The 'Kings Squad' is the culmination of 32 weeks Royal Marines Commando Training and a tradition that has been in place since His Majesty King George V granted the honour in 1918.
The following is to be brought to the notice of every Officer, Non Commissioned Officer and man of the Royal Marines. Inspection by His Majesty King George V, of the Depot Royal Marines, Deal. The Senior Squad of Recruits in future to be known as "The Kings Squad"
To General White.
"I am glad to have had an opportunity of inspecting the Depot of the Royal Marines, and I desire to express my entire satisfaction both with the system of training and with the serious and earnest spirit shown by Officers and men to attain a high standard of war efficiency. It was a pleasure to see the orderly state of the various branches of your depot and I welcome the opportunities given to all ranks for recreation and sport. For some 250 years the Royal Marines have rendered splendid service to the country and during the Great War they have had the unique record of taking part in all naval actions and of being employed in every theatre of war. Everywhere your Corps had added fresh glory to its record and never has your name stood higher than today. When you serve on land or afloat, remember the achievements of those who have passed through the Depot before you, and to continue to foster the "Espirit de Corps", and fellowship with the navy which has always been famous in the traditions of the Royal Marines. I am prouder than ever to be your Colonel-in-Chief”.
George R.I. 7th March 1918.
Stationed at Royal Marines Deal was the 4th Battalion Royal Marine Light Infantry whom the King observed training in preparation for the Raid on Zeebrugge.
The Raid commenced on St Georges Day (23 Apr 1918) and was a complete success eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded, two to Royal Marines:
Captain E. Bamford, Royal Marine Light Infantry
Sergeant N. A. Finch Royal Marine Artillery.
The Kings Badge:
King George V also directed that his Royal Cypher, surrounded by a Laurel Wreath, would be known as the King's Badge, and would be awarded to the best all round recruit in the King's Squad, provided that he was worthy of the honour. The badge was to be carried on the left shoulder, and worn in every rank. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was graciously pleased to approve that the custom and privilege of the King's Squad remain unaltered. The King's Badge is not awarded to every squad, and is only presented if a Recruit measures up to the very exacting standards required.
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