The Role of the Royal Marines During World War One
The Royal Marines were formed in 1664. They were formed as part of the
Navy to keep order on board the men-of-war, to provide the Navy with a
raiding force but mainly to deal with the Dutch, who were the
combatant in 1664.
The Marines have always been a flexible force, fighting on land and on
sea, a skill which has made them one of the most advanced forces of
modern warfare, a weapon in their own right. This essay looks at the
role that the Royal Marines played during and surrounding World War
Prior to the outbreak of World War One, the last action that the
Marines had seen was during ...view middle of the document...
It was decided that
there were enough men to form two Naval Brigades and a RM (Royal
Marines) Brigade. These three brigades became known as the RND (Royal
Naval Division). They were formed in five days and were sent to Ostend
and later sent to fight in Antwerp. However these troops were ill
equipped with next to no training.
The defence of Antwerp was a bit of a last ditch action. The Belgium
army (of six divisions) was pushed back to the fortress city of
Antwerp after bravely attempting to defend their country against the
German advance at Liege and the River Gate.
The allied governments had not realised the strategic importance of
Antwerp as a port and the rest of the Belgium coastline until it was
almost too late. The British, led by Winston Churchill, realised that
they needed to keep it to protect the safety of shipping in the
channel and hurriedly despatched the RND to Antwerp.
The Germans were itching to push into France and so left a screen to
hold the Belgians while the rest marched into France. However the
Belgians bravely attacked the screen to coincide with the battles on
the Marne and Aisne. The Germans finally withdrew troops from their
main force to deal with the Belgians. Then the Belgians, facing
fearful odds began to evacuate on the 6th October 1914, the same time
as the RND arrived to try and save the day.
The RND fought from their hastily dug trenches. The German Artillery
was overwhelming the fortresses surrounding the city and the retreat
became disordered. Many men crossed into neutral Netherlands to
escape, however other men were caught, despite specific orders that on
no account should men be caught in Antwerp. The total British
Casualties amounted to 2,600. 1,479 were interned in the Netherlands
and 936 taken prisoner.
On the 11th October 1914 the remaining units of the RND arrived back
in England and were sent to a training camp in Blanford in Dorset. The
camp was specially built to train the Naval Division and was also in
charge of training Marine replacements for the RM battalions.
The Port Divisions were in charge of providing detachments for ships
at sea, DAMS, Howitzer Battalions and other units.
The French regroup
The French thought that the movement by the Germans through Belgium
was a ploy
Meanwhile a contingent of marines was drafted into the RNAS Armoured
car squadron, which were sent to harass the German Calvary in the open
country North of Dunkirk. This was so successful that the Germans
thought this was the front of a major army.
From the 5th to the 21st November 1914 Marines saw action in Iraq as
part of the Mesopotamia campaign. The campaign was sent to protect the
oil fields, tanks and pipelines at Abadan. However when Turkey
attacked Russia, Turkey became an enemy and so 600...