., Captain Mercer and Captain Evans) looking at the discharge of 1157 Charles Welch of the 85 Company Plymouth Royal Marine Division remarked that “Wounded at the storming of Sidon” for which he has received a Smart Ticket.
He has served afloat and on Foreign Stations for 4 years 3 months 13 days and with a total service on shore in the United Kingdom 2 years and 28 days (total 6 years, 4 months 11 days).The Cause of his discharge is in consequence of having lost three fingers (Wounded in Action) contracted in the service and per Admiralty order dated 22nd December 1840.The Defaulters book was examined and parole testimony from other sources heard. His conduct was found to be Very Good and he received from his senior officer Capitan Mercer a high testimony of his good conduct during the four years that he served under Capitan Mercers immediate command. Being asked if he had any claims against the service he stated none other than 13 days conduct money. The board verified that his ledger account was balanced and signed by the pay Capitan of his division then approved his discharge which was signed and dated 26th December 1840 (the report No.3437) Discharged in 1840 as an invalid.
Note:- Smart Money – Money paid to a sailor who has a Smart Ticket (Smart Certificate), which was issued to a man who had been injured or wounded in the performance of his duty. The smart ticket was the formal certificate signed by the ship's standing officers and the captain, 1st lieutenant, master and surgeon which attested to the wound described. (

1834. Sunday 7th - 9th September. Imogene and Andromache engaged in the Canton River.

1834. Royal Marines supported the Queen of Spain's forces during the First Carlist War.

1834 - 1839. The First Carlist War with Spain. Lieutenant Charles Hockin, Royal Marines St. Felicitas, Phillack, Cornwall The Man Phillack is on the north coast of Cornwall, across a canal from Hayle, and separated from St. Ives Bay by a stretch of sand dunes. It is an area which in the early 19th century was a centre of copper mining and smelting, and in the early 19th century the rector there was a native of that place, William Hockin. Hockins had been rectors there since 1754, when one of the family purchased from Baron Arundell of Wardour “the lease for three lives of presentation to the rectory of Phillack, with the chapelry of Gwithian”, and Hockins then remained as rectors of Phillack until 1922. It strikes me that if you wanted to indicate how the way we think now differs profoundly from the way our ancestors thought that tale stands as an exemplar. How on Earth can someone buy the right to appoint a vicar? For three generations? The church was rebuilt, apart from the tower, in 1856, but the Hockins carried on.  Ironic that William’s fifth son, Charles Francis, born in 1813, was to feature in two of the more obscure campaigns of the century that, unlike most of the others mentioned here, were not empire-building, and did not really involve Britain, although British troops were involved. The scion of a line of Church of England vicars was to be decorated by a Catholic monarch, and die fighting to support a Muslim one. The Background Hockin’s active military life appears to have been dedicated to obscure conflicts, as four years in Northern Spain were as part of a Royal Marine force in a struggle that was a Spanish civil war, in essence nothing to do with Britain – but we do like to interfere. This war is known as the First Carlist War, so called because it was about the putative claim to the throne of Carlos, younger brother of Ferdinand VII. In four marriages Ferdinand had only daughters, so in 1830 he introduced the Pragmatic Sanction, removing the existing Salic law (only introduced the previous century) which prohibited women from succeeding to the throne. The corollary of this was that Carlos was no longer the heir to the throne, which was presumably fairly galling for an ambitious man in his early forties, and for his supporters. When Ferdinand died in 1833 he was succeeded by his infant daughter, Isabella, with his wife Maria Christina being appointed regent. The stage was set for the conflict, with the opposing sides named after their chief protagonists: the Carlists were in favour of absolute monarchy and, in a rather contradictory fashion, regional autonomy (hence support from the Basques), were conservative and traditional in terms of religion, and had support from the Austrians, Prussians and Russians; the Christinos were more liberal and progressive in political and religious terms, were more popular in the cities, and had support from Britain, France and Portugal. In essence, it was yet another conflict between liberals and conservatives, with corruption and venality thrown in. The Campaign The fighting began in 1834, and from the outset appears to have been conducted with savagery; prisoners were not taken, with all that that implies. Although both sides won battles the Carlists on the whole had the better of the exchanges, so in 1835 the Christinos asked their allies for help. Neither Britain nor France really wanted to get too involved, so the French sent their Foreign Legion, which was causing disruption in France anyway, and the British sanctioned the creation of what was essentially a mercenary force called the Westminster Legion, a volunteer force under one Sir George de Lacy Evans. By October 1835 the French had landed four thousand men, and the British seven thousand, eight hundred. So was our brave Lieutenant Hockin a mercenary? The answer is no, for in April 1836 a force of British marines garrisoned the Basque port of Portugalete, to the west of Bilbao, and British ships lay off the coast. The intention seems to have been precautionary, or to act in some form of support capacity, but not to get too involved, as indicated by an incident in March, 1837, when the marines were drawn into the capture of the fortress of Oriamendi near San Sebastian, but were then ordered back, allowing the Carlists to retake it. This seems to have been the pattern throughout the marines’ tenure. Although Charles was decorated for his services by Maria Christina, a contemporary source, Alexander Somerville, who fought in the war as part of the British Legion, makes it clear in his memoirs that the marines rarely saw major action. Charles Hockin, as a marine, had to be a hero, for political expediency, to justify his presence, but it was a symbolic as much as a practical role. A temporary peace came to Spain in August 1839, when the defeated Carlist forces agreed terms. It would not last, but by then Hockin and the Marines had moved on. (

1835. A Royal Marine Battalion and Royal Marine Axillary Battery were in Spain during the Carlist War that came to a close in1840.

1835. A Battalion of Royal Marines were in Portugal. “On Thursday morning at 6 o’clock, 2 officers and 200 Rank and File of the Royal Marines and 5 officers and 90 Gunners RMA embarked on board HMS Talavera and HMS Britannia, left Portsmouth for Plymouth where they were Joined by 7 officers and 200 Rank and File from that division and HMS Romney troop ship. They took with them 4 guns and a Brigade of Rockets. Never did a finer body of men quit the shores of England. They have orders to join Admiral Parker, and it said Don Miguel will very soon be made acquainted with the object of their mission. The Portsmouth contingent was to be transferred to HMS Romney at Plymouth and the Plymouth one to embark for passage in HMS Caledonia (Contemporary new paper 30th May).

1836. Wednesday 11th May. An order in Council abolished the office of Inspector General of Marines. The creation of this office, in March 1831, produced a feeling of dissatisfaction in the Corps, that called for loud and general remonstrance, for it will scarcely be credited that the appointment was conferred upon a civilian (he having sold out of the service many years previously) totally unconnected with the Marines, and who, to have authority and control over the Colonels of Divisions, was created a Major General. This act of injustice produced a feeling of respectful remonstrance, until the discontent became too apparent to be disregarded; and another Board of Admiralty, with a due consideration for the welfare of the Corps, removed the Inspector General, and restored the Command of the Marines to the hands of one of its distinguished veterans. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1836. May to October. Operations against pirates in Straits of Malacca.

1836. Monday 6th June. The Battle of Ametza.

1836. The Brunswick rifle, a muzzle-loading weapon, is introduced to replace the Baker and remains in production until 1885.

1836-7 Carlist War. Pique, Castor and Salamander concerned.

1837. Thursday 16th March. The Battle of Hernani.

1837. Friday 28th April. John Gowen RM died aged 74 years at Kiama, Illawarra NSW. Having arrived in the Colony as a member of the First Fleet and filled the situation of Government Store Keeper for the long period of 22 years. When he retired on a pension for his honest and upright services; he is deeply regretted by his relations, and all that knew him.
Taken from the Sydney Monitor (NSW: 1828-1838), Wednesday 10th May 1837 on page 3). (Sic)

1837. Monday 12th June. The lords commissioners of the Admiralty, taking into consideration the recommendation of the House of Commons of 1833, to appropriate the sinecures of general, lieutenant-general, major-general, and colonel of ma- rines for the creation of pensions to be given as rewards for distinguished and good services to officers of the navy and marines, determined that the amount of £1728. 15s. per annum to the general of marines, which became available on the death of lord de Saumarez; and the four colonelcies, on the death of sir C. Cole and the promotion of captains Skipsey, Irby, and Bouverie, amounting to £2,761. 16s. 8c? should be appropriated to create six pensions of £300 for flag-officers, and eighteen pensions of £150 per annum for officers of the rank of captain of the navy, and general officers and colonels of marines, but to cease on their promotion or appointment to service.
Thus, terminated an iniquitous system which, in spite of earnest and respectful remonstrance, had continued in force seventy-four years; for however deserving the gallant officers of the navy undoubtedly were to rewards from the nation, it was unjustifiable to take this emolument from a corps that was so eminently entitled to consideration and recompense for its important services. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1837. Tuseday 20th June. Her Majesty Queen Victoria ascended the Throne and commenced the long reign which was to bring such glory and honour to England, but the year found the fortunes of the Corps at a very low ebb.

The numbers voted were 9007, but the RM Artillery had officially ceased to exist - a School of Laboratory and nominally two companies quartered at Fort Cumberland as part of the Portsmouth Division only being maintained. The Portsmouth Division were still in the old inadequate Clarence Barracks in the High Street; Plymouth and Chatham were in their present barracks, which had not then been enlarged to their present size, and Woolwich were in the western part of the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Owing to the long peace and the neglect of the Services, promotion was stagnant and a Commission was held this year which makes very sad reading: as a result an Order in Council was published on 21st June 1837 increasing the Establishment of Retired Officers, which afforded some relief, but gives a sorry picture of the position of affairs: "The Inefficiency of the Officers holding the rank of Colonel Commandant in the Royal Marines who, from slowness of promotion in the Corps, must almost necessarily have reached an age incapacitating them from active exertion before they attain command of a Division, has occupied the serious attention of successive Boards of Admiralty. Further steps are necessary. At a survey held by our orders by a member of the Board, the Physician General of the Navy, and the DAG Royal Marines, three out of the four Commandants were found unfit to discharge their duties. The Board therefore propose to create six additional retirements on Full Pay for Colonels Commandant, the full and retired pay to be £1.18.6 per diem. Also three retirements on full pay for Colonels 2nd Commandant, one additional full pay retirement for Lieutenant Colonels and five for Captains This made the full pay retired establishment up to 8 Colonels Commandant, 3 for Colonels 2nd Commandant, 4 for Lieutenant Colonels (there was an increase to 6 on 10 August 1840), 25 for Captains and 10 for First Lieutenants The Order went on to say that experience of late years had shown that owing to the number of men embarked in small ships without officers etc, the number of officers on shore, in proportion to men, was larger than required; the number of companies was therefore reduced to 90 with 2 Artillery Companies, allowing one Captain and two Subalterns to each, thereby reducing 12 Captains and 4 Subalterns, also abolishing the supernumerary Artillery Captain, though he was restored on 15 May, 1838. Further, to place the Marine Corps on the same footing as the Artillery and Engineers, and to accelerate promotion the 2nd Commandants were granted the rank of Colonel, and the rank of Major was abolished. Of the Subalterns, two-thirds were to be First-Lieutenants and the remainder Second-Lieutenants On 1st January 1838, Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Owen (afterwards KCB KH) became DAG, an appointment that he held until 12 December 1854; under his fostering care conditions in the Corps much improved. Sidearms - On 5 November 1837 an order was issued that Army and Marines were to discontinue wearing of sidearms except on duty. This of course did not affect the Sergeants' swords and at the same time the exception must have been made which allowed Corporals of the Portsmouth Division to wear them when walking out. Prior to this they must have been generally worn, because an order of 30 January 1830 (Plymouth) shows that a punishment for misconduct was deprivation of wearing sidearms in streets or at Church Parade except on duty. In 1838 the numbers voted were 9,000. In 1839 the numbers voted were 9000. Officers - On 19th December it was laid down that in future all candidates for Commissions would be required to possess competent knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, euclid and trigonometry, and be able to write English from dictation: the examinations were held at the RN College, Greenwich.

1837. Wednesday 21st June. An order in Council gave six additional retirements of full-pay for Colonels Commandant, which placed the establishment as follows, Eight for Colonels Commandant, two for Colonels, Second Commandant, four for Lieutenant Colonels, twenty five for Captains, ten for First Lieutenants.

It must be a very rare and extraordinary circumstance that would induce a Second Commandant to take the retirement, for being so near a preferment of much greater consideration, it is not to be expected that a man would forego the advantage almost within his reach. By adding those two offices, (which are never filled), to those of Colonels Commandant, a boon would be conferred on the Corps, but to accelerate promotion and improve the health and vigour of the service, the Commandants of Divisions ought to be placed on the same footing as the appointments in the Royal Navy, in which service they are limited to a certain period, and when vacancies occurred on the retired list, and a Commandant of division had held that office four years, he should be compelled to withdraw from active service on the honourable and liberal retirement afforded him.

Another order in Council of the same date abolished the rank of major, making the establishment— four colonels, four colonels-en-second, twelve lieutenant-colonels, four divisional pay-masters, four barrack-masters, four surgeons, four assistantsurgeons. Another lieutenant-colonel was subsequently added, exclusive of the officers of artillery. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1837. Wednesday 21st June. An order in Council abolished the rank of Major, making the establishment, four Colonels, four Colonels-en-second, twelve Lieutenant Colonels, four divisional pay masters, four barrack masters, four surgeons, four assistant surgeons. Another Lieutenant Colonel was subsequently added, exclusive of the officers of artillery. It can be seen, by the following statement, that in abolishing the rank of Major, the Corps was deprived of four field officers.

1837. Friday 14th July. The Admiralty ordered a regulation be introduced for pensions to the non-commissioned officers and privates.

It will be seen, by the following statement, that in abolishing the rank of major, the corps was deprived of four field officers:
Establishment of the Corps, in Colonels Commandant in London.

By an Admiralty order of the 14th of July, a regulation was introduced for the pensions to the non-commissioned officers and privates to this effect. "Twenty-one years' service at sea or on foreign service, shall entitle him to his discharge and pension; two years' service on shore in England shall be allowed to reckon as one year served afloat for this purpose ; but no marine shall be entitled to such pension, who shall not have served ten years actually at sea or on foreign service."

It would be difficult to comprehend the object intended by this unjust, degrading, and injurious restriction. We can understand that the disinclination of a soldier to embark when required should be punished, but because a Marine obediently and loyally does his duty in the various garrisons, in conjunction with the troops of the line, that he shall be deprived of the reward held out to those of every other Corps in her Majesty's service, is a stipulation as inequitable as it is destructive of the best interests of the service. Its effect has long been felt in procuring recruits for the Marines, and as the pernicious system has been deprecated by those, who with the desire to promote the welfare of the Corps are now in a position to support the claims of those enduring servants of the crown, we have reason to expect that the order of 1837 will be rescinded. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1837. Wednesday 27th October. Captain John McArthur with a subaltern and forty men of the Royal Marines was placed in charge of a settlement of Port Essington in the Northern Territories of Australia. (1854). This settlement lasted longer than the one at Melville Island.

1837. Sunday 5th November. An order was issued that Army and Marines were to discontinue wearing of sidearms except on duty. This of course did not affect the Sergeants' swords and at the same time the exception must have been made which allowed Corporals of the Portsmouth Division to wear them when walking out. Prior to this they must have been generally worn, because an order of 30 January 1830 (Plymouth) shows that a punishment for misconduct was deprivation of wearing sidearms in streets or at Church Parade except on duty.

1838. Monday 12th - 13th March. Prescot in Canada. Lieutenant C.A. Parker, Royal Marines, and 30 Privates formed part of the force of 300 Infantry and 40 Militia Cavalry which, under the command of Colonel Young K.H. engaged and defeated a body of 800 Americans and Canadian insurgents, who with 2 guns had entrenched themselves near the village of Prescot on Lake Ontario. The village was defended by a few men of the 83rd Regiment, 30 of the Royal Marines, and such of the Glengarry Militia as had had time to collect. The American force after landing had taken up a position in which they were protected by the walls of an orchard, from behind which they kept up a galling fire upon the advancing Marines, while later pushed on, firing as objects offered. In this position of affairs, Lance Corporal James Hunn, Royal Marines, who was on the right of the British line, ran forward and jumped over the wall which covered the American sharpshooters, and found himself on the extreme left, and almost in contact with six or seven of them, who were separated from their main body by another wall running perpendicular to that which covered their front. These men were either loading or in the act of firing at the advancing Marines when Hunn leaped the wall, and were so intent on their occupation that they did not notice Hunn until he was on them, so that he was able to close with them, and was seen by his commanding officers to bayonet three one after the other before they had time to load their pieces and fire. A fourth man, whose piece was loaded, turned and fired, and his ball struck the swell of Hunn’s Musket, where it was grasped by the left hand, which it passed through. Destroying the second finger, while at the same time the Musket was driven violently against his stomach as for a moment to suspend his breath. Recovering himself, however, he fired effectively at the enemy, now in full retreat, but his disabled hand prevented his again loading, and he was most unwilling oblige to give up any further shares in the glory of the day, after having thus accounted for four of the enemy.

Captain Sandon, in his official despatch says “It may appear invidious to particularise any one man of a small band of Marines engaged, where all have shone so conspicuous, but I trust I may stand excused for naming James Hunn, acting Corporal, a young man twenty years of age, who, in the melee with the rebels, was seen by his officers and companions of beat back seven of the pirates, three of whom fell  dead before him, and although at this time having his left hand shattered by a rifle ball, he still continued the unequal contest. I feelingly hope such a noble example of bravery and devotion will plead my excuse for urging you to move the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to bestow promotion and a medal upon this valiant young soldier. He is in every way fit to become an Officer.

Hunn was in consequence prompted to the Rank of Sergeant without passing through the intermediate grade of Corporal. The poor fellow died a year or two after, a victim to yellow fever, while serving aboard HMS Arab on the coast of Africa.”(Deeds of Naval Daring, Giffard 1852).

1838. Saturday 5th May. A Legion at San Sebastian, aided by the fire of HMS Phoenix and other ships, drove off the Carlists and captured some guns, but had later to fall back to San Sebastian. The Royal Marine Battalion was brought round to Portugalette and proceeded to Bilbao, but after a week was withdrawn and returned to San Sebastian.

1838. Tuesday 15th May. A supernumerary Captain of Artillery appointed. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1838. Sunday 27th May. The Third Brigade of the Legion, supported by the Royal Marines, advanced across the river Urimea to the east of San Sebastian, covered by the fire of the steamers and gunboats, and the guns on the Fortifications together with the RMA Field Battery. They forded the river in three places and bivouacked on a hill near Ametza, whilst a feint was made to the westward by a detachment of Royal Marines in the Salamander and Reyna to draw off the Carlists.

1838. Monday 28th May, 70 men of the Castor under Lieutenants Halliday and Langley were taken to the eastward and landed at Passages, where they marched to the top of the hill, which commanded the harbour and the hills round. On the next day they were reinforced by Lieutenant Clapperton and 12 RMA; here they built a redoubt, under the direction of Lord John Hay, which was shaped like a ship and was given the name of the 'Ship'. It was armed with two 6 prs and two 3prs, also a 4 pr and 20 pr Rocket Tube. Seamen from the Fleet came up to help make and can the redoubt; also a company under a Captain from the Battalion. It was only about six miles across country to San Sebastian, so they could watch the fighting going on there. About 2 am on the 9th June the little garrison of 300 was attacked by 400 Carlists. At daylight, when visibility was better, the Carlists were driven off: Lieutenant Langley was wounded in the leg and gained the Order of San Fernando. The garrison of the 'Ship' was than augmented by two companies from the Marine Battalion, also the Marines of the HMS Pearl, HMS Tweed, and HMS Royalist, besides 300 Spaniards and 4 Companies from the Legion.

1838. Tuesday 26th June. A commission of inquiry into the system of naval and military promotion and retirement, had its first sitting. This proceeding originated in the spontaneous efforts of a certain Member of Parliament, who, seeing how much the officers of Marines were aggrieved, independently espoused their cause, and brought the matter before the House of Commons.

Colonel Sir Richard Williams of the Marines, and a member of the Commission, explained to the Board the object of this inquiry: "In January 1837, there were upon the list of officers actually serving, one Colonel Commandant resident in London, and four Colonels, each in the command of a division, who had not been less than fifty-eight years in the service; 21 field-officers forty-five years; the senior Captains more than thirty-five years, and more than 50 Subalterns who had been upwards of twenty-five years in that rank. The retired list at that time was limited to two Colonels Commandant, three Lieutenant Colonels, three Majors, twenty Captains, twelve first and ten Second Lieutenants; and although two of the Colonels in command of divisions had applied for permission to retire, they could not obtain it. Under these circumstances there was much discontent, and the subject was at length brought forward in the House of Commons by Lord George Lennox, who advocated the pretensions of the officers to promotion; and his lordship was only induced to withdraw his motion, upon assurance on the part of the secretary of the Admiralty that the Board had it in contemplation to do what he thought would be beneficial to the service, and acceptable to the Royal Marines, whose merits had been acknowledged. The dissolution of Parliament stopped all further proceedings for the moment; but before a new Parliament had assembled, a measure was carried into effect which was satisfactory to the Corps, but injurious to the service, and tending to cripple it in one material branch; and although the House of Commons, with great liberality, agreed to afford relief by a vote for any reasonable sum of money for that purpose, it was a manifest disappointment to the officers to know, that in the navy estimates for 1838 the sum voted was less by £1,500 for the Marines, than in the preceding estimate for 1837.

"This measure, as has been before observed, being carried into effect, gave an important benefit to the corps, by an extension of retirement. Four colonels in addition were placed upon it, and permission for two more if required; three lieutenant-cololonels, one major, and twenty-seven captains also obtained retirement on a separate list and allowed to die off; and there was likewise an opening made for two colonels second-commandant. The rank of major was abolished a system which had been carried into effect in the Royal Artillery, at least ten years before.
" Although this benefit was considerable, the boon held out to the officers, by the retirement of many and the promotion of others, was rendered less valuable by the avowed intention of the Board to cover the expense incurred by lessening the pay of the colonels commanding divisions, and by the reduction of four field-officers, twelve captains, sixty Serjeants, sixty corpo- rals, and thirty-six drummers: this measure therefore tended to cripple the establishment.
" The pay and emoluments of a colonel of an infantry regi- ment, known to be from £1000 to £1200 per annum, and conferred as a reward for good services; are nevertheless a perfect sinecure; while the pay of a colonel-commandant of marines, who had most important duties to perform, does not exceed £700 per annum, after a service probably of fifty or sixty years.
"The officers of marines are naturally led to look at the supe- rior advancement of other corps in her Majesty's service, but more especially to the regiment of Royal Artillery, the constitution of which is similar to their own. But there is one peculiar difference : the colonels of Marines arriving at the rank of major-general, have been compelled to retire upon the unattached pay of that rank, or about £400 per annum, and not to return to the corps ; but as the colonels of artillery, although unattached major-generals, succeed to the command of battalions, with an increase of pay and emoluments, it is a hardship upon the colonels of Marines to be compelled to retire, unless upon the pay of the rank they then hold, as colonels-commandant. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1838. The numbers voted were 9,000.

1838. Saturday 27th October. The Chatham Riot. There occurred a remarkable incident in Chatham, which left two Marines dead, and several others seriously injured. Even after the conviction of a number of those involved, their motives remained a mystery.

The incident took place on the evening of the 27th of October 1838, when a group of about twenty Irish soldiers of the 67th and 74th Regiments of the Chatham garrison marched, armed with sticks and bludgeons, into Chatham High Street. The object soon became apparent. They were looking for Marines and sailors to attack. Why they should want to do this is not known, but they soon discovered a small party of marines. The Marines, not expecting trouble were unarmed, taken by surprise, they were all soon badly beaten, some being very seriously injured.

Eventually, the soldiers reached the 'Navy Arms' public house, where a group of marines including a Cpl King and Privates Robert Ross and James Barrett were having a quiet drink of porter and a smoke of their pipes. The time was a little after 8 o'clock and they had been there for about three hours, all being regulars of the pub. Suddenly four members of the 67th and ten or eleven members of the 74th, armed with sticks burst in. With them came Sergeant of Marines, William Ross, whom onlookers assumed was part of their party since he was laughing and joking with them. In fact, news had reached him that a group of soldiers were out looking for trouble and he joined them in an attempt to defuse the situation.

The soldiers ordered drinks, which they downed rapidly, and then they began to get rowdy, banging their sticks on the floor. The landlady, Johanna Huddington, anticipating trouble, asked James Chidley, the pubs resident fiddler, to quietly ask the marines to go into the back room, They, not realising the danger they were in refused, saying 'they won't hurt us', so she then told Chidley to play his fiddle in an attempt to calm things down, which appeared to work, several of the soldiers starting to dance and one even getting Sergeant Ross to his feet and started to dance with him. So relaxed did the situation appear to get, that one of the soldiers even pretended to give Sergeant Ross a kiss.

Then suddenly, without provocation, one of them struck Private Robert Ross, who was sat by the door, across the head with a huge club. A blow for which he was completely unprepared. Immediately as if it was signal, all the other marines were attacked, and within minutes they were badly beaten and bleeding. The soldiers then moved on, but an urgent message sent to the Garrison Headquarters had caused the guard to be turned out and it was on its way. Things then calmed down very quickly especially when a group of soldiers suspected of being the ringleaders were arrested. Meanwhile the injured marines had been taken to the Melville Hospital, where three of the most seriously injured Ross, Sholdrake and Jeffcott, gave grave cause for concern. Late, the following Sunday, Private Ross died.

On Monday following his death, the two Regiments were paraded in the barracks, for witnesses to pick any they believe involved in the incident, as a result of which parade, several other men were detained. An inquest on Ross was held at the 'King's Arms" on Wednesday to decide the cause of his death and as was the custom at that time; his body was displayed at the pub for the jury to view. By then it was not a pretty sight. Although the body bore an awful head wound, which exposed part of his skull, the cause of death was not as straightforward as might be expected.

Early Victorian hospitals were not the place in which to spend much time, if one valued one's health, and Melville Hospital was no exception. During his brief period of life in the hospital he contracted Erysipelas, a disease that was prevalent there at the time. There was therefore some dispute as to what actually killed him. Was it the blow to head? Or the disease he had contracted in the hospital after he arrived there? After a day of deliberation the inquest had to be adjourned.

When the inquest was reconvened, the Coroner laid great stress, particularly in his summing up, on whether it was a straightforward case of murder or was it manslaughter. In other words, would Ross have died from the blow to his head alone or was the wound aggravated by the Erysipelas, the cause of death. After hearing all the evidence the Coroner then asked the jury for their verdict. Normally, this would have been instantly forthcoming, but not this time. The jury requested further time to deliberate, and then requested a quiet room be provided for them. After an hour and thirty-seven minutes, they returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" and cited three men, Callaghan, Lyons and Connell, all of the 67th Regiment, as the principals and another three men of the 67th and three of the 74th Regiment as 'Aids and Abettors'.

All were then bound over and committed to the Maidstone Goal, to appear at the Spring Assizes of 1839. While the body of Robert Ross was taken that same day for burial in the New Burial grounds, Chatham.

In the mean while another of the Marines had died in the hospital; this was Charles Jeffcott, one of the first group that had been attacked in the street, he too suffering serious head wounds. He like Ross, had, in his final hours in hospital, contracted Erysipelas, which eventually covered the whole of his body. At his inquest, the arguments, as at the inquest on Ross, were put forward and questions as to the precise cause of death, asked. Eventually a similar conclusion was reached; the jury deciding that it was again a case of 'Wilful Murder', but this time 'by persons unknown' but that a soldier, Private Joshua Sykes, of the 74th Regiment, had 'Aided and Abetted' them. He too was bound over, as had been the others.

In the town, the situation was tense. The Chatham area had a large concentration of soldiers, sailors and marines and conflict between them could have very serious consequences for the town. The civilian population was aghast, the attacks had been entirety unexpected and apparently unprovoked and retaliation by the Marines was anticipated at any time. The military authorities also expected that the violence would continue with the marines seeking to avenge their comrades, in consequence of which, they acted quickly.

As soon as the inquests were over, the Chatham Division of Marines was formed into a square in the open space of the Royal Marines Barracks. Every man, Officer, NCO and Private being present to hear Colonel Murton, the Commanding officer, read out letters he had received. The first, from the Adjutant-General praising the Marines and regretting the unfortunate incident, attached to which was another from Colonel Whare, commandant of the Chatham Garrison, who praised the self restraint of the marines and for their "unwillingness to bring disgrace upon their brother soldiers of the line, even after the most cruel and wanton attack which had been made upon them”; he went on to add that 'no exertion (on his part) shall ever be wanting to maintain those feelings of cordiality and good will which he is happy to say has long existed between the Royal Marines and the troops of the Chatham Garrison'.

The soldiers came to trial on Friday 15th March 1839; the first case to be tried was that of the wilful murder of Robert Ross. No legal council was employed on either side and several of the soldiers on trial used the opportunity to cross-examine each of the witnesses. One of these was a Mr. Ray, a surgeon at the Melville Hospital, who in his evidence stated he was not prepared to say categorically that Ross had died simply of his wounds. He added that a post mortem had shown that although the wound was life threatening, the Erysipelas was the immediate cause of death. He further stated that the disease was prevalent in the hospital at the time, but added that Ross did not appear to have contracted it prior to his injuries, he concluded by saying, that in his opinion, Ross, would in all probability have recovered from the wound, had he not contracted the Erysipelas.

When the jury retired, it was absent for only 10 minutes, and on return announced that they had found Connell, Lyons and Callaghan not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter and those charged with Aiding and Abetting "Not Guilty" on all charges. Connell was sentenced to be transported for life, while Lyons and Callaghan were to be transported for seven years.

Next to be tried was Joshua Sykes for 'Aiding and Abetting a Person or Persons Unknown in the wilful murder of Charles Jeffcott'. Sykes must have been optimistic, for he had just been acquitted of a similar charge in the Ross trial. As with the previous trial, no council was used by either side. The chief witness for the prosecution was Corporal Joseph Allen of the 6th Regiment, who had been standing outside the 'Black Boy' public house when the first attack involving Jeffcott, took place. Although Allen swore he had seen Sykes brandishing a stick over Jeffcott head, he could not say for sure who had struck the fatal blow.

The surgeon, Mr. Ray, was again called as a witness and this time stated that the blow to Jeffcott's head had severely damaged his brain, and that the cause of death was concussion of the brain and Erysipelas. Sykes was not so lucky this time and he was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

This incident was extraordinary for a number of reasons. No motive was ever discovered, nor was it the result of a drinking spree which got out of hand. Similarly, although the principal assailants were stated to be Irish, that also appears to be irrelevant as to motivation. Equally there was no evidence of any of the soldiers wanting to settle an old score, either personal or of a Regimental nature. Indeed, the very suddenness and totally unprovoked nature of the attacks is well attested too.

For example, the marines outside the 'Black Boy' or in the 'Navy Arms' did not even realise they were in any danger until it was too late. It was also extraordinary for the fact that all those found guilty, only narrowly escaped being found guilty of murder, because the doctor concerned could not be certain whether the victims had actually died of their wounds or as a result of the infection contracted in the hospital. Had both men been treated elsewhere, they may well have survived. What is certain is that although bleeding profusely, Ross was able to walk after the attack and was clearly coherent.

It is a sobering thought that in the nineteenth century, patients could frequently be at a greater risk in a hospital, than out of it.
Sources: The Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser. The Maidstone Gazette and the Kentish Courier.

Extract from a Medical Journal:
Erysipelas: Is an infection, usually of the face, caused by streptococcal bacteria, which are thought to enter the skin through a wound or sore. Young children and the elderly are often the most affected. The disorder starts abruptly with malaise, fever, headaches and vomiting. Itchy, red patches appear on the face and spread across the cheeks and bridge of the nose to form an inflamed area with raised edges. Within this area, pimples develop, that first blister, then burst, and then crust over. Modern treatment is with Penicillin, which usually clears the condition within seven days.

Modern treatment is with Penicillin, which usually clears the condition within seven days.
(Reproduction of the article and comments, courtesy of Tony Cude RMAQ Brisbane)

1838. Wednesday 19th December. It was laid down that in future all Officer candidates for Commissions would be required to possess competent knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, euclid and trigonometry, and be able to write English from dictation: the examinations were held at the RN College, Greenwich. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1839. The numbers voted were 9000.

1839. The first China War, also known as the First Opium War and also the Anglo-Chinese War. It was fought between Britain and China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice for foreign nationals. The Royal Marines served in many landings against the Chinese. The troubles went on to finally come to an end in 1842.

1839. Thursday 17th January. HMS Wellesley, flagship of the East Indian Squadron, embarked the 40th Regiment and sailed for Karachi. On Saturday 2nd February under cover of the guns of Algerine and Constance the boats landed the regiment on the beach to west-ward of the batteries, which however only fired one shot. As so many seamen were away in the boats, the Marines under Captain E B Ellis, were manning the ships' guns and opened fire until the fort was occupied. On the 4th the boats crews went to the encampment of the regiment on Marharo Hill and the regiment occupied the town. So it fell into British hands one of the most important harbours in India.

The Wellesley then went up the Persian Gulf to Bushire, where the Persians were holding up the Residency. Captain Ellis and 50 Marines were sent in the boats on 25th March to a landing place 8 miles from the Wellesley, where the boats opened fire which was not returned, and the detachment landing quickly the Persians fled; 1 Sergeant and 2 Privates were wounded. They then occupied the Residency and brought off the Admiral and Residency staff. Captain Ellis and 30 Royal Marines were left there until 30th March, when they brought off the Resident. Another small party of the Corps from HMS Volage and Cruiser were present with the force that captured Aden on Saturday19th January, 1839. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1839. Saturday 19th January. Lieutenant Ayles and Royal Marines of HMS Volage and HMS Cruiser served with combined force that effected capture of Aden.

1839. Saturday 2nd - 3rd February. Capture of Kurrachee by Wellesley, Algerine and troops.

1839. Friday 23rd August. Capture of Hong-Kong.

1839. Wednesday 4th September. Action with junks at Kowlung.

1839. Tuesday 1st October. Blockade of Canton.

1839. Sunday 3rd November. Volage and Hyacinth engaged war junks in Canton River.

1839. Thursday 19th December. It was laid down that in future all candidates for Commissions would be required to possess competent knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, euclid and trigonometry, and be able to write English from dictation: the examinations were held at the RN College, Greenwich.

1839 - 1860. Royal Marines in China. British merchants first obtained a foothold in the China trade, through the East India Company. After the Indian Mutiny, the East India Company ceased to exist and the anger which the Chinese had always felt against the intrusion of the "foreign devils" spilled over into hostility towards British traders generally, and particularly, towards the traders in opium. In 1839, British Traders were driven out of Canton and merchant shipping was attacked by a fleet of Chinese War Junks and the first of the China Wars, also called the ‘Opium Wars’, broke out in 1840. The years that followed were also colloquially known as the era of ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’.
The Royal Marines played a prominent part in the war. It was a type of warfare ideally fitted to the capabilities of an amphibious regiment. The engagements consisted for the most part, of landing parties of Marines and Bluejackets, attacking Chinese Forts, towns and strongholds in the Pearl River estuary. In this war, it was discovered that the Chinese did not protect their forts from the rear. Marines therefore, landed some distance from them and had little or no difficulty, in capturing the positions from behind; a manoeuvre which the Chinese declared to be Globe & Laurel. It was a Marine who bayoneted the Chinese Admiral Kwan, the Commander of the Chinese junks, which had first attacked the British in 1839.
The first of the China wars, 1839-42, where the Marines, during the rest of the century, saw a great deal of service. Three years earlier, the Imperial government at Peking had banned the East India Company's opium trade. Smuggling, connived by both sides, was followed by expulsions, seizures and attacks on shipping in the Pearl River. In 1840 a British squadron arrived with troops from Singapore, bombarded and took Chusan and seized Chinese batteries threatening the European settlement at Macao. Early in 1841, the British took the Bogue Forts, guarding the river approach to Canton and occupied Hong Kong, at the time almost uninhabited. After a truce in which the forts were handed back, the British returned to force the approaches to Canton and seize the city forts and gates, then retook Chusan and, moving north, took Amoy and Ningpo.
The British, although they could defeat large numbers of Chinese ashore or afloat, were too few to hold Canton. The Cantonese, for their part, dared only to report victories to Peking, but, although they fought hard, found they could not get the British to go away except by paying indemnities. Only the Imperial court could make peace, and to bring pressure on it, the British had to go north. This they did in 1842, taking Woo-sung and Shanghai, and then advancing 150 miles up the Yangtse to take Chinkiang and threaten Nanking. After that peace was concluded. The pattern would be repeated.
From the first actions in the Pearl River onwards, Marines from ships were constantly engaged in bombardments, boat actions and landings. A battalion nearly 500 strong was formed from them in January 1841, and fought at the Bogue Forts and at Canton. Detachments formed smaller units to fight at Chusan, Amoy, and Ningpo and, as part of a naval brigade, at Woosung, Shanghai and Chinkiang. In all about 700 Marines fought in the first war.
The first China War, had not taught the lessons which it was designed to teach; and within a few years of its conclusion new difficulties began to arise between the British and the local authorities in various parts of the huge invertebrate empire. For a time these were arranged as they arose, without resort to war; but they were arranged, unfortunately, in a manner which too often allowed the Chinese to remain in the belief that they had won diplomatic triumphs. The result was that both locally and at the capitals, the governing classes became steadily more and more inattentive to British remonstrance’s concerning acts of aggression, until, in 1856, the affair of the Arrow, and the vigorous action of Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, Commander-in-Chief in the East Indies, brought about the second China War, which lasted, with intermissions, for nearly four years.
To digress, in 1855 an Order in Council designated the Royal Marine infantry a Light Corps, ‘their training being considered the best adapted to the nature of the service which the Corps is generally required to perform when employed ashore', so that the two corps became the Royal Marine Artillery, the 'Blue Marines' and the Royal Marines Light Infantry, the 'Red Marines.
In 1856, the Second China War broke out. This, with the Third, which closely followed it, took a similar course to the First, an escalating series of incidents and reprisals in the Pearl River area, culminating in a British occupation of Canton and then a move north, this time to Peking itself.
The causes of the fresh outbreak of hostilities are set forth in a dispatch which was sent by Seymour to the Admiralty on November 14th, 1856; and they may be thus summarised (Perhaps the best account of the origin and early part of the Second Chinese War is in G. C. Cooke's 'China', which has been freely made use of).
On October 8th, 1856, the lorcha Arrow, with a colonial register from the governor of Hong Kong, was boarded, while at anchor at Canton, by a Chinese officer and a party of soldiers, who, notwithstanding the protest of the English master, seized twelve of the crew, bound them, carried them off, and hauled down the British flag. Mr. Parkes, her Majesty's consul, brought the matter before the Imperial High Commissioner, Yeh, and demanded the return of the twelve men by the officer who had abducted them, together with an apology, and an assurance that the flag should be respected in the future. Ultimately the men were sent back, but not in the public manner required; nor was any apology or assurance offered. On October 11th, the matter was reported to Seymour by Sir John Bowring, British Plenipotentiary in China, who suggested that an Imperial junk should be seized by way of reprisals. The making of the seizure was entrusted to Commodore the Hon. Charles Gilbert John Brydone Elliot, C.B., of the Sibylle, 40 guns, senior officer in the Canton river, who was reinforced for the purpose with the Barracouta, 6 guns, paddle, Commander Thomas Dyke Acland Fortescue (Posted, Sept. 7th, 1857.), and the Coromandel, steam tender. A junk was duly captured, but, as it proved to be private property, it had to be presently released. Seymour then (Oct. 18th) sent the Encounter, 14 guns, screw, Captain George William Douglas O'Callaghan, and Samson, 6 guns, paddle, Captain George Sumner Hand, to join the Commodore, hoping that the display of force in the river would bring the High Commissioner to reason. It soon, however, became clear that that official was bent upon resistance.
In the meantime, Mr. Parkes proceeded to consult with Seymour and Bowring at Hong Kong, where it was decided to seize the defences of Canton, it being evident that any more moderate measures would, as usual, be interpreted by the Chinese as symptoms of weakness.
Seymour accordingly moved his flagship, the Calcutta, 84 guns, Captain William King Hall, C.B., as high above the Bogue Forts as her draft would permit; and, on the morning of October 23rd, proceeded towards Canton in the Coromandel, accompanied by the Samson and Barracouta, with detachments of Royal Marines, and boats' crews, from the Calcutta, Winchester, 50 guns, Captain Thomas Wilson, and Bittern (she had been condemned, and had been for some time awaiting sale), 12 guns, and with the Commodore and the boats of the Sibylle. On approaching Blenheim reach, the Samson and part of the force diverged up the Macao passage to keep that channel open, and to capture Blenheim fort, while the Rear-Admiral, with the Coromandel and Barracouta, went on, and anchored above the four Barrier Forts, about five miles below the city. The boats, being sent in, took possession of the works, two of which fired ere they were taken, and consequently suffered a slight loss. In the forts "were about 150 guns, from one foot bore (this was a brass gun) to four pounders."
The Barracouta was ordered to follow the Samson; and the Commander-in-Chief, having dismantled and burnt the forts, continued his route to Canton, off which he arrived at 2 P.M., and where he learnt that boats from the Samson and Barracouta had quietly occupied the Blenheim Fort, and also the Macao Fort, a strong island position mounting 86 guns.
Mr. Parkes formally announced Seymour's arrival to the High Commissioner, and explained not only what had been done, but also that further measures of like nature would be adopted unless reparation should be forthcoming. The High Commissioner chose to remain obdurate.
On the morning of October 24th, Sir Michael landed additional Marines to aid detachments which were already ashore in Canton from the Sibylle and Encounter for the protection of the factory and he himself went in the Coromandel to join the Barracouta off Macao Fort. Upon a preconcerted signal, the Bird's Nest Fort mounting 35 guns, and a small fort, which being opposite the city, might have annoyed the factory, were seized without resistance. The Shameen Forts, at the head of the Macao passage were subsequently treated in the same way; and all the guns and ammunition in them were rendered unserviceable or were destroyed.
Detecting no signs whatsoever of submission on the part of the Chinese, but rather a more intractable disposition than ever Seymour landed the rest of his Marines and a body of small-arm men to secure the factory, and stationed boats to guard against the approach of fire rafts, and attacks by water. This necessary work was superintended by Captain William King Hall, and the Marines on shore were placed under Captain Penrose Charles Penrose, R.M., of the Winchester, while Captain Cowper, R.E., who had been sent for the purpose from Hong Kong, advised as to the strengthening of the weak points of the position. For the protection of American interests, officers, seamen, and marines were landed at the same time from the U.S. corvette Portsmouth, Commander Andrew H. Foote, U.S.N.
On October 25th possession was taken of Dutch Folly, a 50-gun fort on a small island opposite Canton; and it was garrisoned by 140 officers and men under Commander William Rue Rolland, of the Calcutta. All the defences of the city were then in British hands; and the Commander-in-Chief desired Mr. Parkes to write to the High Commissioner that operations would cease when his Excellency should be prepared satisfactorily to settle the points in dispute.
His Excellency did not reply as Seymour had anticipated. At 12.30 P.M., a body of Chinese troops, part of a much larger force in its rear, attacked the position at the factory, in spite of Mr. Parkes's warning; but Penrose, with his Marines, drove back the enemy, killing and wounding about 14 of them. On the 26th, it being Sunday, the men were allowed to rest.
Early on the morning of the 27th, Seymour caused a new letter to be written to the High Commissioner, informing him that, since satisfaction had not been offered for the Arrow outrage, operations would be continued. At Bowring's suggestion an additional demand was made to the effect that all foreign representatives should be allowed the same free access to the city, and to the authorities at Canton, as was enjoyed under treaty at the other four ports, and denied at Canton only.
No reply being vouchsafed, fire was opened at 1 P.M. on the High Commissioner's compound from the 10-in. pivot gun of the Encounter, and kept up at intervals of from five to ten minutes until sunset. At the same time, the Barracouta, from a position which she had taken up at the head of Sulphur Creek, shelled some troops who were on the hills behind Gough's Fort. The High Commissioner retaliated by publicly offering a reward of 30 dollars for the head of every Englishman. A few gunners of the Royal Artillery, who had joined under Captain Guy Rotton, R.A., were that day stationed in the Dutch Folly, where two 32-prs from the Encounter had been mounted.
On the 28th, these guns opened with the object of clearing a passage to the city wall. In the course of the day, Captain the Hon. Keith Stewart, of the Nankin, 50, joined the Rear-Admiral, with 140 of his men, and a couple of field-pieces; and 65 officers and men from the U.S. corvette Levant reinforced the American guard ashore. During the following night, the enemy apparently mounted guns on the city wall; and, anxious to give them no further opportunity for improving their defences, Seymour reopened fire early on the 29th. In the course of the morning, Commander William Thornton Bate, late of the Bittern, and acting Master Charles George Johnston, at some personal risk, ascertained that the breach was practicable; and a body of Marines and small-arm men, about 300 in number, was told off for the assault, under the command of Commodore Elliot. The Rear-Admiral accompanied the advance from the boats which landed the force, and two field-pieces at 2 P.M. The seamen were led by the Commodore, Captain the Hon. Keith Stewart, and Commanders Bate and Rolland (Posted, Aug. 10th, 1857.); the Marines by Captains Penrose and Robert Boyle, R.M.; and the gun-detachment by Lieutenant James Henry Bushnell and James Stevenson Twysden; Bate gallantly showing the way, and carrying an ensign to the summit of the breach, the wall on each side of which was quickly occupied. Penrose moved to the gate next on the right, and, having signalled his presence there, opened it to a further detachment which was instantly landed under Captain William King Hall, Commander Fortescue, and Flag-Lieutenant George Campbell Fowler (Com., Aug. 10th, 1857.). The gate was then blown to pieces (By Capt. Rotton, R.A), and the archway above it partially destroyed. In the meantime the guns had been placed in the breach, and had opened on some Chinese who began a desultory fire from their gingals, by which three people were killed, and eleven (two mortally) wounded. The latter were sent to Dutch Folly where they were attended to by Surgeon Charles Abercromby Anderson, M.D., and Assistant-Surgeon George Bruce Newton. The Rear-Admiral, with the Commodore and Mr. Parkes, visited the house of the High Commissioner, and, at sunset, re-embarked with all his force, his object being, as he said in his dispatch, to demonstrate his power to enter the city. It is right, however, to add, that in the squadron the retirement was attributed to the impossibility of making a lodgement. At all events, its morale effect was bad; and it is scarcely astonishing that, in the night, the enemy filled up the breach with sandbags and timber. On the 30th and two following mornings it was cleared again by fire from the ships.
Seymour once more wrote to the High Commissioner, sending him indeed two letters, neither of which produced a satisfactory reply. In the interval, in order to protect the factory from the dangers of incendiary fires, the houses between it and the city were pulled down; and copies of the Rear-Admiral's letters, with a précis of the whole affair by Mr. Parkes, were distributed among the people through the medium of the native boatmen, who, in spite of what was going on, continued to furnish supplies to the ships. On the 31st, Captain Thomas Wilson joined, with 90 officers and men from his ship, the Winchester.
On November 3rd, the Encounter, Samson, and Dutch Folly began a slow fire on the government buildings in the Tartar city, and on Gough's Fort, and continued it till 5 P.M. Seymour also addressed yet another letter to the High Commissioner. At night an attempt was made to blow up the English clubhouse, in which were some seamen and Marines; and, in consequence, no native boats were thereafter allowed to approach the sea-wall of the factory.
On the 4th, fire was resumed for four hours, and on the 5th, one of the Samson's 68-prs in Dutch Folly threw shells into a distant fort on a hill behind the city. That day information was received to the effect that an attack was intended upon the ships and the factory, and that twenty-three war junks were at anchor below Dutch Folly, protected by French Folly Fort, which mounted 26 guns.
Commodore Elliot was ordered to take the Barracouta, Coromandel, and ships' boats, and disperse or capture the junks; and, Commander Bate having buoyed the narrow channel, the force proceeded at daylight on the 6th, and Fortescue presently anchored the Barracouta 800 yards above French Folly, and within 200 yards of the nearest of the hostile vessels, which were all ready for action. The Barracouta, in order to prevent the Chinese from training their guns on her, fired her bow pivot gun as she approached, and so provoked the enemy, who, from more than 150 pieces, retaliated ere she could bring her broadside to bear. In about five-and-thirty minutes, however, her grape and canister, and the approaching boats, under Captain Thomas Wilson, drove the people from their vessels; and the sloop was then able to give her undivided attention to French Folly, which, being soon silenced, was taken possession of by a landing-party under Captain King Hall. Its guns and ammunition were destroyed. Two 32-prs in Dutch Folly rendered material help during the engagement. The junks, being aground, or sunk, were burnt, with the exception of the admiral's ship, which was brought off, and two more, which escaped for the time, though one of them was afterwards burnt by Captain King Hall. Seymour mentions with praise the conduct of Commander Fortescue, of his senior Lieutenant, William Kemptown Bush, and of Lieutenant Henry Hamilton Beamish, of the Calcutta, who, under a very heavy fire, carried out the anchor by means of which the Barracouta (her hull was pierced by 28 large shot, besides smaller ones) was enabled to spring her broadside. The affair, very bloody to the enemy, cost the British a loss of but 1 killed and 4 wounded.”
The Marines had again played their accustomed part in the Pearl River operations, seizing forts, garrisoning the British residential area outside Canton, and beating off attacks on it. Early in 1857, the Provisional Battalion RMLI sailed from England for China, apparently to form a nucleus of a Brigade to be formed from the Marines on detachment with the ships of the China Squadron. The Provisional Battalion was 300 strong and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lemon, with Prettyjohns, (the Corps' first VC, which he won at the Battle of Inkerman in the Crimean War), as Sergeant Major. En route to China, the Provisional Battalion was diverted to Calcutta and played a notable part in the relief of Lucknow, during the Indian Mutiny. A Brigade of Royal Marines was thereupon dispatched to China under the command of Col. Holloway R.M.A. The Brigade consisted of the 1st Battalion from Woolwich and Chatham, and the 2nd Battalion from Portsmouth and Plymouth, with 100 all ranks of the RMA.
As soon as the situation in India allowed, the Provisional Battalion proceeded to Hong Kong and the three battalions of the R.M.L.1. arrived there almost simultaneously. The Royal Marine Brigade was a major element in the force of 14,000 British and 7,000 French troops, which concentrated at Hong Kong and proceeded to campaign northwards in 1860.
Canton was stormed and captured. The Brigade provided a garrison in Canton between 27th April 1858 and the original "First Brigade Order Book" for this period is held in the Royal Marines Corps Archives. The Orders reveal the considerable extent to which the Marines in Canton were dependent upon Hong Kong. The Flagship of the Commander in Chief of the China Fleet, Admiral Sir M. Seymour, was in Hong Kong and the Brigade Order Book indicates that some senior officers in the Brigade, were at various times, serving as staff officers on the C-in-C's staff in the Colony.
The Brigade was supplied by a military train, which operated between the landing stages in the two cities. The sick and wounded of the Brigade were sent by the Units' Surgeons to Hong Kong for hospital treatment and recuperation. There were Military Provost Cells in Hong Kong, in which offenders were held for periods before being passed over to the Civil Authorities, to serve their sentences in Civil Prisons. All ranks spent recreation leave in Hong Kong. Coolies were continually being furnished to the Brigade from the "Military Train" in Hong Kong. The Train was commanded in 1859 by Capt. Temple. General Orders were issued by the C-in-C and his staff in Hong Kong, and Brigade Orders by Colonel Thomas Holloway ADC "Commanding Brigade of RM on special service in China, Canton".
The Brigade Order Book provides details of the attachments to the Provisional Battalion, of detachments of Royal Marines drawn from HM ships in Hong Kong. At least six ships - Inflexible, Princess Charlotte, Nankin, Esk, Sans Pareil and Bittern, supplied Marines to the Brigade in 1858.
In May, after bombardment by a flotilla of gunboats, the Taku Forts guarding the mouth of the Peiho River, and the direct route to Peking, were taken by a force of 1,200 Marines, after which a Marine Guard was posted to protect the Allied Admirals at Tientsin, where a Peace Treaty was signed. The Provisional Battalion was thereupon broken up, the ship Marines were re-embarked, and the rest of the unit was distributed between the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the R.M.L.I.
The terms of the Treaty of Tientsin were, in the event, not observed by the Chinese. In June 1859, a new British Admiral arrived off Taku, intent upon asserting the right of passage. Colonel Lemon, "a most excellent officer, strict but justice itself”, had taken over the command of the 1st R.M.L.I., 400 strong and of the 2nd Battalion, almost as strong, formed from the Marines of the Fleet. The Taku defences had been rebuilt and greatly strengthened. The Admiral was determined to take the forts on the South Bank, a long line of earthworks mounting 58 guns, and, against the strong representations of Lemon, he decided to attack. The operation that followed on 25th June was a failure which came close to disaster.
The gunboats suffered heavily under the fire of the forts. The assault in the evening, struggling knee deep in mud with stakes and ditches, met heavy fire. Lemon was wounded. A hundred or so reached the line of earthworks, but the Chinese were massing, and a withdrawal was ordered. In good order, bringing off the wounded, the assaulting troops re-embarked during the night. This orderly withdrawal must have demanded great coolness and courage, but, because it was a defeat, no decorations were awarded.
In August 1859, a British army of 12,000, under Sir Hope Grant and a French one of 8,000, landed north of the Peiho, took the Taku Forts in the rear, routed a Chinese army and, on 13th October, entered Peking. Reaching this force in time for one wing to take part in the attack on the forts, the R.M.L.I. thereafter fought and entered Peking with the 1st Division and an RMA detachment, earning Sir Hope's praise for its work in bringing up siege guns to Peking.
In November, after the Imperial Government had ratified the Treaty of Tientsin, the British and French withdrew. The Marine battalion left two companies at Shanghai, which was now threatened by the Taiping rebellion. But that is another story.
In December, the RM Brigade was formed into a single battalion. Early in 1860, this went north to Chusan and Shanghai.
At Hong Kong, on its way back to England, the R.M.L.I. Brigade and R.M.A. Battery erected a memorial to the 232 all ranks who had lost their lives, and the 222 wounded in China in 1857-60.
The handsome monument is still standing in Victoria. The memorial records the services of the Brigade between the capture and occupation of Canton in 1857, and the march on Peking in 1860. It also records the loss of 3 officers, 2 staff sergeants, 13 corporals and 214 gunners and privates. The wounded are also recorded as 27 officers, 16 sergeants, 20 corporals, 4 buglers and 155 gunners and privates.
(BB - Source Acknowledgements: Maj. Gen J.L. Moulton CB DSO OBE RM; Dr. S.S. Richardson AO CBE MA LLD RMHS; W. L. Clowes &

1840. The Marine numbers were 9000.

1840. Sunday 12th January. The franking of letters was abolished, and in future all letters were to be prepaid, and accounts to be kept by the Office Adjutant: this coincided with the introduction of the Penny Post. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1840. Saturday28th March. Agnes Weston was born the daughter of a Barrister. In 1845, her father retired and the family moved to Bath. She was educated at private schools, including preparation for confirmation from a priest whose leaning was towards Christian evangelism and whose teaching left a strong influence on the young Agnes.

After leaving school, she began philanthropic work that suited a young lady of her station and also began to speak at temperance meetings. She also learnt to write tracts for the promotion of the temperance movement. She opened a coffee bar for the soldiers of the 2nd Somerset Militia brigade. When they were posted away, she kept in touch with some of the soldiers by writing to them. In 1868, one of her letters was shown to a troopship steward who remarked that it would be nice to receive such a letter. Agnes was told about the steward and she also began writing to him and others. This started off her career in sailor welfare.

In 1873, sailors who corresponded with Agnes were paid off and she went to visit them at Devonport, Plymouth. She met Sophia Wintz and they became good friends and later fundraising partners. Agnes joined the Royal Naval Temperance Society and was allowed to visit sailors on warships and talk to the crew to promote temperance. Later it was suggested that she open a temperance house near to the dockyard gates. After discussing it with Sophia, they decided to undertake the project. Through meetings all round the country, they were able to raise enough funds to buy a house outside the dockyard at Devonport and open it up as a hostel for sailors. It was opened in May 1876 as the first 'Sailor's Rest'. It was immediately successful since it offered place to eat and drink as well as beds for the night if required. Although intended as a temperance house for the promotion of the movement, it was not confined to those of similar views and all sailors were welcome to make use of the facilities. Lectures were arranged as well as religious services and there was the chance to sign the 'pledge' to refrain from drinking alcohol.

The success of the Devonport Sailor's Rest led to a similar project being opened in Portsmouth in 1881, to provide baths, lodgings and recreational activities and facilities. Agnes and Sophia felt that these facilities would help to combat alcoholism in the sailors and keep them from causing mischief on the streets. They also opened Rests at Portland and Sheerness, but found the prospect of organising four establishments too much. The Rests were intended to be self funding once they had been set up through public subscription. Soon they were able to house 900 men at Devonport and 700 at Portsmouth. To add to the satisfaction gained from the success of the Rests, several pubs had been closed and demolished due to lack of custom.

Agnes became known as 'Mother' Weston as she was constantly concerned and interested in her sailor's welfare, while being forthright on her views on their drinking habits. She was also known by the name 'Aggie'. The work of Agnes and Sophia was becoming more publicly known and in 1895, Queen Victoria endowed a cabin to be used as a Sailor's Rest in Devonport and allowed the use of Royal Sailor's Rest to be given to the whole institution.

Agnes did not neglect the sailor's at sea. Where she had previously written letters to individual sailors away from home, she now printed a monthly letter to sailors for distribution among the ship. This rose to a circulation of 60,000 by 1918. She also published a journal Ashore and Afloat to encourage Christian beliefs, behaviour and temperance amongst sailors.

Agnes was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1918. However, she died shortly after receiving this award on Wednesday 23th October 1918 at Devonport. She was buried with full naval honours. In 1940, a frigate was named after Weston-Super-Mare and this became known in the fleet as 'Aggie-on-Horseback'. Her Sailor's Rests continued to operate up until the turn of the twenty-first century, when a fall in custom led them to be closed.
Royal Naval Museum Library.

1840. Friday 5th July. The capture of Chusan.

1840. Sunday 28th June. Blockade of Canton.

1840. Wednesday 1st July. Batteries at Amoy silenced by Blonde.

1840. Saturday 4th - 5th July. Bombardment of Tinghai and surrender of Chusan.

1840. Monday 10th August. By Order in Council all Marine Cadets were admitted to the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth to train for Commissions. It was laid down that after a short course on board one of HM ships and at the RN College they were to receive Commissions as 2nd Lieutenants It was estimated that 12 cadets would be sufficient to fill vacancies. Their pay was to be the same as Mates RN, £65 per annum, and they messed with the Mates and Midshipmen.

The Royal Naval College had been established on Tuesday 30th January 1816 and the staff allowed is interesting as showing subjects taught: Governor, 1st Lord of Admiralty; a Post-Captain and 2 Lieutenants; a Professor - Master of Classical History and Geography, with 3 Assistant Masters; a French master, a Fencing and Dancing master (abolished in 1827), Drawing master; 2 Sergeants Marine Artillery (with £30 extra pay); Matron and Housekeeper. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1840. Wednesday 19th August. Macao. The British residents at Macao, near Canton, having appealed to the British Admiral for assistance, the Royal Marines of HMS Druid, Larne, and Hyacinth (about 100, under Lieutenants Maxwell and Pickard) landed on Wednesday 19th August 1840, with some seamen manning a field piece, covered by the Larne and Hyacinth. The ships opened fire on one of the principal batteries and Chinese encampment with 10 guns, and silenced them in twenty minutes; the Royal Marines advanced to the top of the hill where they came under heavy fire and were counterattacked by a strong body of infantry, who were checked by a volley and retreated leaving a number of killed and wounded; Lieutenant Maxwell then ordered the RM to return to the beach to await the arrival of Captain Mee and the Bengal Native Volunteers, who landed about an hour later. This officer, with the Royal Marines in the centre, the Bengalis on the right, and seamen on either flank, advanced on the fort which was entered without opposition, the Chinese retiring to the war junks and to the old Portuguese battery. After a short 2 Authorities: Log of HMS Nemesis; Life of Sir Hugh Gough; Life of Sir S. B. Ellis, RM; original letters, Reports, etc. 10 bombardment the Chinese abandoned their guns and fled; the guns were spiked, and the magazines destroyed. The Chinese now took refuge in negotiations. The sickness was very great in Chusan in October 1840, so that no troops were available for any serious attempt to be made on the Canton Forts. An old Return of the number of sick at Chusan has a note against the regiment with the largest number of sick, "a temperance regiment". On Monday 30th November the Government, realising that they were committed to a serious campaign, offered the command of the troops to General Sir Hugh Gough in India, but he did not arrive on the scene until Tuesday 2nd March 1841. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1840. Friday 10th - 16th September. Bombardment of Beyrout by a British squadron.

1840. Saturday 11th September. Attack on castle of Gebail by Carysfort and consorts.

1840. Saturday 12th September. The attack on the Castle of Gebail Syria,

1840. Tuesday 15th September. Batroun captured by Hastings and consorts.

1840. Thursday 17th September. The capture of Caiffaby by Castor and Pique.

1840. Sunday 20th September. The attack on Torosa.

1840. Thursday 24th September. Tyre captured by Castor and Pique.

1840. Saturday 26th September. The Storming of Sidon: The Oriental Crisis, Egyptian-Ottoman War. Lieutenant Charles Hockin, Royal Marines St. Felicitas', Phillack, Cornwall.
Then, as now, the western powers preferred stability in the Middle East, but in the first half of the 19th century that stability was lacking. The Ottoman Empire, which was in nominal control, was enfeebled. Memhet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, decided the time was right to seize independence for that country, and presumably power for himself. In 1839 his force of however many thousand men, commanded by his son Ibrahim, was in what was then Syria, now Lebanon, having defeated an Ottoman army at the battle of Nezib. This victory placed Constantinople (now Istanbul) and the Eastern Mediterranean under threat, and so the British, supported by the Russians and the Austrians, moved to forestall Mehmet’s further advances, and push him back to Egypt, as they wished to preserve the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, presumably on the principle of better the devil you know, particularly a weakened one.
Hockin’s force of marines was attached to HMS Stromboli, a steam-powered paddle sloop launched in 1839. In September 1840 the ship was one of those ordered to Sidon, 40 km south of Beirut,  the main supply base for the Egyptian army, to storm the fort there. From an account pertaining to Marine Private Charles Welch it appears to have been a minor engagement, with few casualties on either side, and only one on the British – unfortunately for Charles Hockin, he was that one.
British victory cut the Egypt army's access to the coast, and without access to the coast for its supply chain it was forced to withdraw, and a peace settlement was reached which assured the continuation of the Ottomans for a few more years. Ironically, this British desire to see the perpetuation of the Ottoman stability would, just over a decade later, see it engaged in a serious war against its erstwhile ally, Russia.
Strange that Hockin fought and died in two such obscure campaigns, as otherwise his family seem to have epitomised the 19th Century middle-class. He was the younger son who went off to join the army. His father, a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, was the vicar of Phillack, beneficiary of that arrangement set up by his grandfather in the 1750, and Charles' brother, Frederick, succeeded as vicar having previously been an attorney. Another son, William, also became a solicitor’s clerk in 1827, and in 1871 was in Truro as a solicitor. The Church, the Law, and the Army; Charles got the bad roll of the dice.

 Privat Charles Welch R.M. Naval General Service Medal 1793 to 1840 bar “SYRIA” (HMS Stromboli.
Born Britford, Salisbury, Wiltshire Approx. 1814, Trade, Labourer Enlisted by Serjt. A.W. Simpson 15th August 1834 on a bounty of 3 pounds Attestation papers to serve in the Royal Marines at Portsmouth on 16th August 1834 and was read the Articles of War regarding Mutiny and Desertion he then took the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity and received the sum of Ten shillings and Sixpence. The Surgeon then declared him as fit for His Majesty’s service. The commanding officer certified that he was satisfied with the correctness of the Attestation and he was entered in the Regimental Register with the number of 1157. He had joined the 85 Company of the Portsmouth Division of Royal Marines.
On the 21st March 1836 he joined HMS Vanguard (to 2nd April 1840) a 78-gun (or 80-gun) second-rate ship of the line, launched on 25 August 1835 at Pembroke Yard and commanded by Captain Thomas Fellowes (from January 1837 and April 1840) in the Mediterranean.
Vanguard had been commissioned at Portsmouth on 19 Mar 1836 and began her sea trials in July calling at Plymouth and then sailing to Cork. They returned to Plymouth to continue her trials and then on the 20th October they for Lisbon, Cadiz and then Malta. This means he would have been on board when on the morning of June 8th, all crews were mustered on decks to witness the execution of Private Thomas McSweeney, Royal Marines HMS Rodney who was hanged from Rodney’s yard-arm for an assault on Lance Sergeant James T. Allen also of Rodney which resulted in Allen’s demise soon afterwards. They remained in the Mediterranean with the British and French Fleets until ordered home in January 1840, in February they left Malta for Portsmouth arriving 17th March and Welch left Vanguard on 2nd April.
4th September 1840 joined HMS Stromboli a 1st class Paddle sloop of 1839 Commanded by Commander Woodford John Williams. Sailed for Malta on the 6th September and arrived in Gibraltar on 12th. On the 13th they sailed to join Vice Admiral Sir Robert Stopford fleet in the Levant. On 25 Sep 1840 Stromboli was part of Napiers force detailed to take possession of Sidon.
Sidon the main Depot for the Egyptian army was held by about 2700 men, it was quite well protected by a fort and other various defences. A mixed party including 750 marines landed and attacked on 26th, the fighting while fierce did not result in many casualties on either side, the British loss being 11 killed and 39 wounded. This included Stromboli’s casualties of 1 marine (Leiut C.T. Hockin) killed with 3 marines severely wounded and 1 marine slightly wounded. These appear to have been caused while storming the fortress which commanded the town. Of the three severely wounded was Charles Welch who lost three fingers from one hand.(Napier in his dispatch of September 29th says one marine officer and three seamen killed and two mates one boatswain and thirty seamen wounded. While a more detailed list is included in the London Gazette giving ship by ship)
(See of 17th Nov 1840. HMS Stromboli continued with the fleet off Syria including the bombardment and capture of Acre on the 3rd/4th November (if Welch was still on board is not recorded but he would have qualified for the Turkish Medal even if he had not been).Welch’s papers state that he left Stromboli on the 3rd December 1840.24th December 1840, A divisional board (Col. Parks C.B., Captain Mercer and Captain Evans) looking at the discharge of 1157 Charles Welch of the 85 Company Plymouth Royal Marine Division remarked that “Wounded at the storming of Sidon” for which he has received a Smart Ticket.
He has served afloat and on Foreign Stations for 4 years 3 months 13 days and with a total service on shore in the United Kingdom 2 years and 28 days (total 6 years, 4 months 11 days).The Cause of his discharge is in consequence of having lost three fingers (Wounded in Action) contracted in the service and per Admiralty order dated 22nd December 1840.The Defaulters book was examined and parole testimony from other sources heard. His conduct was found to be Very Good and he received from his senior officer Capitan Mercer a high testimony of his good conduct during the four years that he served under Capitan Mercers immediate command. Being asked if he had any claims against the service he stated none other than 13 days conduct money. The board verified that his ledger account was balanced and signed by the pay Capitan of his division then approved his discharge which was signed and dated 26th December 1840 (the report No.3437) Discharged in 1840 as an invalid.
Note:- Smart Money – Money paid to a sailor who has a Smart Ticket (Smart Certificate), which was issued to a man who had been injured or wounded in the performance of his duty. The smart ticket was the formal certificate signed by the ship's standing officers and the captain, 1st lieutenant, master and surgeon which attested to the wound described. (Author Unknown) (

1840. Saturday 26th September. Attack on Tortosa by Benbow and consorts.

1840. Sunday 27th September. Sidon captured by Thunderer and squadron.

1840. Friday 2nd - 5th October. Removal of gunpowder from Beyrout by parties from Hastings and Edinburgh.

1840. Saturday 10th October. Fall of Beyrout.

1840. Tuesday 3rd November. The bombardment of St, Jean D’Arce.

1841. Thursday 7th January. The taking of Chuenpee.

1841. Tuesday 26th January. The occupation of Honk Kong.

1841. Monday 8th February. The Corps was rearmed with the new Percussion Muskets, an advance that was to prove its worth in China the following year.

1841. Monday 8th February. Presumably in consequence of the War in China, one Lieutenant Colonel RM and a Lieutenant Colonel for the Artillery Companies were added to the Establishment; also one Company to each Division besides an additional Company to the Artillery of the Marines. The number of Privates in each Company was raised to 107 from 97, and the three Artillery Companies had an addition of 1 Sergeant, 1 Corporal and 15 Gunners each, making the total Staff 41, Royal Marines 10,058, Artillery 405. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1841. Friday 26th February. The storming of the batteries at Anunhoy.

1841. Saturday 13th March. The storming of Macao Passage Fort.

1841. Thursday 18th March. Forts carried and junks destroyed in Canton River.

1841. March. A return in the Records, dated 'Marmarice Bay, shows the effectives of the Royal Marines who were lately on the Coast of Syria, but were now supernumeraries in the Fleet (i.e. in garrison at Acre) as 1 Lieutenant Colonel, 6 Captains, 3 Subalterns, 1 Acting-Adjutant, 2 Staff Sergeants, 14 Sergeants, 11 Corporals, 4 Drummers, 160 Privates, Royal Marines. 1 Captain, 1 Lieutenant, 3 Sergeants, 3 Corporals, 2 Drummers and 47 Gunners, RMA. The officers were: RMA. - Captain Shute, Lieutenant Parke. Royal Marines – Lieutenant Colonel McCallum, Captains Baker, Brown, Edwards, Brevet Major Whylock, Leonard, Childs. Lieutenants Travers, Suther, Rich, Anderson, and the following were in hospital - Captains Cater and Downman, Lieutenants Land, Miller and Aslett.

1841. Saturday 8th May. An order in Council fixed the establishment of Marines at ninety divisional companies, consisting of 107 men each, including officers, and four companies of artillery of 135 men each, making a total of 10,500 men. . (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1841. Friday 21st - 25th May. Operations at Canton by landing parties supported by the squadron.

1841. Monday 24th May. The action near Canton.

1841. Thursday 27th May.  The GOC published the following General Order. Fort Yang-gang-Tai. Major General Sir H. Gough, from his heart, congratulates the troops of every arm upon their steadiness under fire and their brilliant conduct in the attack of the heights and the capture of the several forts above Canton and of the entrenched camp under cover of the City Wall on 25th instant.
The expression of the General's best thanks was as fully merited and as sincerely accorded to the Naval Battalions and the Royal Marines who have nobly upheld the high character of their profession." On the 1st June the heights above Canton were evacuated and the troops re-embarked.
The following extract from Orders refers to the Royal Marines. "No. 2. The Royal Marines and. Brigade of Seamen will not move until a preooneerted signal be given, when the whole of the remaining force will evacuate the forts at the same moment and move down into the plain and form in rear of the Artillery in the following order: Royal Marines Brigade of Seamen, 49th Regiment 18th Royal Irish." The detachments returned to their shapos. The RM casualties had been two severely wounded and four slightly wounded. 16 On Sunday 6th June the General expressed his thanks again to the 18th Royal Irish and to Captain Ellis RM.

1841. Sunday 6th June. HMS Wellesley at Anunghoy. A letter from S.B. Ellis Captain, Royal Marines. Commanding Officer.
Sir, I have the honour to report to you that the Battalion of Royal Marines under my command amounting to 370 men, and formed from part of the Squadron under your Command employed in China, viz; Wellesley's detachment, Blenheim's, part of Blonde's, Modeste's, Pylades', Hyacinth's, Nimrod's, Cruiser's and Columbine's landed in cooperation with other Forces of Her Majesty and HEICs Service in the successful and gallant advance, and the capture of the Heights and Forts in front of Canton on the 25th ultimo, and that although' under the very great disadvantage of having to be formed as they landed into eight companies of 22 files each, and to be proved and officered, many of the men meeting for the first time, unaccustomed to act together, the zeal of all got everything into fair order, and they advanced with steadiness and regularity to the attack.
First-Lieutenant Maxwell of the Druid commanded the first company, and cooperated with HM 18th Regiment Royal Irish, in storming the enemy's entrenched camp the evening after the attack: Lieutenant White the 2nd, Lieutenant Polkinghorne the 3rd, Lieutenant Ussher the 4th (for one day only, as he fell sick and returned the next), Colour Sergeant Nicholls commanded the 5th, Colour Sergeant F Fairweather the 6th, Lieutenant Farmer the 7th, Lieutenant Whiting the 8th. Captain Whitcomb assisted as Field Officer and from whom, throughout the whole of the arduous duties the Battalion had to perform, I received at all times and occasions the most cheerful, able, and ready aid; Lieutenant Stransham of the Calliope executed the laborious duties of Adjutant with alacrity, zeal, and ability, and to this officers in command of companies generally I was much indebted for the prompt execution of, and attention to, the orders they from time to time received; to Lieutenant Whiting of the Blenheim, an active and vigilant young officer, my thanks are especially due, in an affair of the 30th ultimo between a large body of armed peasantry, and HM 26th Regiment and the 37th NI, a company of the latter, on the return to quarters was missing, and in consequence, at about sunset, I was directed by the Major General to detach a Company in search of it - the 49th had two out for the same object. I selected the 8th (Blenheim's) - being armed with percussion muskets - for this important duty, and Lieutenant Whiting to command them. He was accompanied by Captain Duff of the 37th NI. After a long and tedious march of 8 miles through paddy fields filled with water, they succeeded in reaching this company drawn up in square on a rising ground, surrounded by the enemy, then actively engaged in getting up a field gun for their destruction. Lieutenant Whiting announced his proximity to the 37th NI by firing a musket and directing his company to cheer loudly; the effect was instantaneous and beneficial; the Chinese, from the darkness, not knowing the amount of force, so unexpectedly near, separated a little and the 37th retreated; and Lieutenant Whitting, watching his opportunity, judiciously fired a volley amongst them, whereby the two companies were enabled to return to their respective Corps unmolested: the previous very heavy rain to which the 37th Company was exposed had wetted their firelocks and rendered them useless for the time. The following morning in a letter I had the honour to receive from Sir Hugh Gough on the subject he thus expressed himself: "Many thanks to the officer and party who were out last night. I shall give out an order on the subject." I am most happy to add that every praise is due to the Non-Commissioned Officers, Drummers, Rank and File of the Royal Marine Battalion engaged in this short and brilliant campaign for the steadiness, zeal, order, and sobriety invariably displayed by them through all the operations, which it is most gratifying to me, their Commanding Officer, to have the honour to make known to you. The casualties are happily but few: one corporal and one private dangerously wounded, four privates slightly. The lst and 2nd Instant all the men composing the Battalion had returned to their respective ships. I have the honour to remain.
Sir, Your obedient servant, (Signed) S. B. Ellis Captain, Royal Marines. Commanding Officer. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.) (sic)

1841. Thursday 26th August, Amoy and Kalongsew bombarded and captured.

1841. August - October. Niger Expedition (Albert, Wilberforce and Soudan).

1841. Friday.1st October. The assault and capture of Ting-Hai.

1841. Sunday 10th October. The assault and capture of Ching-Hae.

1841. Wednesday 13th October. The occupation of Ning-Po.

1841. Tuesday 28th December. Destruction of works at Tzekee Tuyao by Nemesis and consort.

1842. Thursday 10th March. Destruction of fire-rafts at Chin-hae.

1842. Thursday 10th March. Destruction of burning fire-rafts at Ning-Po.

1842. Tuesday 15th March. The taking of Tse-Kee.

1842. Thursday 14th April. Destruction of burning fire-rafts at Chusan.

1842. Wednesday 18th May. The taking of Cha-Poo.

1842. Monday 13th June. British fleet entered the Yang-tse-Kiang.

1842. Thursday 16th June. The capture of Woo-Sung.

1842. Saturday 18th June. Shanghai surrendered.

1842. Thursday 21st July. The capture of Chin-Keang-Foo.

1842. Thursday 21st July. Assault on and capture of Ching-Kiang.

1842. Tuesday 9th - 17th August. Nankin blockaded by the British fleet.

1843. Colour-Sergeant John Drake was a man of intelligence and impeccable character, one of those men to whom military life fits like a glove.  He was tall strong and robust.  He looked and behaved as one would imagine and expect a sergeant of Marines would and his calmness and lack of terror, or panic under even the most adverse of conditions inspired confidence in all those around him.  This was very evident during the sinking of the troopship Birkenhead. Coming from Dorset, he gave up his job as keeper on a nobleman’s estate and enlisted in the Royal Marines at Portsmouth in 1843.  He was soon on active service and wherever there was danger or fighting so was John Drake. Of his many exploits perhaps his greatest and the one for which he was promoted corporal was the one in which he was first involved.  The ship on which he was serving at the time was H.M.S. Waterwitch, and whilst engaged off the coast of Africa they captured a Brazilian slave ship, a brigantine named Romeo Primero.  It was naturally a good prize to take back to England and a small crew was selected to perform that task.  A Lieutenant Mansfield was put in command and three sailors, one marine and six of the captured Spanish seamen from the Romeo Primero made up the crew.  The marine chosen was John Drake. Apart from the duties of sailing the ship, the armed British sailors also had to keep an eye on the prisoners who, under the pretext of carrying out orders were secretly planning to recapture the ship.  Their chance came after a few days sailing.  Three Spaniards and two English sailors were on deck on duty while Drake, the other Englishman and the remaining three prisoners were resting below.  The two sailors were ordered by Lieutenant Mansfield to shorten the sail and as they slowly climbed higher up the rigging the three Spaniards and the three from below who had crept up, suddenly turned on the officer.  Mansfield was completely taken by surprise and although unarmed fought back valiantly.  However the odds were too great and he was beaten senseless and left for dead.  The Spaniards then made their way below to the two men still sleeping in their hammocks the sailor had a knife plunged into his throat.  Two of the other Spaniards attacked Drake who was still asleep.  One of them gave Blake a crushing blow to the side of his head with a handspike the other who had drawn a long knife, opened a 6 inch gash under his chin.  The cut was deep but fortunately missed the jugular vein.   The Spaniards, however, had not reckoned on Drake’s amazing strength and courage.  Their murderous actions did not have the desired effect.  Drake staggered to his feet.  He was stunned and badly wounded, with blood streaming down his face and chest, but using his bare fists he waded into the Spaniards.  This must have been a terrifying sight for the Spaniards as Drake was no small man.  He was able to wrest the handspike from one of them.  Armed with this weapon he made short work of his opponents.  Two were killed outright and the remaining four were battered unconscious.  With his shirt and trousers torn to shreds and covered in blood, Drake somehow managed to reach the deck, to be met by the two astonished sailors.  They tended his wounds and securing the Spaniards they saw to Lieutenant Mansfield, who was just alive. The Romeo Primero eventually arrived safely in England, and Drake who had saved the ship and three lives, apart from a scar on his neck, made a complete recovery.  In July 1848 he was further promoted to sergeant and nine months after that to colour-sergeant, his rank on joining the Birkenhead.  The story of which has already been told in a previous edition.  Having been one of the survivors of this disaster he attended the 50th Anniversary of the Birkenhead Troopship disaster on February 26th 1902.  At which time he had, of course, retired and was living at West End, Hayes, Middlesex. ‘Drums of the Birkenhead' by David Bevan (Contributed by Cleve Whitworth RMAQ President)

1843. Thursday 8th June. Keppel at Paddi, Sarawak.

1843. June 8. Pakoo and Rembas destroyed by boats of Dido.

1844. Wednesday 7th August. Boats of Dido destroyed Patusen and Karangan.

1844. The Marine Artillery was increased to six companies, and the corps distributed as follows:

1844. Ninety- four divisional companies, each consisting of one Captain, two Subalterns, five Sergeants, five Corporals, three Drummers, and eighty seven Privates. A total of 103. With five Artillery companies, each consisting of one Captain, four Subalterns, seven Sergeants, seven Corporals, three Bombardiers, three Drummers, and one hundred and twenty Privates. A total of 145.

Making the whole establishment of Marines, both officers and men, —
Divisional companies .... 9682
Artillery companies .... 725
Staff 62
Total 10469. (Volume 1 Historical Records of the Royal Marine Forces by Paul Harris Nicolas Lieut. Royal Marines.)

1844. The Heroism of Private Drake RM, during a Mutiny. The Brazilian slave ship Romeo Primero was captured off Cape Lopez by HMS Waterwitch and HMS Racer somewhere about the middle of 1844. Commander Mansfield R.N. 3 seamen, a Private Marine named Drake, and 1 Krooman were put on board her as a prize crew in order to navigate her to St. Helena. On the night of the second or third day after parting company with the men of war, the Brazilian crew, four of whom were left on board, attempted to retake the vessel. Some accident having happened to the top gallant halliards, the only two seamen who were on deck were ordered by Commander Mansfield to go aloft and repair the damage, he himself taking the wheel. Drake, the remaining seaman, and the Krooman had the watch below, and were fast asleep in their hammocks. The four Brazilians, on the alert to seize the first favourable opportunity, took instant advantage of the temporary isolation of Commander Mansfield, and opened the attack by possessing themselves of Drakes musket, which one of them fired at the British officer, who fell, stunned by a severe wound in the head., which tore off a piece of his skull. In the meantime another on them stole below, and having mortally wounded a seaman who lay asleep in his hammock, was proceeding to despatch Drake. But the Marine, feeling a peculiar sensation about his throat, awoke and raising his arm, diverted the murderer’s knife, but not without receiving a deep and server would above the collar bone. Without for a moment losing his presents of mind, he flung himself out of his hammock, and wrenching the knife from murders hands, plunged it into the ruffian’s stomach with such furious energy and hearty good will that he felt the point of it grate against the spine. He then seized the man’s cutlass and seeing that his officer was down, gallantly rushed to his rescue, regardless of the blood that poured profusely from the wound in his neck. Standing over the Commander’s body he fought so well in resisting the attack of the three remaining Brazilians, that by the time the two seamen had got down from aloft to his assistance he had killed one and wounded the two others who fled precipitately below, fairly terrified at the indomitable valour and the fierce over powering energy of their gallant opponent. Drake fainted from loss of blood as soon as they disappeared, and did not recover consciousness for a whole week. After several months in hospital Drake made a good recovery from his wounds, went afloat again and three years later was back in England and laid up with sickness in Haslar Hospital. Then, at length his heroism was recognised and the Admiralty on Wednesday 7th June 1848, directed that he should be, “Immediately and specially promoted to the rank of Corporal, and that this order be read at the head of each Division of Royal Marines.” Moreover, on the Friday 14th of the following month, he was ordered to be further promoted to Sergeant, and to Colour Sergeant nine months later. In1850 he was appointed to HMS Birkenhead, and was one of the survivors when she was wrecked on Monday 26th January 1852. Drake saw service in the Baltic, Crimea, and China, leaving the service in 1864. He died in 1905 after 28 years’ service as an attendant at Westminster Abbey. An excellent account of this gallant Marine illustrated by two portraits is to be found in “A Deathless Story, or the ‘Birkenhead’ and its heroes.” Published by Messrs. Hutchinson and co in 1906.

1844. December. The detachment of Royal Marines at Port Essington in the Northern Territory of Australia. Consisted of Lieutenants George Lambrick, William Garner Wright and Timpson, with one Assistant Surgeon, three Sergeants, three Corporals, one drummer and forty five Privates.

The introduction of steam has so materially changed the system of warfare, that it is now imperative on the British government to adopt the best method for the improvement of our naval gunnery, and as that never can be effectually maintained when the men are discharged after so limited a period of service as three years, it behoves the executive to consider the advantage that is likely to arise from an increase of the Corps of Marines of sufficient extent to make an addition to the detachments on board Her Majesty's ships, and discontinue that class which is now termed "Landsmen." This measure would not only provide an improving body of artillery men, but at the same time every squadron would convey battalions of effective soldiers, ready to take the field on any emergency. In offering these remarks, we are supported by the opinions of many of our most distinguished naval officers. The immortal Nelson has been frequently heard to say, "When I become first lord of the Admiralty, every fleet shall have perfect battalions of Marines, with their artillery, and commanded by experienced field officers, they will be prepared to make a serious impression on the enemy's coast." And we find it stated by Mr. Tucker, that lord St. Vincent was so persuaded of the importance of keeping up an extensive establishment of Marines, that his lordship remarked, "The French from the era of Louis XIV. have always equipped their fleet sooner than we have, and their 1 bureau de classe' continues in full vigour. Without a large body of Marines, we shall be long, very long, before an efficient fleet can be sent to sea." This system is persevered in, and it will be observed that, in the last vote of the French Chambers, where the number of seamen amounted to 26,000 men, the Marine Artillery numbered 19,000. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1845. Monday 13th January. The numbers seem to have remained unaltered until 1845, when there is a very interesting Order-in-Council dated Monday 13th January 1845, which, whilst giving the numbers for that year, affords information as to the employment of the RM Artillery: "Consideration of the steam vessels and weight of armaments and consequent insufficiency of present numbers of the Companies of Marine Artillery, a portion of whom are embarked in each vessel.
Previous to 1831 the Marine Artillery consisted of eight companies; in that year four companies were reduced and in 1832 two more; at which period the horse-power of the Navy amounted to 2660 horses; in 1841 one company was added, making the strength 405.
The Steam Navy now amounts to upwards of 26,000 H.P., and this amount will be doubled in a few years; the Board therefore propose to establish two companies of RMA without adding to the total foree of RM, viz 10,500” ”The total strength was divided into Staff 62, RM 9,682, Artillery Companies 725. The cost of the change was estimated to be £2741.” On Wednesday 18th March 1846, two more Artillery Companies were added, making 7 all told; the numbers were taken from the Divisional Companies without altering the total.
The RMA Headquarters about this time were moved back to the Gunwharf Barracks, still forming part of the Portsmouth Division; and when there were too many men for these and Fort Cumberland, men were sent to the other Divisions. Bands - A subscription of one day's pay from all officers was ordered for the support of the bands from Saturday 19th March 1842 and has continued ever since.
Quartermasters - On Tuesday 19th May 1846 a big departure was made. For the first time a second Quartermaster was added to each Division and instead of a combatant officer being appointed for a term of years, they were selected from the Staff Sergeants of the Corps; but it was not until Order-in-Council Friday 18th January 1850 that any scales of pay were laid down for them and not until Order-in-Council Friday 26th June 1857 that there was any scheme of Retired or Half Pay. It would seem that this addition must have been due to the increased duties in connection with rations and quartering, for we learn13 that it was not till then that the GOC Western District ordered that an evening meal of tea or coffee and a proportion of bread should be provided in addition to breakfast and dinner; and the hour of pm after evening roll-call is suggested.
Duelling - A very important change in the social customs was made by the Army Order forbidding Duelling, on Friday 15th March 1844; as we have seen it was more or less officially recognised, though when the Commandant at Portsmouth reported in 1812 that an officer had died of his wounds, the other officers concerned absconded and the Commandant was ordered to 'respite' their pay.
The year 1847 was noteworthy for legislation affecting service which still governs the Corps. On Saturday 24th April 1647 the strength was raised from 10,500 to 12,000, which included three more companies at a strength of 145 each added to the RMA14 making 10. The Acting Adjutant RMA was put on the same footing as the other Adjutants of the Corps.
The Divisional Companies were 100 with a strength of 104 each, and on 22nd July another Lieutenant Colonel was added. Medals - On Tuesday 1st June 1847 the issue of the Naval War Service Medal for the Great War 1793-1815 was authorised with clasps for the numerous and various actions. The same medal was also issued for the Syrian Campaign of 1840 and for Navarino, 1827. There were 230 different bars issued. The distribution took place on Monday lst January 1849, when naturally there was not a very large number of recipients surviving. An Army Medal was also issued with clasp for their battles, and a certain number of these were issued to the Royal Marines.
Marine Mutiny Act - Since the Great War the problem of the age of officers had been very pressing, but it would now seem as if some difficulty was arising as regards the men. As we have seen, except for certain exceptions during the war periods when men were enlisted for 3 years or the duration of the war, or from the militia for 'Limited Service', enlistment had always been for life, and no doubt the peace period was producing men too old for the duties required.

Doubtless also the influence of the Army Service Act 1847 was felt and at all events the Mutiny Act of this year 13 Plymouth Orders, Friday 8th August 1845. 23 passed on Sunday 1st August 1847 contained the first provision for limiting service in the Marines, and was known as the Marine Mutiny Act 1847 (d 12 Victoria c 53), the provisions of which are still in force, by which it was ordered that men were to be discharged after 12 years' service, and allowed to re-engage for another 12 years (afterwards modified to 9, in 1853).
This was a revolutionary step and had a great effect on the Corps. The Pension Regulations were altered at the same time. Apparently, on Monday 26 June 1837, pensions had been granted after 21 years at sea or on foreign service, two years on shore in England to count as one year afloat and no Marine was entitled unless he had 10 years afloat or on foreign service. Further, since Sunday 1st January 1832 service had only counted from the age of twenty; now by an Order-in-Council Thursday 17th June 1847 this rule was declared to be unfair, and a reversion to the old Marine system was ordered, by which Marines were entitled to benefit from the whole of their service ashore and afloat and were allowed to reckon service from the age of 15.
On 1st August a new scale of pensions was fixed, which remained in force up to 1919, viz 8d a day, with additions of 21 pence for Sergeant Majors, 2 pence for QMS, 1 penny for Sergeants, a ha’penny for Corporals, with limits of 2/6, 2/3, 2/-, and 1/6 for respective classes. Acting time did not count. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1845. March. During the First Maori War in New Zealand, Marines helped defend Russell Island. 1845. March. New Zealand - In quite another quarter of the Globe, in New Zealand, trouble arose over the occupation of tribal land between the settlers and the Maoris. In March 1845 at Kororareka, the Chief Heke so harried the settlement that it was abandoned, and the inhabitants went to Auckland. Reinforcements were demanded from Australia and on their arrival the 58th and 96th Regiments with the Seamen and Marines of HMS North Star and hazard and a body of natives, proceeded against a stockade called Okaihau. As they had no artillery it was found to be impregnable, and they were forced to retire with a loss of 14 killed and 59 wounded. On Monday 23rd June 1845 they attacked another stronghold - 0heawi; the guns were useless till a 32 pdr was brought up from HMS Hazard. On lst July the assault was delivered and again repulsed with heavy loss; on 10th it was found that the Maoris had evacuated the Pah. In November 1845 Sir G. Grey XI, the governor sent a force of 1170 soldiers, volunteers, Seamen and Marines against the Chiefs Heke and Kawiti. Heke was at Ikoragi, but the force proceeded against Kawiti in the Pah at Ruapekapeka and. besieged it from Wednesday 31st December to Saturday 10th January 1846, when the Maoris abandoned it. The British loss was 13 killed and 30 wounded. The Chiefs surrendered and were pardoned, and the War in the North Island ended. A medal was granted for this campaign in 1869. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.) (sic)

1845. Thursday 8th May. The Storming of Heke’s Pah at Okaihu. Royal Marines from HMS Hazard and HMS North Start were present.

1845. 23rd June - 7th July. The Battle of Ohaeawai was fought between British Forces and local Māori during the Flagstaff War at Ohaeawai in the North Island of New Zealand (11th March 1845 - 11 January 1846). Te Ruki Kawiti, a prominent Rangatira (chief) was the leader of the Māori forces. The Battle was notable in that it established that the fortified pā (village) could withstand a bombardment from cannon fire and that frontal assaults by soldiers would result in serious troop losses. Lieutenant Colonel Despard led a combined force of troops from the 58th and 99th Regiments, Royal Marines and Māori allies in an attack on Pene Taui's Pā at Ohaeawai, which had been fortified by Kawiti. The British troops arrived at the Ohaeawai Pā on 23rd June and established a camp about 500 metres away. On the summit of a nearby hill (Puketapu) where they built a four-gun battery. They opened fired the next day and continued until dark, but did very little damage to the palisade. The next day the guns were brought to within 200 metres of the pā. The bombardment continued for another two days but still did very little damage. This was due to the elasticity of the flax covering the palisade. Since the introduction of muskets the Māori had learnt to cover the outside of the palisades with layers of flax (Phormium tenax) leaves, making them effectively bullet proof as the velocity of musket balls was dissipated by the flax leaves. However the main fault was a failure to concentrate the cannon fire on one area of the defences, so as to create a breach in the palisade. After two days of bombardment without effecting a breach, Despard ordered a frontal assault. He was, with difficulty, persuaded to postpone this pending the arrival of a 32 pound naval gun which came the next day on the 1st July. However an unexpected sortie from the pā resulted in the temporary occupation of the knoll on which Tāmati Wāka Nene had his camp and the capture of Nene's colours - the Union Jack. The Union Jack was carried into the pā. There it was hoisted, upside down, and at half mast high, below the Māori flag, which was a Kākahu (Māori cloak). This insulting display of the Union Jack was the cause of the disaster which ensued. Infuriated by the insult to the Union Jack, Colonel Despard ordered an assault upon the pā the same day. The attack was directed to the section of the pā where the angle of the palisade allowed a double flank from which the defenders of the pā could fire at the attackers, the attack was a reckless endeavour. The British persisted in their attempts to storm the unbreached palisades and five to seven minutes later 33 were dead and 66 injured. The casualties included Captain Grant of the 58th Regiment and Lieutenant Phillpotts of HMS Hazard. Shaken by the loss of a third of his troops, Despard decided to abandon the siege. However, his Māori allies contested this decision. Tāmati Wāka Nene persuaded Despard to wait for a few more days. More ammunition and supplies were brought in and the shelling continued. On the morning of the 8th July the pā was found to have been abandoned, the occupants having disappeared in the night. When they had a chance to examine it the British officers found it to be even stronger than they had feared. The defenders of the pā had four iron cannons on ship-carriages including a carronade that was loaded with a bullock-chain, and fired at close quarters at the attaching soldiers. The colonial forces capture these cannons, one of which had been destroyed by a shot from a British cannon. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.) (sic) 

1845. Wednesday 18th June. Bombardment of Tamatave.

1845. Tuesday 19th August. Operations against the Pirates by the Royal Navy had been in progress for two or three years. However, on the 19th August the pirate strong hold of Malludu defended by 100 men and two forts armed with 12 heavy guns were attacked and destroyed by boats of the Agincourt and 7 other vessels. Captain Hawkins Royal Marines, 4 Lieutenants, 8 Sergeants, 8 Corporal, 3 Fifers and 178 Privates were present.

1845. August. Relief of Monte Video.

1845. Thursday 20th November. Defeat of the enemy at Obligado on the Parana.

1845. Captain Talbot RN lead a force of 350 seaman and Royal Marines in 27 boats up the Sungei Besar river, in the Labuan area of Borneo, to successful attack a pirate stronghold, For the loss of only 21 killed and wondered.

1845. Thursday 20th November. South America, Puente Obligado. Brevet Major R. Leonard with The Marines of the squadron was landed for the protection of British interests during the siege of Monte Video by the Argentine’s, and remained there from 1843 to 1847. At the destruction of the batteries erected by General Rosas at Puente Obligado by combining British and French squadrons on the 2th November, Captain F. Hurdle landed with 145 Royal Marines and drove back the enemy from their position covering the Batteries at the point of the bayonet. 180 seamen who had been specially trained as Light Infantry by Lieutenant J.E.W. Lawrence of the Royal Marine Artillery drove them out of the woods they held at the same time. To facilitate the passage of a convoy past the Batteries of San Lorenzo, Lieutenant C.L. Barnard of the RMA With 12 gunners, Lieutenant Mackinnon RN the boatswain and pilot of the Alecto and 11 seamen with 4 rocket tubes lay concealed for three days on a small Island close under the guns. When the moment came for the convoy and their escorting gun vessels to pass the batteries, the RMA and seamen manned their rocket tubes. Lieutenant Barnard planted the British Flag under the noses of the enemy, and by the well aimed and heavy discharge of rockets the passage of the convoy was made possible. In the evening the Marines of the squadron under Captain Hurdle RM and 4 Subalterns were landed and supported by the Bluejackets small arm men, stormed the batteries and spiked the guns.

1845. Thursday 31st December – 11th January 1846. A Royal Marines ships detachment stormed Ruapekapekeon a New Zealand Station.

1846. Monday 6th April. Alecto engaged at San Lorenzo and Toneloro.

1846. Tuesday 21st April. Lizard engaged near San Lorenzo.

1846. Monday 11th May. Harpy engaged at San Lorenzo.

1846. Thursday 4th June. Gorgon and consorts at San Lorenzo.

1846. Tuesday 7th - 8th July. Sir T. Cochrane at Pulo Bungore and Brune.

1846. July. Colonia captured.

1847. Saturday 3rd April. Vulcan and consorts attacked Bogue Forts.

1847. Monday 5th April. Bogue Forts captured.

1847. The deployment aboard ship was usually at a ratio of one Marine per gun with officers. This ratio was maintained when the Marine Forces were re-raised. The Marines were present in every notable, and not so notable, fleet and ship-to-ship action between 1793-1815. For example they were at 1st June, St Vincent, Camperdown, the Nile, Copenhagen, Trafalgar, the Dardenelles, Cape Lissa and Aix  Roads.
They always formed part of any cutting out excursion ‘seizing an enemy ship by using ships' boats and taking it from its anchorage). But the Marines also distinguished themselves on land either serving with the army or serving as part of a naval brigade (a force made up of both seamen and marines) such as at Tenerife in 1797 or Santa Maura in 1810. 

Other examples are 1799 in the Helder where they helped garrison the forts or in 1812, where the Royal Marine Battalions served aboard Commodore Home Popham's squadron off the north coast of Spain. Together with Spanish forces, they disrupted coastal traffic, captured several towns and ports and tied up the French Army of the North not allowing it to reinforce the Army of Portugal, which was subsequently defeated at Salamanca.
Most Marine battalions were ad hoc formations temporarily made up from the Marines serving in the fleet or squadron. There were Royal Marine battalions formed by the fleets for locations such as South Africa 1795, Acre 1799, Naples 1799, Malta 1800, Egypt 1801, Elba 1801, South Africa 1806, South America 1806-1807, Portugal 1808, Walcheren 1809, Anholt 1811, Java 1811, Netherlands 1813, North America 1814-1815 and Marseilles 1815.
There were, however, three more permanent battalions formed in Britain for service overseas: The 1st Battalion at Chatham, formed 30 September 1810 for service in Lisbon as the Royal Marine Battalion (numbered when the 2nd Battalion was raised). It left Lisbon in early 1812 to reorganize in Britain and returned to the north coast of Spain in 1812.  Left for Britain again in December 1812 and arrived in Chesapeake Bay in June 1813 taking part in all of the operations there.  In October 1813, the 1st Battalion left for British North America where it served until July 1814 when it was ordered to be distributed in the Great Lakes squadrons. A cadre reformed the battalion in Bermuda and it went to the Georgia coast, where it last saw action at St. Mary’s River, Georgia in January and February 1815. It was finally disbanded in Britain July 1815. It had an artillery company and a small rocket corps attached.
The 2nd Battalion at Chatham, formed in July 1812 for service in the Peninsula. The 2nd Battalion arrived on the north coast of Spain in August 1812. In company with the 1st Battalion, it left for Britain December 1812. It arrived in the Chesapeake Bay in June 1813 taking part in all of the operations there. The 2nd Battalion was sent to British North America in September 1813.  By order of the Admiralty in May 1814, the 2nd Battalion was broken up and dispersed among the Great Lakes squadrons. A cadre went to Chesapeake Bay where in August 1814, the 3rd Marine Battalion was now re-designated the 2nd Marine Battalion.  It saw service at Bladensburg. In December 1814, the 2nd Battalion, with the 3rd Battalion, went to join the 1st Battalion at St. Mary’s River, Georgia. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in Britain July 1815.  It had an artillery company attached.

Each battalion organized for service in North America originally contained:
1 Major Commanding; 1 Major; 8 Captains; 16 Lieutenants; 1 Paymaster; 1 Adjutant; 1 Quartermaster; 1 Surgeon; 1 Assistant-Surgeon; 2 Staff-Sergeants, 40 Sergeants; 40 Corporals; 16 Drummers and 672 Privates.
Each battalion also included one company of Royal Marine Artillery:
1 Captain; 4 Lieutenants; 4 Sergeants; 4 Corporals; 6 Bombardiers; 2 Drummers and 60 Gunners.
Artillery consisted of:
Four light 6 pounders; two light 5 ½ inch howitzers; two 10 inch mortars and two 8 inch brass howitzers.
The 3rd Marine Battalion at Portsmouth, formed in January 1814, by detachments there and by Royal Marine detachments withdrawn from serving in the Netherlands. It consisted of:
1  Major, 4 Captains, 21 Lieutenants 1 Adjutant, 1 Quartermaster and 10 Companies of 100 men each. Attached was one company of Royal Marine Artillery.
It arrived in Chesapeake Bay in July 1814. In August 1814, the 3rd Battalion was re-designated the 2nd Battalion and in September Vice Admiral Cochrane ordered the formation of a new 3rd Battalion using three companies of Royal Marines from the old 2nd Battalion and three companies of Colonial Marines. The Colonial Marines had been formed in Maryland, in May 1814, from escaped slaves and had been serving on the Atlantic coast. They saw service at Bladensburg and North Point. 
The 3rd Battalion, with the 2nd Battalion, left Chesapeake Bay in December 1814 and rendezvoused with the 1st Battalion at St. Mary’s River, Georgia.  In April 1815 the Royal Marine companies were separated from the Colonial Marine companies of the 3rd Battalion. The Colonial Marines were joined by three new companies recruited from escaped slaves in Georgia, continued to be known as the 3rd Battalion, and finally disbanded in August 1815 in Trinidad.

1847. Francis Whatley was born in the town of Warminster, in the county of Wiltshire, in the year 1830, and enlisted into the Royal Marines in the year 1847.
After pursuing the ordinary course of a soldiers life for several years, doing duty at various places at home, and cruising in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Queen, the Flagship of Admiral Sir W Parker, he found himself, on the outbreak of the Russian war, in 1854, at Varna, on board the Agamemnon, assisted in the embarkation of the Allied Armies which were assembled at that place, to transport them to the Crimea, the Allied Commanders Lord Raglan and Marshall St Arnaud having resolved upon attacking the Russian power in that quarter.
Whatley says that the sight which presented itself upon the occasion of the embarkation at Varna was most magnificent; the sea as far as the eye could reach being covered with ships of all descriptions, having on board French and English troops, horses and war materials of every kind.
Having been transferred to the Britannia, Whatley now sailed in company with others of his corps for the Crimea, and arrived at a place which he calls "Old Fort", where some of the soldiers began to land. It was not long however before the Russians let them know that they were on the lookout, for they commenced a sharp skirmish with the advanced portion of the landing troops.
After a short stay at "Old Fort", he set sail for Upatoria with detachments of Marines from the French and English fleets, and a detachment of Turkish soldiers, each about 500 in number, for the purposes of holding that town, and to prevent a division of the Russian Army about 10 000 strong from forming a junction with the main body of the Russian Army at the Alma. This it appears they succeeded in doing, although so greatly inferior in number, managing no doubt to keep the enemy in ignorance in that respect,
On the 20th of September was fought the battle of the Alma; and Whatley says that they could distinctly hear the booming of the cannon, while the battle was raging, though he was then at Upatoria, between 20 and 30 miles distant from the scene of the fight.
From Upatoria he sailed in the Cyclops steamer to Balaclava and was sent to the height to do duty in the batteries there.
He was present at the battle of Balaclava, which happened on the 25th October 1854, and witnessed the celebrated "Charge of the Light Brigade", when about 670 men rode down the valley through the Russian forces, while the Russians rained upon them shot and shell from almost every quarter. Suffice it to say that only about 200 men returned from the charge, the remainder having been killed or disabled.
Whatley continued at Balaclava for several weeks after the battle, and then marched to the front to do duty in the trenches with the Royal Artillery before Sebastopol, Whatley himself having become some time previously an artilleryman of the Royal Marines.
He was next engaged at the battle of Inkerman which transpired on the 5th of November. This was a dreadful hand to hand fight, in which a few thousand English kept at bay an immense force of Russians who had come upon them unawares, under the cover of a dark foggy morning, until some French reinforcements arrived, when victory declared itself in favour of the allies.
Our friend remained before Sebastopol working in many batteries until the fall of that place. On one occasion when exchanging shots with the Russians a ball struck dead three out of the five men who were working at the same gun as Whatley.
He also took part in the bombardment of Sebastopol on the 18th June and witnessed the abortive attempts of the Allies to take it by storm on that day. He was also present and engaged in the final three days bombardment, which resulted in the fall of that stronghold on the 8th September 1855.
After the fall of this place he next returned to Balaclava and went on board the St Jean do Acre 101 guns and sailed with the Allied expedition destined to attack the fortress of Kimburn and assisted in its reduction, the garrison surrendering themselves prisoners of war.
Whatley now returned to the Black Sea and sailed from thence in the Juno steamer for England arriving in Portsmouth harbour on the 24th November 1855. He continued in the service until 1861, when he claimed his discharge after a service of 12 years; having received the English and Turkish medals for the campaign in the Crimea. (Sic)
(From "The Skepton Mallett Home Words" – January 1876) Marines in 'John Company's Last War' by Lieutenant Colonel Brian Edwards. 'Reminiscence of the Crimea Campaign' from S.G. Blacker.

1848. Portsmouth Division moved into Forton Barracks, Gosport.

1848. Saturday 12th February. The storming of fort Serapaqui on a Nicaragua river, Lieutenant R. Boyle RM and 30 Royal Marines from HMS Alarm and HMS Vixen were present.

1848. Wednesday 29th March. The Royal Marines occupied Forton Barracks Gosport, moving from Clarence Barracks Portsmouth.

1848. Monday 12th June 1848 - Wednesday 13th September 1850. John Hopkinson, late Private, 26th Company Royal Marines, Portsmouth Division: 'A Cruise In The Mediterranean'
I was enlisted at Leeds in the County of York on the 6th day of December 1847, at the age of 21 years and 3 months. I was attested on the 7th and left Leeds by express the same night, arriving in London about 5 o'clock the next morning. We soon set off again, for Portsmouth, where we arrived about 2 p.m., and I remained in Barracks there until my turn came to go to sea. On the 22nd May 1848,.a draft came in for 40 men and I happened to be one in that number. We were called out and passed the doctor, and on the following day we embarked on board Her Britannic Majesty's Ship HOVE, 120 guns, Captain Sir James Stirling, K.T. She had then been in commission about 12 months; the first six months she was cruising in the English Channel, then she was ordered back to England to take the Queen Dowager out to Madeira. When the Queen had landed at Madeira the ship went to Lisbon and joined the Channel Squadron again, under Rear Admiral Sir Charles Napier, until the Queen was ready to return.
At this time they were augmenting all the Ships' companies. Previous to this time every three-decker that carried 120 guns had been allowed 160 Marines, and now they were augmenting them to 200 and 800 seamen, making a total of 1000 men for a ship's company. I was one in the 40 to make up her complement. In a week's time-after-we embarked we took the ship out to Spit Head, then we got in our lower deck gun powder and shot, provisions and water, and they served us last-comers out with a bed and blanket each. (We had had nothing to sleep on but the bare decks from coming on board.) They also served us out two hammocks each. I soon found out that ship's duty was a great deal harder than Barrack duty, for we had to turn out every morning at 4 a.m. while we were fitting out, and we had to work very hard the whole of the day getting the ship ready for sea.
On the 12th day of June we weighed anchor and got on the way about 9 o'clock in the morning. The boatswain mates piped Hands up Anchor, so we manned the capstan as many as could get to.
The band was ordered on deck, and we kept time with our feet as the band played. There were a great many boats round about us, several who had come out from the harbour to take their farewell of some of the ship's company. Some had fathers and mothers, some brothers and sisters, some wives and. children. It was almost heart-rending to see some, how they clung to each other up to the very last. As for me, I had nobody near to come to see me (I was 300 miles away from any of my friends, and I thought at the time it was almost as well it was so.)
After this passes away, and we find ourselves sailing on with a fair steady breeze round the Isle-of Wight, watching the porpoises rolling and leaping around, and the ship's band playing every night merrily down the coast of Portugal and of Spain, and in 14 days from England we arrive at Gibraltar. It is just dusk when all hands are calling out "The Rock is in sight". There was a fair wind, so we sailed on against the strong current and we passed by, seeing very little of the Rock and we took to the Barbary Coast keeping to the African coast all the way, never long out of sight of it. We arrived in Malta on the 17th July, and left again the following day to go in search of the Fleet. We cruised about a few days, then we fell in with the Fleet just off Palermo. When we left Malta we made for the coast of Sicily which lies straight ahead, and on the third day we came in sight of Mount Etna.
We sail on down the channel, with the most glorious scenery disclosing itself at every point, but Etna seems to absorb all till at length it disappears, and we come into the beautiful Straits of Messina, also Palermo, and it is here that we fall in with the Fleet. The following are the names of all the ships belonging to the Fleet at this time:-
H.M. Ship HIBERNIA 120 guns, bearing the flag of Vice Admiral Sir William Parker, GCB, (Chattez C Stadden) the QUEEN 116, the RODNEY 84, VANGUARD 84, VENGEANCE 84, POWERFUL 84, then there was the ship to which I belong, the HOWE 120, and there were two French line of battle ships with us, besides a few smaller ships. We sailed on together, sometimes in line of battle order and sometimes all in a breast.
We sailed on round the point of Sicily on our way to Naples, past the Lipari Islands, one of which (Stromboli) is a very active volcano. We are admiring the formation of the clouds that hang over the Sicilian coast, when we perceive there is a mountain up among them, round which they are gathered, and to our infinite surprise and delight, glorious old Etna comes out of her cloud chambers and stands there full to view for at least some 50 miles, Looking if possible grander than when we first beheld her.
The next day we sail into the Bay of Naples. It is said to be the finest and most beautiful bay in the world, and certainly it would be difficult to find another to surpass it. There is Vesuvius smoking on the one side, with vineyards and dwellings half way up the ascent. At the foot of it on the side furthest from us is Pompeii which was buried by an eruption rather less than 1800 years ago, and at its foot nearest to us is a city built on Herculareum, another buried city, as this perhaps may be buried in its turn. There just before us in the curve of the bay is Naples itself. Its streets, as we see them from the ship, seem full of life, and its buildings rising up one above another, some of the domes and spires of the churches shining in the sunlight like burnished gold. I, of course, had a strong desire to go on shore, but I knew I should have to wait some time for this privilege. Our officers began going on shore very shortly after we dropped anchor, and in a few weeks, after we had gone through some slight repairs, to my great delight they commenced giving leave to the men, about 3 or 4 from each mess. It was not very long before I got leave for 24 hours, and this was the first time we had been on shore since we left England. I went onshore with a good many more, and I will just mention a. few things we noticed. First, all the fortifications were turned inwards, so that they could pour destruction in upon the city as well as upon an enemy without. There are four great forts, all the cannon of which are pointed upon the city, while there are government build­ings surmounted by cannon in every direction, and at the ends of some of the principle streets you see loopholes and mouths of cannons peeping out at you in every direction, anything but pleasant to behold. I think we almost saw all around Naples there is a very large Barracks which we went to look at, where we were told they could parade some 1000 soldiers on the top.
I saw the King's palace, also the Opera House but I was not inside. There is also a fine museum in Naples, enriched not only with works of art but with relics from Pompeii.
We stopped at Naples and roundabout for more than eight months. We had not been long in the Bay of Naples before the remainder of the French Fleet joined us. There were seven English line of battle ships and eight line of battle ships of the French; there were two French Admirals and one English Admiral. There was a war going on at the time; we could see them shipping troops from Naples regularly, mostly to Palermo, it was said. But what the cause of this war was I am not prepared to say, for men in the Service never get to know much what is going on, only what they can see. When they hear anything it generally comes out from England either in their letters from home or newspapers. We were at Naples on Christmas Day, and a first-class Christmas we had. Each mess subscribed money and had a quantity of meat and other things brought from ashore, and great quantities of fruit, as fruit is very cheap in nearly all parts, of the Mediterranean. Each mess made a large chandelier and filled it with candles, and when they piped to dinner we lighted all our candles and lowered all the ports, and the band played us "The Roast Beef of Old England" while we were eating the roast beef of Naples.
Sometime in January the Admiral despatched us. off to different places; our ship and another went to a place called Castellamare, one to Genoa, one to Messina, one to Palermo, and the Admiral stopped at Naples. Occasionally the Admiral called us all together and exercised us, and the French Fleet also began to move off but where I cannot tell. It was said our business
there was to protect our Merchants. About the middle of April 1849, we weighed anchor, the whole of us except the VENGEANCE and we left her there.
We sailed out of the Bay very nicely without any accidents and we came down to Malta. The weather was very hot at this time, hotter than ever I had felt it in England. We had an awning
spread fore and aft the upper deck the whole day long to keep the sun off. We had scarcely let go our anchors before there were scores of boats, called Bom boats, with fruit and other things to sell; they were crowding round the ships in all directions. It is the Maltese harvest when the Fleet is there; we could buy almost anything in Malta, the same as in England.
We had not been long in Malta before we got leave to on shore. The day I went on shore there were two of my mess mates besides a comrade of mine from another mess, a native of Great Horton, the name of Jowett. With us being used to nothing but the ship's decks for about 12 months, and the weather being so warm and the roads so rough, we had no sooner landed and walked a very short distance, but we had all the skin off our feet. I soon found out I should not have to do much this time on shore.
There are always two English Regiments stationed in Malta, besides a regiment of natives called Royal Malta Fencibles. At this time there were the 44th and 69th Regiments lying there, and I was aware that there were several from Bradford and the neigh­bourhood, so we went to the St. Elmo Fort where the 69th was lying, and we met with several Yorkshiremen. At night their bands were out on the Parade Ground, which I thought sounded delightful more than 2,000 miles from Old England, playing "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and other lively tunes. So I spent most of my time on shore this time amongst the soldiers, talking of home and watching the antics of some of our sailors and marines. Some who had come on shore with me were regularly drunk in a few hours (a man who keeps sober may enjoy himself best in watching their merrymaking). You might see them sometimes with great bunches of flowers which they have bought from the flower girls, pinned in their breasts, marching 4 or 5 abreast singing with all their might. Sometimes they will hire nearly all the boats in the harbour and fasten them in a train, and fill the first with music which they make play "Rule Britannia" for hours together. Sometimes they will hire a number of horses on which they will play the wildest freaks imaginable, getting on the "upper deck" as they call the horse's back, not at all particular whether they face the head or tail, often preferring the latter, and the leader of them has a large stone tied round the horse's neck and every grog shop they come to he drops the stone and that is "dropping anchor", an example in which all the Fleet follow their Admiral.
However, night comes on and we have to look out for lodgings. I and my companions got what we considered very good lodgings, but we had not long been in bed before something came buzzing about us. We could not sleep, what with the heat and these torments flying about us; we scarcely got any sleep at all, and when we enquired in the morning they gave us to understand that they were what they called Mosquitos. After breakfast we had a walk, and I noticed that the houses are all built with flat roofs and a parapet with a staircase leading up to it, and not in frequently people seek relief from the heat below by sleeping there at night. We returned on board again at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and that was the first time ashore in Malta.
After a time I got leave again, with the same companion as before, and we were determined to go out in the country this time, so we hired a horse each and we drove out to Cevitia Vecchia. As you travel through the country you see the sheep and goats all feeding in the same flock, you look upon the trees around and you see the fig trees by the wayside, and the palm, locust, vine and pomegranate. As for orange and lemon trees, they with their golden fruit are beyond all number. Then as you drive along you see a man ploughing with what looks like two sticks, drawn by a yoke of oxen, or an ox and ass yoked together. As for the cultivation of the island, that is peculiar in one respect, that it is mostly done in terraces, the edges of which are build up by stones.

1848. July. During the revolutionary troubles in Ireland a small Battalion of 300 men was sent to Dublin in July and proceeded to Waterford. It was present at the attack on Portland Barracks and the attempted destruction of the Granagh Bridge over the River Suir on Tuesday 12th September 1848. On Wednesday 1st March the complements of ships on the Irish station had been increased by 300 men. The Battalion had been withdrawn in February 1840.

1848. Royal Marine battalion in South Ireland.

1848. The strength was 12,000 but a fresh distribution was ordered, by which 12 new companies were created, but with reduced strength; which allowed 700 men to be transferred to the Artillery companies and the creation of 3 additional Artillery companies. An additional Lieutenant Colonel was, allowed for the Artillery Companies, and one for the Corps generally.
Portsmouth Barracks - In this year came also the move from the old Clarence Barracks at Portsmouth to the new Barracks, which had been erected on the land where the old hospital for prisoners of war used to stand at Forton. These were exchanged with the War Office for the Clarence Barracks, and at first consisted only of the four large blocks. The transfer took place on Wednesday 29th March 1848. At the same time the Barracks for the Woolwich Division on Woolwich Common were completed. These were the latest things of their day and appear to have been a very fine set of buildings. They were called the Cambridge Barracks: since 1846 the Division had been quartered in the old 74-gun hulk Benbow alongside the quay in the Dockyard. The Infirmary was established in what is now known as the Red Barracks. (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1848. The Royal Marines were again in Lisbon. Admiral Sir William Parker, owing to the critical state of affairs in Portugal on Wednesday 21st October 1846, offered an asylum to Queen Maria II. Some Marines, who had been sent out in the Terrible, were available and he was authorised to retain them on lst November, and the Admiralty hoped that he would be able to occupy Belem Castle with them. They were retained until matters calmed down.

1849. The strength voted was: Staff - 70 112
Divisional Companies - 10416 10 Artillery Companies - 1500 11986 An Order-in-Council of l6th January 1849 contains many valued concessions to the Marines which exist to the present day. It is laid down that a Marine's service commenced from date of attestation as service towards pension, reckoned from the age of 18 only.
Meritorious Service Medal - It instituted the Meritorious Service Medal, granting annuities for distinguished service to Sergeants - for which a sum of £250 was allowed, to be divided in sums not exceeding £20 per annum, to be enjoyed whilst serving or after discharge. The medal to be of silver "For Meritorious Service" and not to be liable to forfeiture except by sentence of Court Martial or on conviction of a felony.
Order-in-Council Tuesday 11th January 1853 modified the annuities.
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal - It also instituted gratuities for the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal - Sergeants £15, Corporals £10, Privates £5 - provided they had served 2l years with irreproachable character and never been convicted by court martial. It also laid down the conditions for the grant of Good Conduct Badges and introduced the proviso of the grant of the 4th Good Conduct Badge at 16 years (now obsolete). It also brought in the regulation that deprivation of Good Conduct Badges could only be by Warrant, as for corporal punishment, and that no man wearing a GCB was liable to corporal punishment except for mutinous conduct.
Gunnery - An Order-in-Council of lst July 1849 directed that Marines generally should be trained in Naval Gunnery, also in knotting and splicing, hammock-slinging, boat pulling, etc. Hitherto such instruction on shore had been confined to the Artillery training of the RMA., but it was not till the year 1877 that a definite standard of Trained Man as for seamen was laid down for the Infantry of the Corps. A curious old custom was abolished on Saturday 6th October 1849. Apparently, Captains of Marines afloat were liable to a deduction of 1/1 a day to meet cost of provisions. No naval or military officers were so liable, and it was 24 abolished on lst July. (Sic) (H. E. Blumberg.  Devonport January 1934.)

1849. Riff Coast Expedition.