An Officer of Marines, c. 1796


An Officer of Marines: drawn from Colonel C. Field’s Britain’s Sea-soldiers and H.G. Parkyn’s Shoulder-belt Plates and Buttons

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The first troops raised for sea service from which the Royal Marines descend, was authorised by an Order in Council dated October 16, 1664. Soon it was succeeded by other ‘maritime’ regiments, the custom being to raise new ones on the outbreak of a war, and to disband them immediately it ended because Parliament was suspicious of them retaining a standing army without its consent. In 1755, fifty companies of marines were raised and divided into three divisions, namely Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. In 1761, the marines distinguished themselves at the storming of Belle Île, for which action they are said to have been awarded the laurel wreath. At the time of the American Revolution the marines were about 10,000 strong, but on its conclusion, they were again reduced. On the outbreak of the war with France in 1793 they were rapidly augmented, so that by 1801 they had reached a strength of some 24,000 men. During this period the marines took part in all the major sea-battles and most of the actions under taken by the Navy ashore.

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Dimensions 17.5 × 25.5 cm


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