It has, I am sure, been a difficult month for many watching the final days in Afghanistan, especially as a Royal Marine you are never alone, if you need help or know someone that does please reach out to your chain of command or those organisations that are ready to help, please see details of Project Regain in teh blog below.
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Project Regain is an initiative of marines, by marines, for marines to assist all ranks in seeking help if they have concerns about their mental health.
Royal Marines have one of the most physically and psychologically demanding jobs on the planet and findings show lack of knowledge about mental health issues makes it more difficult to recognise a problem developing.
Now Regain has been set up to change this for the better by allowing serving Royal Marines and related ranks to refer themselves directly to specialists without the need to first go through their unit’s medical officer.
The intent of Regain is to improve the mental health awareness of serving marines, allowing all ranks to receive a basic education about worrying symptoms and behaviours and to seek help.
Regain aims to reduce the stigma and barriers to treatment and enable ranks to present themselves without fear of being labelled by peers or command.
The support available is there and very good if you know where and how to look for it, but more importantly feel able to access it.
The First Carnatic War (1746–1748) was the Indian theatre of the War of the Austrian Succession and the first of a series of Carnatic Wars that established early British dominance on the east coast of the Indian subcontinent.
In this conflict the British and French East India Companies vied with each other on land for control of their respective trading posts at Madras, Pondicherry, and Cuddalore, while naval forces of France and Britain engaged each other off the coast.
The war set the stage for the rapid growth of French hegemony in southern India under the command of French Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix in the Second Carnatic War
The Siege of Pondicherry was conducted by British forces against a French East India Company garrison under the command of Governor-General Joseph François Dupleix at the Indian port of Pondicherry.
The British siege strategy, conducted with inexperience in siege tactics by Admiral Edward Boscawen, was lifted with the arrival of monsoon rains, on 27 October 1748 and the war came to a conclusion with the arrival in December of news of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapele. Under its terms Madras was returned to British control.
The siege was the last major action of the First Carnatic War.
The Bombardment of Algiers was an attempt by Britain and the Netherlands to end the slavery practices of Omar Agha, the Dey of Algiers.
An Anglo-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Exmouth bombarded ships and the harbour defences of Algiers. There was a continuing campaign by various European navies and the American navy to suppress the piracy against Europeans by the North African Barbary states. The specific aim of this expedition, however, was to free Christian slaves and to stop the practice of enslaving Europeans.
To this end, it was partially successful, as the Dey of Algiers freed around 3,000 slaves following the bombardment and signed a treaty against the slavery of Europeans. However, this practice did not end completely until the French conquest of Algeria.
The following is taken from the MS. Journal of General F.W. Whinyates R.E. published in the R.E. Journal of 1th February 1881;
”On the 9th August, arrived at Gibraltar after 13 days passage. Whilst at Gibraltar the Marines of the fleet, about 100, were formed into two Battalion, to be commanded by Majors Vallack and Collins of the Royal Marines.
It was intended that the company of Royal Sappers and Marines should land with them at Algiers, and each Sapper and Miner was to carry two hand Grenades and a piece of slow match in his haver sack, besides his musket and ammunition. The allied squadron had fired over 50,000 round shot using 118 tons of gunpowder, and the bomb vessels had fired 960 explosive mortar shells.
Period/ Conflict: American Revolutionary War (1775–83)
Date/s: 22 - 27th August 1776
Amongst the augmentations to the British forces voted for in the year 1776, 2,378 men were added to the marines, making their total establishment 6,665 men.
The fleet, with the army from Boston, reached Halifax on the 4th of April, where they continued in expectation of succours from England until the 12th of June, and arrived at Sandy Hook on the 29th.
On the 3rd of July, the grenadiers and light infantry were landed at Staten Island, without opposition, and the remainder of the army disembarked in the course of the day. As the rebels were strongly posted, both on Long Island and at New York, having upwards of 100 cannon towards the entrance of the north river, the commander-in-chief resolved to remain in his present position, and not commence offensive operations until he should be joined by the force under lord Clinton and the reinforcements from England.
Lord Howe arrived at Staten Island on the 12th of July, and assumed the command of the fleet; and on the 14th, commodore Parker, with the troops under general Clinton, arrived from the southward, which enabled general Howe to commence hostilities.
Preparations having been made for landing the troops in Gravesend bay, Long Island, the first division, amounting to 4000 men under lieutenant-general Clinton, was conveyed to the shore on the morning of the 22nd of August; and the debarkation continued to be so well conducted, that before noon 15,000 men, with forty pieces of cannon, were disembarked.
After several encounters with the rebel force, the Americans were routed from the island on the 27th, with loss of five pieces of cannon, 2000 killed, wounded, or drowned, and 997 prisoners; whilst the loss of the British did not exceed 300 in killed and wounded.
Captain Logan, 2nd battalion of marines, was killed; Lieutenant Nugent, 1st battalion, wounded; and Lieutenant Ragg, 2nd battalion, made prisoner.
From award-winning historian Saul David, the first authorised history of the SBS.
Britain's SBS-or Special Boat Service - was the world's first maritime special operations unit.
Founded in the dark days of 1940, it started as a small and inexperienced outfit that leaned heavily on volunteers' raw courage and boyish enthusiasm. It went on to change the course of the Second World War- and has served as a model for special forces ever since.
The fledgling unit's first mission was a daring beach reconnaissance of Rhodes in the spring of 1941.
Over the next four years, the SBS and its affiliates would carry out many spectacular operations in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Channel and the Far East. These missions were some of the most audacious and legendary of the war. Paddling flimsy canoes, and armed only with knives, pistols and a few sub machine guns, this handful of brave and determined men operated deep behind enemy lines in the full knowledge that if caught they might be executed. Many were.
Yet their many improbable achievements - destroying enemy ships and infrastructure, landing secret agents, tying up enemy forces, spreading fear and uncertainty, and, most importantly, preparing the ground for D-Day - helped to make an Allied victory possible. What the SBS and its affiliated units were able to achieve in four years of warfare is nothing less than extraordinary. At no time did these units individually number more than a hundred officers and men.
Written with the full cooperation of the modern SBS - the first time this ultra-secretive unit has given its seal of approval to any book - and exclusive access to its archives, SBS: Silent Warriors allows Britain's original special forces to emerge from the shadows and take their proper and deserved place in our island story
SAUL DAVID is a historian, broadcaster and author. His history books have been shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature and variously named a Waterstones Military History Book of the Year and an Amazon History Book of the Year. He is Professor of Military History at the University of Buckingham.
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.
The raid 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.
40 Commando was to destroy port facilities at Dieppe and form a reserve. They crossed the Channel in the river gunboat Locust and arrived off Dieppe at about 0530, before disembarking into several LCAs (Landing Craft Assault).
As Locust attempted to force the harbour entrance, she came under heavy fire from German batteries which the preliminary bombardment had failed to silence. She was repeatedly hit and her captain withdrew: meanwhile, the Canadians were pinned down on the beaches by heavy fire and barbed wire entanglements. 40 Commando was now ordered to land at the eastern end of the beach, but as the LCAs approached the shore they came under intense machine-gun and mortar fire.
The commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel JP Phillips, ordered them to retreat back out to sea. In his landing craft, however, Houghton continued towards the shore, moving to the centre of the beach where he stormed the sands, his LCA blowing up behind him. "Ironically the doctor was our first casualty," Houghton noted. "But further casualties quickly followed. We advanced as far as the promenade wall, where progress was barred by thick wire entanglements swept by enemy fire. Pinned in this position with practically no cover, unable to move forward and without any means of returning by sea, we concentrated our efforts on inflicting as much damage as possible on the enemy positions.
"Lacking any form of communication with our own forces, we continued until the official time of withdrawal had passed. The beach was strafed by our own aircraft at 1400 hours as part of the withdrawal programme, and it was just the luck of the draw that we found ourselves on the receiving end."
Of 370 officers and men in 40 Commando, 76, including Phillips, were killed. Houghton, after fighting against overwhelming odds, was taken prisoner, though for many months he was reported dead. Later that year, in an act of vengeance, Hitler ordered commando prisoners to be shackled, and Houghton was handcuffed for 411 days. Afterwards he was awarded an MC for his bravery at Dieppe and for his endurance as a prisoner of war.
Pinned in this position with practically no cover, unable to move forward and without any means of returning by sea, we concentrated our efforts on inflicting as much damage as possible on the enemy positions
'Titch' Houghton at Dieppe
The major support craft, in action for the first time in daylight at Dieppe, had RM gun crews and were developments of LCF No. 1, at first designated a Beach Patrol Craft (BPC), with twin 4–in dual–purpose guns. This craft carried almost as much fire–power as cruisers of the 1930s, and off Dieppe she successfully engaged the German coast convoy which had scattered 3 Commando’s craft.
Other major support craft — the LCFlak (LCFs), each with four Oerlikons and eight 2-pdr Pom-Poms, and the LC Gun (Large) (LCG[L]s), each with two 4.7-in guns in open gun houses — had come into service during 1942.
At Dieppe LCF No. 2 closed White beach ‘with great gallantry ... to point–blank range ...’ and gave close support until she was disabled, her Captain killed, her guns put out of action one by one until she finally sank’. Another LCF (No. 5) came close to ‘shooting down an RAF Mustang, the first we have seen of this type’, as she neared White beach, while providing anti–aircraft cover for LCTs heading inshore with their Churchill tanks.
The LCF cruised some 400yds off the beach, getting its first Heinkel 111 soon after the tanks had been landed, although the craft was already under fire — ‘great holes ... torn in the bulkheads and terrible screams ... from the poor lads whowere mangled. I felt terribly sick’, one gunner writes ‘but God was with me, and I held out’.
The arrival of Spitfire squadrons about this time cheered everyone up, and the LCFs withdrew into the smoke about an hour after the landing. They lay a mile offshore for a short while, before going back in to spend the next three hours near the beach. Shelled, machine-gunned and taking casualties, they nevertheless were still inshore when the RM Commando was being withdrawn, ‘scores of unfortunates ... struggling in the water 200 yards from the beach ... most commandos and a few Canadians’.
The Marines’ gunnery officer of one LCF called for two volunteers when she was nearing the end of ‘what seemed like years, picking up survivors’, for he had seen wounded survivors, one with a leg blown off, clinging to a raft. Their rescuers took a dinghy through the heavy fire, reached the raft and rowed back with the survivors. A major air battle over the landing area resulted in greater RAF losses than German, but by this date the Germans were trying to conserve their aircraft.
with great gallantry ... to point–blank range ... and gave close support until she was disabled, her Captain killed, her guns put out of action one by one until she finally sank
Unit/ Formation: RMLI
Location: Medvezhjya Gora
Date/s: 17th August 1919
The 6th Battalion RM in action on the railway at Kapaselga in North Russia. This was the last action of the Middlesex Regiment in Russia. They were also part of the garrison.
The events on August 17th, as recorded in their Regimental Diary: -
"Company entrained (at Kapaselga) and left School House at 8 a.m. detrained at railhead two bridges north of Siding 8. Major Lang, Marines, and one battalion were attached to Company. We attacked along railway line, two platoons on each side.
No. 1 Platoon with No. 3 in support on the right, No. 2 with No. 4 in support on the left. Four of the enemy were seen and fired at in No. 8 Siding and retired on to their main position, where the enemy replied with heavy rifle and machine-gun fire.
Firing was more accurate than usual for the ' Bols,' and a good ~ many bullets struck the ground between front and support positions. His position was shelled and Company attacked. His position had been hastily evacuated, and dixies of hot water and burnt pancakes were found; also a large amount of ammunition, several rifles and barbed wire.
Company advanced again; progress had to coincide with attack of Karelian Company on post road. Patrols were sent to post road to keep touch. Company advanced to Siding 7A, approximately 5 versts south of No. 8 Siding.
The enemy blew up bridges as we advanced. On reaching Siding 7A an outpost position was taken up. No. 4 Platoon on right (responsible for railway), No. 3 Platoon on left. No. 2 Platoon returned to No. 8 Siding as escort to guns. No enemy were seen during night. A large fire was observed well in rear of enemy line, which may have been a forest fire.
Heavy firing was heard from Vakshozero direction. A patrol was sent to Karelians at junction of post road and track from Siding 7A. Our casualties were nil."
Actions to Secure the British withdrawal to Murmansk
Unit/ Formation: RMLI
Period/ Conflict: Russian Intervention
Date/s: 28 August 1918
On 28 August 1918 the British 6th Royal Marine Light Infantry Battalion was ordered to seize the village of Koikori (Койкары) from the Bolsheviks as part of a wide offensive into East Karelia to secure the British withdrawal to Murmansk.
The attack on the village was disorganized and resulted in three Marines killed and 18 wounded, including the battalion commander who had ineffectually led the attack himself.
A week later, B and C companies, led this time by an army major, made a second attempt to take Koikori, while D company was involved in an attack on the village of Ussuna. The British were again repulsed at Koikori; the army major was killed and both Marine company commanders wounded. D company was also beaten off by Bolshevik forces around Ussuna, with the death of the battalion adjutant, killed by sniper fire
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the Allies dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. On August 9, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The Japanese government on August 10 communicated its intention to surrender under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.
Imperial Japan surrendered on the 15th August 1945, the formal surrender occurred aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2nd September 1945.
Many Royal Marines served in the South-East Asian theatre of War on capital ships, in the air and on the ground in various roles and units.
Loss of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Renown
Battle for Singapore
Battle of Hong Kong
Force Viper in Burma
Hell Ships Lisbon Maru & Hofuku Maru
Kangaw and Hill 170
Special jungle operations
Air operations in the Pacific
Landing craft operations in the Pacific
Liberation of Hongkong, Singapore and Rangoon
Royal Marines who were captured suffered terribly at the hands of the Japanese, some were transported on Hell Ships, many POW’s would never return.
More articles of interest from the SE Asia/ Pacific Theater of War;
On 12 August 1942 the Fuji class light cruiser HMS Nigeria was participating in Operation Pedestal, escorting a convoy bound for Malta. She was the flagship of the close escort group, commanded by Admiral Harold Burrough.
Nigeria was torpedoed and damaged by the Italian submarine Axum but managed to make it back to Gibraltar escorted by three destroyers.
52 crew were killed in the attack including 9 Royal Marine musicians, whose action station had been in the area of the ammunition hoists.
CLARKE, John A, Musician, RMB/X 1420:
CONN, Frederick W J, Musician, RMB/X 1556:
MOREY, William C, Musician, RMB/2944:
PHILLIPS, Jack A, Musician, RMB/X 1836:
POWELL, Richard, Band Corporal, RMB/X 479:
RAY, William D G, Musician, RMB/X 555:
RIDOUT, Albert E, Bandmaster 1c, RMB/2877:
ROPE, Aaron, Musician, RMB/3044:
WALTER, Arthur V, Musician, RMB/X 650.
Admiral Burrough meanwhile transferred his flag to the destroyer Ashanti whilst Nigeria returned to Gibraltar. She was sent from there to the United States for repairs, which took nine months to complete.
HMS Nigeria Log
2nd Detached with HM Battleship NELSON, HMS VICTORIOUS, HMS KENYA, HM Cruiser MANCHESTER, HM AA Cruiser CAIRO screened by Home Fleet destroyers to reinforce escort of military supply convoy WS21s to Malta. (Operation PEDESTAL).
10th Joined Force X at Gibraltar with HM Cruisers KENYA, MANCHESTER and CAIRO screened by 12 destroyers for escort of convoy to Malta and for fighter direction duties. 11th Under attack by U-Boats followed by torpedo and dive bombing. (HM Aircraft Carrier EAGLE was sunk during the submarine attacks)
13th Hit by torpedo from Italian submarine AXUM during air attacks when entering Skerki Channel. Sustained serious damage. Detached with escorted by HM Escort Destroyers WILTON, BICESTER and DERWENT to return to Gibraltar.
15th Under temporary repair in Gibraltar.
Under repair at Gibraltar. Permanent repair arranged in USA.
7th Passage to USA.
23rd Taken in hand for repair and refit at Charleston US navy Yard.
HMS Nigeria Log extracts from Naval History.net https://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Nigeria.htm
Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines
Period/ Conflict: Egyptian–Ottoman War
Date/s: 11 August 1840
In June 1840 Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, commanding the British Mediterranean Fleet, sent Commodore Charles Napier with a small squadron to the Syrian (now the Lebanese) coast. He was then ordered to proceed to Beirut to compel the Egyptians to withdraw.
The situation on the ground was extremely volatile, and called for quick and decisive action; this Napier provided, acting as if his was an entirely independent command.
On August 11, 1840, Napier's ships appeared off Beirut and he called upon Suleiman Pasha, Mehmet's governor, to abandon the town and leave Syria, whose population shortly revolted against Mehmet's occupying army. With such a small force, there was little that Napier could do against fifteen-thousand Egyptian troops until September, when Stopford's ships joined up with him.
Open war broke out on September 11, when Napier bombarded Beirut and effected a landing at Jounieh with 1,500 Turks and Marines to operate against Ibrahim, who was prevented by the revolt from doing more than trying to hold the coastal cities.
Sir Robert Holmes and his English fleet destroyed more than 160 Dutch merchantmen vessels on the Vlie Estuary in the Nederland’s. It became known as Sir Robert Holmes Bonfire.
A landing party was formed of 300 men from each of the three squadrons of the fleet, two thirds of them sailors, one third sea soldiers, this landing force was divided into nine companies of a hundred men, each consisting of seventy musketeers and thirty pikemen and headed by a captain.
Holmes's orders were to put the main emphasis on plundering the islands. He himself was to land on Vlieland with a force of five hundred men; if possible a simultaneous attack by the remaining four hundred men under Sir William Jennings should be carried out on Terschelling.