Royal Marine Auctions

This is a first heard for me, that the Royal Marines hold auctions for their fallen comrades:

Without the Royal Navy there would be no Royal Marines (and the rest of the world followed suit, so it goes without saying; the party for Marines every where started in 1664)!

Traditionally the Marines Barracks on board ships under sail were placed between the sailors, who were bunked up forward, and the officers quarters, aft; the reason being to stop dissension and mutiny. As dusk approached the marines mounting duty had the right to discharge their muskets to prove they worked (as well as to prove a point to ‘jolly jack tar’).

The RM’s have much to thank the RN for as they have fought several times to keep the RM’s from being disbanded. From WW1 through to and after WW2, RM’s manned the main turrets on board most of the heavy ships of the line, as well as provided the ‘knuckling’ fighting parties required to go ashore to speak to the heathen kings around the Globe. RM Commando Units have established themselves in military history.

The RN may well pay our wages, but they certainly do not own us.

As traditions go a deceased Royal Marine will have the Union Flag draped upon his coffin as well as his Peaked Cap (or) Green Beret, Medals and Corps Pattern Belt. A Royal Marine Bugler will play the last post as the flags of the Royal Marine & British Legion Association standard bearers dip their colours in respect. Then its off to the pub for a gallon of the finest amber nectar.

Either before or after the funeral; it is also a long standing tradition that a ‘dead mans kit sale’ is held, where upon the RSM of his Commando Unit will auction of the deceased RM’s kit. The event is a ‘clear lower deck’ with all ranks attending. Outrageous prices are bid up for obscure items with all profits going to his next of kin. (I once bought a pair of boot laces for £100, and then put them back into the sale). The Green Beret and Medals always go to his immediate next of kin, as would be expected. The Chief clerk will deduct any bids from your pay the following month if required. ‘£ thousands’ are raised in such a way. Even bids from additional Commando Units are raised via telephone.

I have one or two mementos from such kit sales, which have pride of place on my display shelf, as I served with those they belonged to.

I for one enjoyed being ‘part’ of the Senior Service. My one belief being that if you have not served at sea, or accrued sea service time on your official documents, then you have not served as a true Royal Marine.

In the US we do hold fundraisers, but I’m not familiar with these great auctions.