354 Years of the Royal Marines

On 28th October 2018, the Royal Marines celebrate their 354th birthday year. From fighting on the decks and in the mastheads at the Battle of Trafalgar, through World War Two, to the modern day, leading the assaults on the Falkland Islands and Iraq and operating in Afghanistan, they are an integral part of Britain’s defence and the Royal Navy; their distinction combines excellence, versatility and unique amphibious skills.

Royal Marines


Formed in the reign of King Charles II on October 28, 1664 as the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot (or Admiral’s Regiment), the name Marines first appeared in the records in 1672 and in 1802 they were titled the Royal Marines by King George III. 

Since then, Marines have taken part in more battles on land and sea around the world than any other branch of the British Armed Forces; so numerous are the Corps’ battle honours they are simply represented by the famous Globe and the single honour ‘Gibraltar’.

Today, the Royal Marines are the UK’s Commando Forces and the Royal Navy’s amphibious troops.  An elite force held at very high readiness, they are trained for worldwide rapid response, able to deal with a wide spectrum of threats and security challenges. 

The main deployable force is 3 Commando Brigade RM with a Lead Commando Group ready and held at five days' notice to deploy globally, in support of the UK’s national interests.

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Birth of the Corps1664

The Corp can trace its formation back to "the Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company.

Capture of Gibraltar1704

On the 24th July 1704 the Prince of Hesse led ashore 1,900 marines who succeeded in isolating the Gibraltar Rock from mainland Spain.

Capture of Belle Isle1761

After two failed attempts the Marines finally landed where the ensuing fighting won them the admiration of their enemy.

Battle of Bunker Hill1775

The American War of Independence 1775 - 1783

Battle of Trafalgar1805

2,692 of the 17,000 men in the British Fleet that were involved in this battle were Royal Marines Officers and Marines.

Burning of Washington1814

The Royal Marines, under Admiral Cockburn landed at Benedict, Maryland. From Benedict, the British began their march to Washington DC, ultimately burning that city.

Boxer Rebellion1900

The majority of Marine action was to be seen in Peking where nationals from several European countries and their military contingents were fortified inside the "Legations" area of the city.

World War 11914

At the outbreak of war Royal Marines were quickly mobilised and sent to Ostend and later Antwerp. Marines defended Ostend with the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill at their side.

Normandy Landings1944

Over 17,500 Royal Marines took part in this. The Corp was present in strength on the beaches and in the supporting ships of the fleet with most of the landing craft being manned by Royal Marines.

Continuing Good Work1948

Since 1948, the Corp has been involved in many conflicts including Suez, Northern Ireland, Falklands, and the Gulf War. They also act as humanitarians, delivering aid and support when needed.

celebration and Commemoration

On the 28th October 2014 the Royal Marines celebrated their 350th anniversary. Three-and-a-half centuries of unbroken service committed to protecting and promoting the Nation's security, prosperity and reputation. 350 years of timeless distinction.

A series of events took place in the UK and overseas throughout the RM350 campaign period to mark this significant anniversary. 

- 1664 Challenge Phase 1 Ski (Norway) 4 Feb
- RM350 Launch & BT Tower Abseil (London) 10 Mar
- 1664 Challenge Phase 2 Sail (Norway-Spain) 6 Apr
- Drum Roll World Record Attempt (London) 1-3 May
- 1664 Challenge Phase 3 Cycle (Spain-France) 2 May
- 1664 Challenge Phase 4 Kayak (Channel) 21 May
- 1664 Challenge Phase 5 Run (UK) 26 May
- Beating Retreat (Horse Guards Parade) 3-4 Jun
- 1664 Yomp (South Downs Way) 7-8 Jun
- Freedom of Weston-super-Mare Parade 28 Jun
- South West Proms (Plymouth) 16-19 Jul
- 1664 Challenge Marathon & Finish (London) 25 Jul
- City of London March 25 Jul
- RM350 Ride (Portsmouth-Lympstone) 2-3 Aug
- Freedom of Newcastle Parade 6 Sep
- RMA Annual Parade (Lympstone) 21 Sep
- Gibraltar Rock Run (Gibraltar) 25 Oct
- Corps Dinner (London) 28 Oct
- Freedom of Glasgow Parade 1 Nov
- Commando 999 Speed March 8 Nov

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Latest Events

The Corps Family

The Corps family extends to include all serving Royal Marines, veterans, cadets, members of the Band Service and the wider family and charitable community that support this integral part of the Royal Navy.

All Royal Marines wear the Commando 'flash' and believe in living up to the standards of their selfless, brave and unyielding forebears, by holding true the Corps' Ethos, which comprises three components.

The Commando Mindset 

- Be the first to understand; the first to adapt and respond; and the first to overcome.

The Command Values in Life

- Excellence. Strive to do better.
- Integrity. Tell the truth.
- Self-Discipline. Resist the easy option.
- Humility. Respect for the rights, diversity and values of other.

The Commando Spirit in Adversity

- Courage. get out front and do what is right.
- Determination. Never give up.
- Unselfishness. Self last.
- Cheerfulness. make humour the heart of morale.

3 Cdo Bde

The main deployable force is 3 Commando Brigade RM with a Lead Commando Group ready and held at five days’ notice to deploy globally, in support of the UK’s national interests.

1 Assault Group

1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1 AGRM) is the lead for amphibious warfare and Royal Navy board and search training. The group is tasked with training and developing core amphibious and surface assault skills.

Special Forces

This toughness and resilience is the reason that, the Royal Marines provides the greatest single contribution to UK Special Forces, with over 40 per cent of their ‘badged’ manpower originating from within the Corp.

Royal Marine Band Service

The bandsmen and women of the five Royal Marine bands combine military precision and discipline with an artistic interpretation that places them in the top level of musical ensembles.

timeless distinction

“The long, rough and glorious history of the Royal Marines has shown that they have achieved much. They will achieve more. They are ready to assail the enemy at many points… They are a formidable and versatile company of warriors as highly trained as any the world as seen.” 

Winston Churchill


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