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42 Commando History

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In October 1943 the 1st Battalion Royal Marines was re-organised and renamed 42 Commando. The 1st Battalion was first formed in 1760, and in the following year took part in the capture of Belle Isle. The laurel wreath borne on the Colours and devices of the Royal Marines is believed to have been adopted in honour of the distinguished service of the Corps during this operation. The Battalion served in the American War of Independence in 1775, in the Crimea in 1850, in China in 1857 and in Egypt in 1882. During the First World War it took part in the landings at Gallipoli and in the campaigns in France and Flanders. At the beginning of the Second World War the Royal Marines Brigade, of which the 1st Battalion was a part, was of one of the few fully manned and armed brigades capable of withstanding a German invasion. The battalion which formed at Bisley in January 1940, was manned by men from the Chatham Division Royal Marines and it was at this time that the distinctive white lanyard, originally worn by men of that Division, was first adopted. After taking part in the abortive Dakar expedition, Operation Menace, the Battalion returned to its defensive role in England, before being re-organised as a Commando. One of the company officers during this period was the writer Evelyn Waugh.

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