On the 28th October 1664 an Order-in-Council was issued calling for 1200 soldiers to be recruited for service in the Fleet, to be known as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot. As the Duke of York was The Lord High Admiral, it became known as the Admiral’s Regiment. The Regiment was paid by the Admiralty, it and its successors being the only long service troops in the 17th and 18th century navy.
They were therefore not only soldiers but also seamen, who were part of the complement of all warships. In 1704, during the war with France and Spain, the British attacked the Rock of Gibraltar: 1,900 British and 400 Dutch marines prevented Spanish reinforcements reaching the fortress. Later, British ships bombarded the city while marines and seamen stormed the defences. These later withstood nine months of siege. Today the Royal Marines display only the battle honour “Gibraltar”.
Early this morning I shook the three canines from their slumber and informed them it was the Corps of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines – birthday; A mere 349 years old. Formed on 28th October 1664 – 28th October 2013. Joss has now heard it eleven times; though it came as a surprise to Hannah & Nipper. As is usual, to celebrate the Corps birthday I took an early, but long walk (canines in tow), this time over the long field and through the ancient wooded dale, where upon we tarried a while as I glugged a tot of rum from my old hip flask. “May your soul already be in heaven an hour, before the devil knows your dead.” A salute to all of those gone before me, those serving, and those having served.
My phone constantly pinged text messages from ‘oppos’ far and wide, with just a few single words that will reverberate through the morning around the globe… “Happy Birthday Royal” . At sunset -16:38 hrs, I will raise a glass of port in memory of some good ‘oppos’ who are unable to do the same through their unselfish sacrifice.
Happy Birthday Royal! Yours Aye.