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The Royal Marines a Geo History

Dits - A monthly History Blog by Simon Biggs

Extracted from:
Royal Marines History.com

Come and see over 354 years of History Mapped out!
The Royal Marines a Geo History 1664 - Present

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Murder of Lord Mountbatten, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines


Aug 27, 2019 05:31 am

Murder of the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines, Admiral of the Fleet, The Earl Mountbatten of Burma KG GCB OM GCSI GCIE GCVO DSO PC by the IRA.
Mountbatten usually holidayed at his summer home, Classiebawn Castle, in Mullaghmore, a small seaside village in County Sligo, Ireland. The village was only 12 miles (19 km) from the border with Northern Ireland and near an area known to be used as a cross-border refuge by IRA members. In 1978, the IRA had allegedly attempted to shoot Mountbatten as he was aboard his boat, but poor weather had prevented the sniper taking his shot.
On 27 August 1979, Mountbatten went lobster-potting and tuna fishing in his 30-foot (9.1 m) wooden boat, Shadow V, which had been moored in the harbour at Mullaghmore.
IRA member Thomas McMahon had slipped onto the unguarded boat that night and attached a radio-controlled bomb weighing 50 pounds (23 kg). When Mountbatten was aboard, just a few hundred yards from the shore, the bomb was detonated. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast, and Mountbatten's legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged 79, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, but died from his injuries before being brought to shore.
Also aboard the boat were his elder daughter Patricia (Lady Brabourne), her husband John (Lord Brabourne), their twin sons Nicholas and Timothy Knatchbull, John's mother Doreen, (dowager) Lady Brabourne, and Paul Maxwell, a young crew member from County Fermanagh.
Nicholas (aged 14) and Paul (aged 15) were killed by the blast and the others were seriously injured.[121] Doreen, Lady Brabourne (aged 83) died from her injuries the following day.
The IRA issued a statement afterward, saying:
The IRA claim responsibility for the execution of Lord Louis Mountbatten. This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country. ... The death of Mountbatten and the tributes paid to him will be seen in sharp contrast to the apathy of the British Government and the English people to the deaths of over three hundred British soldiers, and the deaths of Irish men, women, and children at the hands of their forces
Chief of Combined Operations
In August of 1941, Mountbatten was appointed captain of HMS Illustrious... a command he eagerly anticipated while his ship lay in Norfolk, Virginia for repairs, following action in the Mediterranean in January. During this period of relative inactivity, he paid a flying visit to Pearl Harbour. He was not impressed with the poor state of readiness and a general lack of co-operation between the Navy and Army, including the absence of a joint HQ. These were interesting observations, in view of what was about to happen to Mountbatten himself and later to Pearl Harbour!
An Admiralty signal caught up with him on his return journey to Norfolk, Virginia. It was a personal telegram from Churchill, recalling him by the fastest possible means, to the UK. The order was not to be challenged or queried. Despite an assurance from Churchill, that he was required for "something that you will find of the highest interest," Mountbatten was far from happy to have the command of his dreams snatched away.
His subsequent meeting with Churchill at Chequers was far from harmonious but, in a visionary briefing, Churchill defined the role of Combined Operations Adviser along the following lines;
he was to succeed Roger Keyes in charge of Combined Operations, he was to develop a programme of Commando raids along the North Sea and Atlantic coastlines of enemy held territory. These would increase in intensity and design to tie up German resources that might otherwise be used on other fronts, he was to plan and prepare for the re-invasion of Europe. This was to be the overriding priority. In this regard Churchill made the point that all other HQs were on the defensive. Combined Operations had to think and plan for offensive operations.
D-Day was the culmination of Mountbatten's plans and preparations for offensive operations against the German forces. Although he had left for Burma some 8 months prior to D-Day, Churchill wrote to him following his visit, with others, to the Normandy beaches on D Day + 6.
Today we visited the British and American Armies on the soil of France. We sailed through vast fleets of ships with landing-craft of many types pouring more men, vehicles and stores ashore. We saw clearly the manoeuvre in progress of rapid development. We have shared our secrets in common and helped each other all we could. We wish to tell you at this moment in your arduous campaign that we realise how much of this remarkable technique and therefore the success of the venture has its origin in developments effected by you and your staff of Combined Operations.
(Signed) Arnold, Brooke, Churchill, King, Marshall, Smut.

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The Atlantic Memorial Campaign


Aug 26, 2019 07:30 am

HRH The Princess Royal becomes Patron of Battle of the Atlantic Memorial campaign
The charity behind the campaign to build the UK’s national memorial to the Battle of the Atlantic in Liverpool is today announcing that HRH The Princess Royal, has become its Patron.
In a letter to the campaign Her Royal Highness said:
“The Battle of the Atlantic, a six-year long campaign, was enormous in its scale, both geographically and logistically. In total over 100,000 people lost their lives in this epic struggle between the convoys and the U Boat packs. It required the combined efforts of huge numbers of men and women of many nationalities across their navies, air forces and merchant navies. The City of Liverpool, the command headquarters of the battle, became a target for some of the heaviest bombing of the Second World War due to its vital role as a port of entry to the UK. The city’s seafarers, dockworkers, shipbuilders and inhabitants were crucial in winning the battle together with port communities around the country.
However, The Battle of The Atlantic, whilst being a story of sorrow, is also a story of success. Through the alliance of many countries, and along with technical innovation, intelligence, dedication and bravery, the onslaught at sea was weathered, Britain was kept supplied and the tide of the war was turned. It is important to remember that the fuel for the planes in The Battle for Britain came across the Atlantic, so did the U.S. and Canadian soldiers who fought with us on D-Day to liberate Europe, as did so much else and so many others to keep the war effort going.
“The establishment of a permanent commemoration of the international achievement in Liverpool is one I fully support, and I lookforward to the legacy and engagement it will create to inspire future generations.”
The Princess Royal is the Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy. HRH has a long connection with the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS); she is Patron of the WRNS Benevolent Trust, the Association of Wrens and was Patron of the WRNS100 Project. The Princess Royal is also Commodore in Chief (Portsmouth).
Hundreds of Royal Marines served in the Battle of the Atlantic on HM Ships including 23 that lost their lives on the first Royal Navy Ship to be sunk HMS Courageous.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest campaign of World War Two. It began on September 3 1939 and lasted until VE Day May 8 in 1945, in total five years eight months and five days. The cost of the battle was extremely high for both sides. It is impossible to be sure how many died but an estimated 26,500 British merchant seamen were killed while the Royal Navy lost more than 23,000 seamen. The allied war dead of naval and merchant seaman is estimated at more than 20,000 from Canada, USA, India, China, Poland, Norway, Holland, Greece, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. In total around 3,500 merchant ships were sunk and 15 million tons of allied shipping was lost.

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Operations Jubilee - Amphibious Raid on Dieppe - 19th August 1942


Aug 19, 2019 10:10 am

The Dieppe Raid, Operation Jubilee, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe during the Second World War.
The raid took place on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 a.m., and by 10:50 a.m. the Allied commanders were forced to call a retreat.
It involved 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British troops, and 50 United States Army Rangers.
Objectives included seizing and holding a major port for a short period, both to prove that it was possible and to gather intelligence. Upon retreat, the Allies also wanted to destroy coastal defences, port structures and all strategic buildings.
The raid had the added objectives of boosting morale and demonstrating the firm commitment of the United Kingdom to open a western front in Europe.
Less than 10 hours after the first landings, the last Allied troops had all been either killed, evacuated, or left behind to be captured by the Germans.
Of the 6,086 men who made it ashore, 3,623 (almost 60%) were either killed, wounded or captured.

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Mounted Marines and the Invasion of Java


Aug 15, 2019 10:36 am

The invasion of Java in 1811 was a successful British amphibious operation against the Dutch East Indian island of Java that took place between August and September 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Conquest of Java. A Battalion of Royal Marines under the command of Brevet Major F. Liardet was landed to reinforce the Army under Sir Samuel Achmuty. Batavia having been occupied without resistance, the British advanced against the Dutch Army which was entrenched at Meester Cornelis, about 9 miles from the city. After some days fighting an assault was ordered under the command of General Gillespie.
The men detailed for this were 250 of the Royal Marines Battalion, the Grenadiers of the 78th and two companies of the 89th Regiment. The troops moved forward at midnight on the 25th August, and after a desperate struggle, in which the Royal Marines bore a most distinguished part, carried all before them. 257 officers including 3 Generals and 5,000 men were made prisoners and more than 1,000 were found dead in the works.
After the battle Sir Samuel Achmuty thus addressed the battalion, “I have halted you to express my high opinion of the zeal and gallantry displayed by the Royal Marines, who were attached to the advance under general Gillespie in the action of the 25th. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for their exemplary good conduct, I beg you therefore to accept my warmest thanks, and to communicate the same to the officers and men under your command.
Meester Cornelis was a formidable fortress. Built by Janssens’ predecessor, Marshal Daendels, it comprised five miles of fortifications studded with 280 pieces of heavy cannon, and was flanked to the west by the meandering Ciliwung River, and to the east by a deep canal called the Slokan. The surrounding countryside, meanwhile, was ‘intersected with ravines, enclosures, and betel plantations, resembling hop-grounds, many parts of which could only be passed in single file’
On the 31st August an expedition was sent to Cheribon to intercept the retreat of the Dutch General Jansens from Meester Cornelis. As it would have taken too long to embark troops for the purpose, HMS Nisus, HMS President, HMS Phoebe and HMS Hesper were sent round and landed their Royal Marines together with the detachment belonging to HMS Lion, amounting to 180 men in all, who were under the command of Captain Welchman of the Royal Marines.
The fort of Cheribon surrendered and was occupied by Captain Welchman and his Marines, but on the news arriving of the approach of 250 men of the enemy’s Infantry and of the same number of Cavalry from Buitzenburg, the Marine Garrison was relieved by a detachment of seamen in order that it might be free to assume the offensive.
The Marines and fifty seamen were therefore mounted on horseback, and under the command of Captain Welchman Royal Marines, were pushed forward by forced march’s to attack a fort at Carang Sambang about 35 miles off in the interior of the island. This small advanced force was supported by a body of troops under the command of Colonel Wood.
Captain Welchman captured 22 chests of money at Bongas, about half way to Catang Sambang, which were sent back by Colonel Wood, and pushing on met a Dutch officer with a flag of truce proposing the surrender of Carang Sambang. A great quantity of stores was taken at this place including coffee to the value of 250,000 Spanish dollars, as well as a large number of prisoners.
The Marines were now re-embarked as HMS Nisus and HMS Phoebe were moving along the coast, landed them successively at Panca and Taggal, both of which places were taken. Samarang, Gressie, and Sourabaya were occupied shortly afterwards, the main body of the Marines being under the command of Captain Bunce who had become senior officer present by the death of Major Liardet from dysentery. Lieutenant White Royal Marines, of HMS Minden who, with his detachment and a party of the 14th Regiment had been landed to keep open communications with Pangorah and to procure supplies for the squadron, was sharply attacked by considerable body of the enemy with two guns,
After 12 minutes fighting they were driven off, but just as reinforcements were arriving from the 14th and 89th Regiments they renewed the attack in great force. They were again defeated with some loss. Captain E.W. Hoare. R.N. from HMS Minden, in making his official report of this affair wrote: “I feel it my duty to report the conduct of Captain Robert White of the Royal Marines, who commanded at the first attack, assisted by two officers of the 14th Regiment. I was astonished at the bravery and coolness displayed by those officer and their men.”
The reduction of the neighbouring Island of Madura was effected by the seamen and Marines of HMS Drake and HMS Phaeton, although the native troops had been strengthened by the landing of a French force. Effecting a landing under cover of the darkness, the small British force advanced on the Fort of Samanap, the capital of the Island, in two columns, each consisting of 60 bayonets (presumably Marines) and 20 pike men. The Marine detachment of the ‘Hussar’ acted as a reserve. The fort was taken by a sudden rush just before daybreak.
A spirited battle with a very superior force followed as soon as it was light in which the resolution and superior tactics of the British secured them the victory. Lieutenant Roch, Royal Marines, was twice speared by the native pike men while wresting the colours from a French officer, whom he slew in the contest. The Conquest of Java was now complete and the captors were rewarded by distribution of prize money to the value of the property taken which amounted to no less than a million sterling.

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RM Fighter Ace - Battle of Britain Pilot - Ronald Cuthbert Hay


Aug 07, 2019 06:16 am

Ronald Cuthbert Hay, DSO, DSC & Bar (4 October 1916 – 22 November 2001) was a British naval aviator and the only Royal Marine fighter ace.
Born in Perth, he joined the Royal Marines in 1935 and then served as an aviator with the Fleet Air Arm. In 1940 he joined 801 Naval Air Squadron flying the two seater Blackburn Skua on HMS Ark Royal for the Norwegian Campaign, claiming his first victory on his first operational flight which he later described in detail:
'We ran into a Heinkel He 111 bomber, Lieutenant Bill Church attacked from astern and the bomber dived to sea level. They exchanged fire, and when Bill pulled upwards to break off the attack, his aircraft was struck in the belly and crashed into the sea without any survivors. I had learned my first lesson in air fighting with a vengeance-never break away upwards. I therefore sat on the tail of the bomber and fired short bursts until it crashed into the sea'
He took part in operations covering the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from the Dunkirk beaches.
Hay was next transferred to the Fairey Fulmar equipped 808 Naval Air Squadron based at Wick, West Sussex. The squadron was one of only two Fleet Air Arm fighter squadrons that fought in the Battle of Britain under RAF Fighter Command control.
In 1944 Hay became wing leader of the 47th Naval Fighter Wing flying the Vought F4U Corsair aboard HMS Victorious in the Far East. He led the wing during many of the major British air attacks on the Japanese in Sumatra. By the end of the war he had claimed 4 aircraft destroyed solo and 9 shared destroyed.
After the war he transferred to the Royal Navy, reaching the rank of commander before retiring in 1966. Hay later worked in the Mediterranean for 12 years chartering boats and spent time renovating an old mill at Amesbury, near Stonehenge. He appeared in several television documentaries about the Second World War.
Distinguished Service Order DSO 01.05.1945 Operation Meridian [investiture 20.05.47] Distinguished Service Cross DSC 25.11.1941 Operations Style & Substance [investiture 14.04.42] Distinguished Service Cross DSC 31.07.1945 Operation Iceberg [investiture 20.05.47] RM

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Sinking of the Submarine Iride and Human Torpedoes - Captain Oliver Patch RM


Aug 07, 2019 05:31 am

22nd August 1940 Captain Oliver Patch RM flew in a flight of 3 swordfish to sink 4 Italian ships with 3 torpedoes in Bomba Bay.
In July 1940 Italian submarine Iride was chosen for conversion to SLC submarine to attempt the first attack against British naval base in Alexandria.
Work was finished in early August, and on 12 August Iride departed La Spezia and after a brief stop in Trapani on 16 August, reaching the Bay of Menelao in the Gulf of Bomba of the coast of Cyrenaica together with torpedo boat Calipso, which carried the SLC (Human Torpedo) crew, and the support ship Monte Gargano.
Italian Submarines with SLC Tubes
During the night of 21 August the SLC's were loaded onto the submarine's deck, and a test navigation were to be carried out the next morning. A reconnaissance plane flew by in the morning of 22 August 1940 and spotted Italian ships in the bay.
Around noon three Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle that were temporarily based at Maaten Baggush airfield in the western desert were launched and attacked Iride and the other ships while they were performing a diving test with four human torpedoes.
At 12.30 they turned inshore into Bomba Bay and opened out to about 200 yards apart. Four miles from shore the submarine was sighted on the surface apparently battery charging. Patch immediately attacked, dropping his torpedo from a height of 3 300 yards.
This hit below the conning tower and the submarine sank in 15m of water. Cheesman and Wenham, both RN, flew on to attack the inshore vessels which proved to be a depot ship and a submarine with a destroyer between them.

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Remembering Lieutenant Colonel Mark “Foggy” Phillips MBE


Aug 07, 2019 05:08 am

Lieutenant Colonel Mark “Foggy” Phillips MBE, soldier, security consultant. Born: 24 May 1961, Gloucestershire. Died: 12 August 2017, aged 56.
Lt Col Mark Phillips was a Special Forces hero who carried out hundreds of covert operations behind enemy lines, including an audacious mission to blow up Saddam Hussein’s telecommunications cables network buried deep in the earth under a sports arena in southern Baghdad during the first Gulf War, following the tyrant’s capture of Kuwait.
It was dubbed the proverbial “mission impossible” by insiders, and many did not expect Phillips and his team to make it back alive.
On 22 January 1991, flying in under the cover of darkness on two Chinook helicopters at low altitude to avoid radar detection, Phillips’ Special Boat Service (SBS) team were dropped near the heavily defended stadium, while a diversionary attack was launched to lure forces away from the area. Sustained allied aerial bombing raids had failed to knock out the fibre optic cables carrying Iraq’s command and control messages to Basra.
The team was ordered to cut cables, and plant more than 700lbs of explosives at strategic points, but things did not run smoothly.Two unsuccessful attempts were made to find and cut the cable, but on each occasion headquarters relayed back that Iraqi signals were still being sent.On the third attempt, the team planted all their explosives and detonated them. Iraqi communications suddenly ceased. Flushed with success, they dug and recovered a portion of the cable, before pulling back to their waiting helicopters. So successful was the mission that the piece of fibre optic cable has since been displayed at London’s Imperial War Museum. Shortly after, Phillips took part in the SBS raid to retake the British Embassy in Kuwait City.Royal Marines Major-General Rob Magowan CBE said, “Foggy was an inspiration, both to me and across our Corps.
“Bright, physically strong, courageous, hugely visionary and immediately engaging, he had all the attributes of a Royal Marine. People were swept up by his energy and leadership. I first met him on an adjacent rowing machine and I must admit to feeling intimidated.”
Born in 1961, in Gloucestershire, Mark Christopher Phillips was educated at Charlton Kings Secondary Modern, Cheltenham.
Upon leaving school, he briefly joined the police before successfully applying to the Royal Marines. During training he was quickly earmarked as an exceptional recruit for displaying qualities of courage, selflessness, professionalism and cheerfulness no matter what the situation; this resulted in the award of the coveted King’s Badge as top recruit, when he passed out in 1985.
After serving for almost two years with 45 Commando, Phillips underwent the gruelling selection process (and training) to join the SBS, the Special Forces unit of the Royal Navy. He remained with them for the next 26 years until retiring with the rank of Lt Colonel and being CO of the SBS.
Known as “Foggy”, a light-hearted reference to his namesake, Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne’s former husband, he was one of the Corps’ fittest and most respected officers, and a courageous and energetic leader who carried out many daunting and dangerous missions behind enemy lines. He also became a well-known figure in military circles for his exploits in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2003, Phillips returned to Iraq and was based at MI6’s station house in Baghdad, from which the SBS mounted strike operations against insurgents in Sadr City, while also carrying out surveillance posing as Western civilian contractors. His team was also attached to Task Force 21, a joint UK/US task force, which had the high-priority mission to find and capture Saddam.
In 2008, he joined another special UK-US Special Forces unit known as Task Force 42, which tracked Taleban commanders. On 18 February, dropped in by helicopter, the SBS commandos successfully ambushed Mullah Matin and one of his sub-commanders, Mullah Karim Agha, as they travelled across the desert on motorbikes.
Matin was the vital right-hand man to Mullah Omar (the supreme commander and spiritual leader of the Taleban) and responsible for the deaths of two British 
soldiers and dozens of Afghan civilians, as well as numerous attacks on UK troops.
Phillips was appointed MBE in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services in the field.
Although he kept out the public eye, Phillips was also known as an athlete. During the 1990s he won the 125-mile Devizes (Wiltshire) to Westminster International Canoe Race four times in succession, which had previously been won by Paddy Ashdown and Ranolph Fiennes.
Upon retiring from the Royal Marines in 2013, Phillips set up his own security business, but in June of this year he was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (the human form of Mad Cow Disease), a rapidly developing type of dementia which affects only one in a million people.
Phillips died after a short illness; he is survived by his wife, Jacqui, whom he married in 1990, and their three children, Emily, George and Bethany.

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