Royal Marines from Lima Company 42 Cdo onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Credit: Crown Copyright
Navy

All The Gen On The Royal Marines

From Victoria Crosses to looking after Britain's nuclear weapons, the Royal Marines have got it covered

Royal Marines from Lima Company 42 Cdo onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Credit: Crown Copyright

The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) are the UK’s ‘elite amphibious fighting force’ and are highly trained naval infantry.

The Corps hold a very high readiness capability and offer a unique ability to be projected from the sea to operate in global conflict zones and regularly respond to humanitarian crisis on national and international levels.

24 Commando Royal Engineers and RLC Port and Maritime Regiment move equipment ashore during Hurricane IRMA. Credit: Crown Copyright
24 Commando Royal Engineers and RLC Port and Maritime Regiment move equipment ashore during Hurricane IRMA. Credit: Crown Copyright

What Do The Royal Marines Do?

The RM play a large part in maritime security and provide a vast range of specialist skillsets from land, sea and air. Commandos are trained in many areas including assault warfare, air defence and signals which means they can provide a fighting force without needing to wait for other reinforcements. This elite fighting force can operate in any environment whether that be Arctic, jungle, desert or sea.

Royal Marines training at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines(CTCRM) in Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines training at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines(CTCRM) in Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

Are Royal Marine Commandos Part Of The Navy?

The Royal Marines are a branch of the Royal Navy, along with the Royal Marines Reserve and the Royal Marines Band Service.

Where Do The Royal Marines Train?

Training takes place at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone.

It takes 16 months training to become a Royal Marines Officer

The coveted 'green beret' of the Royal Marines. Credit: Georgina Coupe, BFBS
The coveted 'green beret' of the Royal Marines. Credit: Georgina Coupe, BFBS

How Do You Earn The Green Beret?

The highly coveted green beret takes a lot of grit and determination to earn. Approximately 40% of recruits don’t make it through the 32 weeks arduous training and the Royal Marines are internationally recognised for their high calibre of fighting forces, partly because of the rigorous training package they offer.

Members of other Armed Forces can also wear a green beret if they complete the All Arms Commando Course (AACC) which enables them to serve within 3 Cdo Bde.

The green beret became the official head dress of the Royal Marines following the Second World War when all Royal Marines had to pass commando training.

Royal Marines during a 'mud run' at Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines during a 'mud run' at Lympstone. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

How Are The Royal Marines Formed?

Three operational commando units named 40, 42 and 45 (pronounced four-two Commando rather than forty-two) make up the operational 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines (3 Cdo Bde RM) and a host of other units provide specialised support including artillery, engineering, logistics, signals and information exploitation. 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group are based in Scotland and protect Britain’s nuclear weapons.

30 Commando Information Exploitation Group is named after 30 Assault Unit which was instrumental in stealing top secret German technology during the Second World War

Royal Marines during training. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines during training. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

What About The Commando Dagger?

The Commando Dagger flash is only worn by those who work as part of 3 Cdo Bde RM.

What Is The Marine’s Ethos?

The “State of Mind” is the underlying foundation of life as a RM and through training other physical and psychological qualities are instilled into recruits to form the ‘Commando Spirit’ or ‘Commando Mindset’ which include: physicality, brotherhood, determination, courage, amphibiousness and stealth.

40 Commando Royal Marines patrol with Army Commando and Marine in Belize. Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell, Crown Copyright
40 Commando Royal Marines patrol with Army Commando and Marine in Belize. Credit: PO(Phot) Si Ethell, Crown Copyright

What Is The Royal Marine Motto?

The Latin motto is ‘Per Mare, Per Terram’ which means ‘By Sea, By Land’.

How Many Victoria Cross Holders Have Been Awarded To Royal Marines?

There have been 10 VCs awarded to Royal Marines, one during the Boxer Rebellion in China, three during the Crimean War, five during the First World War and the last VC to be awarded was during the Second World War.

Royal Marines take part in Exercise Commando Warrior. Credit: LPhot Paul Hall, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines take part in Exercise Commando Warrior. Credit: LPhot Paul Hall, Crown Copyright

Which Wars Have The Royal Marines Fought?

The Royal Marines have seen action in more battles and wars than any other branch of the British Military including: The War of the Spanish Succession, the First and Second World Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the Korean War, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. They have so many battle honours that only one: 'Gibraltar' is on their crest.

When Were The Royal Marines Formed?

The history of the RM began 355 years ago on 28th October 1664 when the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot was formed (which soon became known as the Admiral’s Regiment).

In 1802, under the Order of Council, His Majesty’s Marine Forces were formed under Admiralty control and became the Royal Marines by order of King George 3rd.

The Duke of Sussex is the ceremonial head of the Corps of Royal Marines. Credit: LPhot Alex Ceolin, Crown Copyright
The Duke of Sussex is the ceremonial head of the Corps of Royal Marines. Credit: LPhot Alex Ceolin, Crown Copyright

Who Commands The Royal Marines?

The ceremonial head of the Corps of Royal Marines is the Duke of Sussex. The First Sea Lord and the professional head of the Royal Navy is Admiral Tony Radakin. The Commandant General and professional head of the Royal Marines is Major General Matthew Holmes.

What Are The Nicknames For Royal Marines?

‘Bootnecks’, ‘Commandos’ and ‘Royals’ are well known nicknames for RMs and the whole branch can be referred to as ‘The Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine’.

Recruits undergoing training are sometimes referred to as ‘Nods’ as they can be prone to ‘nodding off’ as a result of sleep deprivation on the course.

Royal Marines fire a Javelin during training. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines fire a Javelin during training. Credit: Richard White, Crown Copyright

Can you join the Royal Marines as a Reservist?

The Maritime Reserves is made up of 600 personnel and forms approximately one per cent of the UK’s overall tri-service Reserve capability.

What About The Special Boat Service (SBS)?

The SBS is the maritime arm of the UK Special Forces and requires the passing of rigorous selection criteria.

Royal Marines conduct Assault Engineer (AE) training. Credit: LPhot Dean Nixon, Crown Copyright
Royal Marines conduct Assault Engineer (AE) training. Credit: LPhot Dean Nixon, Crown Copyright

What Is The Career Progression In The Royal Marines?

After training, Commandos are assigned to a unit as a ‘General Duties Rifleman’ which most will do for around two years before choosing a specialisation (some maybe asked to fill a particular position before this if required).

A RM specialisation is referred to as a Specialist Qualification (SQ). SQ’s can take between a few weeks to several years to complete depending on complexity. There are over 25 different options available ranging from heavy weapons air defence to mountain leader.

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