Author Topic: Royal Australian Marines - A History  (Read 8395 times)

Offline Old Wombat

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Royal Australian Marines - A History
« on: October 18, 2013, 10:08:06 PM »
OK, I've been working on this for months & the rest of it's going to take even longer to complete. I'm trying to make it as realistic as as possible, so much of it is based on exerpts taken from the wiki-thing & modified to suit my purposes. This section covers from the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 to Federation in 1901.

Not sure whether it belongs here or in "Scenarios" but, as it's going to be the basis for all of my RAM's builds & because it's a work in progress, it's going here.

So, without further ado, here it is:


Before 1870

Royal Marines constituted the first military force in Australia. Under the command of Major Robert Ross three companies of marines, totalling 212 men, accompanied Captain Arthur Phillip & the First Fleet to Port Jackson on 26 January 1788. These troops remained until the arrival of the Second Fleet in June 1790, when they were relieved by the New South Wales Corps, comprised of 183 men, under Major Francis Grose (which was subsequently expanded to an average strength of 550 men with further contingents from Britain as well as free settlers & former convicts) & a company of marines, totalling 76 men, under the command of Captain William Jones (later expanded to an average strength of 150 men with small contingents from Britain & former marines who had discharged in the colony).

These marines were to undertake duties guarding Royal Navy supplies & equipment at the Sydney docks, man two artillery pieces on Garden Island & assist in surveying coastal areas around the new colony. From 1795 they were, also, required to check on prisoners sent to Rock Island (also called Pinchgut &, later, Fort Denison), a duty which they shared with the New South Wales Corps.

Life for the Royal Marines was generally quiet until 26 January 1808, when the New South Wales Corps under Major George Johnston, working in close association with John MacArthur, deposed Governor William Bligh & instituted military rule over the colony.

The marines, who had supported Bligh in his attempts to provide flood relief & halt the use of spirits as a form of payment for commodities, refused to take part in this action & were disarmed & disbanded by Johnston, a decision accepted by Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Foveaux, who had arrived to take up the post of Lieutenant-Governor but ended up as acting-Governor.

With the departure of the New South Wales Corps (now the 102nd Regiment of Foot) & the arrival of the 73rd Regiment of Foot (MacLeod's Highlanders) under the command of Major-General Lachlan Macquarie (& his assumption of the Governorship) on 1 January 1810, the company of Royal Marines was reinstated & re-armed, only to be relieved in May that same year & returned to England.

From 1810 until the withdrawal of British forces from Australia in 1870 elements of the Royal Marines served alongside approximately 20,000 British Army soldiers, from 24 British infantry regiments undertaking garrison duties on a rotational basis, along with elements of the Royal Engineers & Royal Artillery.
Initially these forces were based solely in New South Wales & Tasmania. Later they were sent to Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria & Queensland.
Upon the departure of their units many British marines & soldiers chose to stay in Australia, taking their discharge or transferring to the units that arrived to replace them.

The Royal Marine companies that garrisoned Australia were primarily raised in Britain & Australian born subjects who wished to pursue a military career were obliged to join British military forces, until local volunteer militia units were raised after responsible self-government was granted in each of the Australian colonies after 1855. Although the British did not actively recruit in Australia, hundreds of Australians are believed to have joined the British Army & Royal Marines.

In March 1862 the British government "resolved that those colonies which had achieved responsible government would have to bear the cost of their own internal defences". However, 15 infantry companies of infantry, several batteries of the Royal Artillery, as well as engineers, marines & various support units paid for by the colonial governments in the form of a capitation payment remained.

In 1870 the last British Army regiment (the 18th (Royal Irish)) departed Australia but a small number of Royal Marines would remain in the country until 1913, primarily in training roles. The influence of the British Army & Royal Marines would continue to be felt, however, in the customs, traditions, uniforms, heraldry & organisational structure that have carried through to the modern Australian Army & the Royal Australian Marines.

Overview of Colonial Military Forces 1854 to 1901

In the 1850s, “responsible self-government” resulted in the colonies becoming increasingly responsible for their own well-being & self-reliant economically. There were, also, growing security concerns resulting from the French annexation of New Caledonia & the outbreak of the Crimean War, which led to New South Wales, Victoria & South Australia raising several volunteer units. Although unpaid & required to provide their own uniforms, the government supplied them with arms & ammunition. Their unusual status gave these units privileges that militia units did not possess such as the right to elect their own officers, the ability to choose their length of service, & exemption from military discipline. Socially distinctions existed between the volunteer units & the colonial militia forces, too, with volunteers mainly coming from the upper class due to being unpaid. Eventually, however, these distinctions became less clear as volunteer units became partially or fully paid, lost the right to elect their officers & came slowly under proper military regulation; similarly, the militia, because the threatened possibility of a “compulsory ballot” (draft) was never enacted, remained a volunteer force as its establishment was always maintained by voluntary enlistment.

During the 1860s, as British troops were sent to New Zealand to fight in the Maori Wars, the colonies needed to provide further resources for their own defence. Therefore volunteer units were raised in Tasmania, Queensland & Western Australia. Victoria, the largest & most prosperous colony, fielded the largest forces. For most of the decade, Australia’s colonial forces were plagued by problems of poor discipline, lack of purpose, obsolete equipment, poor training, a lack of command & control, & a lack of funding resulted in significant financial pressures upon their members. These issues had serious negative effects on the efficiency of the colonial forces & resulted in large fluctuations in numbers.

The American Civil War, Russian involvement in Afghanistan & the Franco-German War in the 1860s & 1870s, made defence an important issue for colonial parliaments. The cessation of British garrisons forced the colonies to take steps towards the creation of a regular or "permanent" force when small forces of infantry & artillery were raised in Victoria, New South Wales & South Australia. Other reforms that took place around this time included the organisation of units into standard formations such as battalions, increased payments to volunteers, land grants for efficient service, the establishment of annual training camps – usually over Easter – the creation of cadres of professional soldiers, known as "permanent staff" to provide training, the requirement for officers & non-commissioned officers to pass exams & the establishment of minimum required attendance.

In the late 1870s the colonies had begun to consider working together to provide for the defence of the Australian continent when two British officers, Major General William Jervois & Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley arrived to serve as defence advisors to the colonial governments. Together these officers authored the Jervois-Scratchley Reports, which heavily influenced the development of Australia’s colonial forces.

During the 1880’s several inter-colonial conferences were held, setting the scene for later co-operation, when they worked together to annex parts of New Guinea following concerns about German imperial interests in the Pacific, & to fund & establish coastal defences on Thursday Island & at King George's Sound, near Albany in Western Australia in the mid-1890s. Further co-operation came when, in July 1899, the permanent artillery forces of Queensland, New South Wales & Victoria were grouped together to form the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment. South Australian artillery units did not join this formation &, later, became the nucleus for the Royal Australian Marines Artillery Regiment.

This same period saw a rapid increase in the size of the colonial military forces, numbers rising from 8,000 to 22,000 men, although barely 1,000 of these were permanent soldiers. 1885 saw the return of the unpaid volunteer soldier following the dispatch of a contingent of New South Wales soldiers to fight in the Sudan resulting in fears of a Russian attack on Australia. The up-swelling of patriotism forced the colonial governments to allow citizens to form new units of "second-line" troops who were not as well trained as the paid volunteers or voluntary militiamen. This wave of patriotism resulted in the development of the concept of mounted infantry soldiers within Australian forces, which would later be used in the Boer War & in the First World War as the "light horse". This period, arguably, saw a new “Australian” character begin to form amongst the colonial forces.

In 1889, Major General Bevan Edwards recommended that the colonies should combine their military forces & create of a unified force of between 30,000 & 40,000 men, which would be organised into standard brigades consisting of foot & mounted infantry, engineers & artillery that could be rapidly mobilised through the establishment of defensive agreements between the colonies. Until that time colonial defensive strategy had primarily revolved around static defence by infantry forces supported by coastal artillery. Edwards, however, maintained that co-operative measures such as standardising equipment & training, unifying command structures, & improving & unifying railway & telegraph communications, would enable "efficient defence”.

The 1890’s, however, turned out to be a period of hardship & turmoil in the Australian colonies, economically, politically & militarily. Inter-colonial rivalries prevented the establishment of a federal military & defence policy. The economic hardship of a major recession in Australia resulted in a reduction in the size of the permanent forces in the colonies, decreased training opportunities, reductions in pay for militia & decreased turn out in volunteer units. However, the reduced turnout was largely reversed by the mid-1890s as members of the militia & permanent forces, previously released for economic reasons, joined the ranks of the volunteers.

Meanwhile, in Victoria & Queensland, military forces were brought in to end industrial disputes, resulting in a distrust of the military by working class Australians in those colonies. Towards the end of the 1890’s this, together with competing imperial & national priorities, influenced the Defence Act (1903) which was enacted to establish the structure of the Australian Army after Federation & which firmly established the Army at that time as a "home service army" made up primarily of citizen soldiers. Interestingly, this part of the Act did not affect the new Commonwealth Marines, which were seen as part of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

Following the outbreak of fighting against the Boers in South Africa in late 1899, contingents of troops were dispatched from all colonies. This event, also, saw an increase in volunteers serving in local units in Australia. Finally, after 30 years & three months after the Federation of Australia, the Australian Army was formed on 1 March 1901, & all colonial forces, with the exception of the Commonwealth Naval Forces &, with them, the Commonwealth Marines, came under its control. Upon establishment, the actual strength of the colonial forces that were transferred was 1,480 officers & 25,873 other ranks, including the forces that were deployed in South Africa which were all now transferred to the Commonwealth. Of these forces only 115 officers & 1,323 other ranks were permanent soldiers.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 02:38:41 AM by Old Wombat »
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2013, 10:15:45 PM »
Colonial Marine Forces 1854 to 1901 by State

New South Wales

As Sydney was the major base for the Royal Navy in Australia, the New South Wales Government had no incentive to create their own naval force. This sense of security ended with the outbreak of the Crimean War & in 1854 a local voluntary force consisting of one battery of artillery & three companies of marine infantry was raised. At the same time tenders were put out for the construction of a gunboat to assist in the defence of Sydney. Launched in 1855, the vessel was named HMCS Spitfire & was the first naval vessel completed by an Australian colonial government. Although modified from an existing hull, Spitfire has the distinction of being the first warship to be constructed in Australia. However, following the cessation of hostilities with Russia in the Crimea, these forces struggled to maintain numbers & government funding. So, by 1858 the New South Wales Marines Infantry companies were little more than paper forces & were disbanded, although the artillery battery continued to function at, more or less, full strength.

In 1860, in response to British Army units being sent to New Zealand, New South Wales raised another volunteer force of 347 men, formed into four companies of marine infantry

After the Crimean War the New South Wales Government took no further steps in developing naval or marine forces until a naval brigade of 120 men & a marine company of 82 men was formed in 1863. At the same time, during the Maori Wars, although the colony had no official role, New South Wales contributed significantly to the 2,500 volunteers that were sent from Australia in 1863. This contribution included the 82 marines. Strong support for the naval brigade saw it grow to five companies, four in Sydney & one in Newcastle, with an overall strength of 200 men by 1864. Meanwhile the marines struggled to maintain their original numbers & were, eventually, absorbed into the naval brigade. The naval brigade headquarters was established at Fort Macquarie, now the site of the Sydney Opera House. As Spitfire had been sold to Queensland in 1859, the naval brigade had no ships of their own, a situation not rectified until the late 1870s, when the construction of two second class torpedo boats, Avernus & Acheron were ordered to be constructed in Sydney. In 1882, HMS Wolverine was purchased from the Royal Navy.

In 1869 the decision to withdraw all British units in 1870 had been confirmed & had been completed by 1871 with local forces assuming responsibility for the defence of New South Wales. In order to achieve this, the New South Wales government raised a permanent military force, consisting of two infantry companies & one artillery battery, in 1871.

The 1870s saw major improvements to the structure & organisation of New South Wales' colonial forces. 1876 saw a second permanent artillery battery established, followed a year later a third. In 1877, the Engineers Corps & Signals Corps were established while in 1882 & in 1891 the Commissariat & Transport Corps (later the Army Service Corps) were formed. At last the marines found their place & the New South Wales Marines were reformed as a permanent force consisting of three infantry companies & two artillery batteries. The physical infrastructure of defence in the colony was also improved, largely due to the recommendations of Jervois & Scratchley, with new forts such as Fort Scratchley & Bare Island being built, while existing locations were upgraded with new rifled muzzle loading guns.

The New South Wales School of Gunnery was established at Middle Head in 1885, training both militia, navy & marine artillerymen. While full volunteers were instituted again that year it did not affect the marines.

The economic difficulties of the 1890s saw much restructuring, with many units being formed & disbanded soon after, or merged with other units. Training opportunities & militia pay levels were reduced. This same period saw the marines reduced to two companies of marine infantry & one artillery battery.

A point of note is that between 1893 & 1896, Major General Edward Hutton, a British Army officer who would later be instrumental in establishing the newly formed Australian Army, commanded the New South Wales Forces. At the same time Major Augustus Siefert, who would later aid in establishing & command the Royal Australian Marines, was commanding the South Australian Marine Battalion.

When hostilities commenced in South Africa in October 1899, all the Australian colonies agreed to send troops in support of the British cause. The First New South Wales Contingent arrived in South Africa in November 1899. New South Wales' contribution was the largest amongst all of the colonies, with a total of 6,357 troops comprising the New South Wales contingent over the entire war. The overall contingent included 6.110 men of the New South Wales Infantry Company, the New South Wales Lancers, the New South Wales Mounted Rifles, the New South Wales Citizens Bushmen, & the New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, plus 247 New South Wales Marines.

Small detachments of New South Wales’ permanent infantry & marines were deployed to China in September 1900 as part of the New South Wales Naval Brigade during the Boxer Rebellion. They returned to Australia in March 1901 without taking part in any significant actions.

A survey of New South Wales' military forces on 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, found that the active forces consisted of 505 officers & 8,833 other ranks, 26 nurses, & 1906 civilian rifle club members. In addition to these forces, there was an inactive reserve of 130 officers & 1,908 other ranks. The naval brigade had a total strength of 614 men at Federation, while the New South Wales Marines numbered 473, & came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.


The first local Tasmanian military force occurred as early as the mid-1830s, when the colony of Van Diemen's Land constructed & operated the armed schooner Eliza. Built at Port Arthur, Eliza was operated by the Convict Marine Service & employed carrying out anti-piracy patrols & helping maintain the security of the penal settlement.

In 1859 Tasmania raised its first local defence units; two batteries of "volunteer" artillery, the Hobart Town Artillery Company & the Launceston Volunteer Artillery Company, & twelve companies of "volunteer" infantry, totalling 1,200 men, including such units as the Freemasons Corps, the Oddfellows, the Manchester Unity, the Buckingham Rifles, the City Guards, the Kingborough Rifles, the Derwent Rifles & the Huon Rifles. A further company, calling itself the Hobart Marine Infantry, was also raised & numbered 121 offices & other ranks. However, by 1865, these forces began to decline, & the infantry & marine companies were disbanded in 1867. The artillery, though, was increased to three batteries.

In 1870 the complete withdrawal of British forces from Tasmania left the colony virtually defenceless. The existing fortresses had fallen into a state of decay & were considered inadequate for the defence of the Hobart. As a result work was begun on another battery in 1871. This soon ceased when funding ran out. Even if the structure had been completed, though, there were no artillerymen to service the guns, as the Hobart Artillery & Queens Battery had all but ceased to exist. Between 1870 & 1878, despite the Russian corvette Boyarin entering the Derwent unexpectedly in 1871, the Tasmanian government was unwilling to provide funds for local forces.

When funding became available again in 1878, the Tasmanian Volunteer Force was established under the provisions of the Volunteer Act. This force consisted of two artillery batteries & four companies of infantry in Hobart, another battery & two infantry companies in Launceston & a company of marines based in Hobart. In 1879, the Tasmanian Light Horse was raised in Launceston.

 The forces were re-organised & re-designated the "Local Forces of Tasmania" in 1880, formed of two divisions across the north & south of the colony. By 1882, when the Russian ships Afrika, Plastun, & Vyestnik dropped in unexpectedly, the strength of the colony's military was 634 men. Further re-organisations during 1882–83 resulted in the establishment of an engineer corps & the re-creation of the marines as the Tasmanian Marines Brigade consisting 208 men divided into two companies, the disbandment of the light horse & the withdrawal of the right of the volunteer forces to elect their officers.

In 1883, Tasmania purchased the second-class torpedo boat TB 191, which arrived in Hobart on 1 May 1884 & remained in Tasmania, operated by the Tasmanian Torpedo Corps, until it was transferred to South Australia in 1905.

Between 1885 & 1893, Tasmania’s military & naval forces grew to exceed 2,500 men.

The depression of the early 1890’s resulted in a major reduction in the size of the colony's permanent artillery & in payments for stores, grants & training. By the middle of the decade Tasmania's permanent artillery had been reduced to just eight men to serve four 12-pounder breech loaded guns & two 2.5-inch rifled muzzle loaders. 1895 saw the disbandment of the Tasmanian Marines Brigade, which had barely numbered more than a dozen men for over six months. Despite negligible government funding, between 1895 & 1897, volunteer units held a number of unpaid training camps. In 1897, a reorganisation of Tasmania's infantry saw the creation of the Tasmanian Regiment of Infantry, which was established with three battalions. Government funded training recommenced in 1898 &, in 1899, a mounted infantry force, a medical corps & a new marines company were formed.

During the Boer War, Tasmania provided a total of 857 men to the Australian contingents, including Private John Bisdee & Lieutenant Guy Wylly, both members of the Tasmanian Bushmen, who were the first Australians awarded Victoria Crosses in that conflict, earned during an action near Warm Bad in 1900. No Tasmanian marines were sent to South Africa

On 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, a survey of the strength of colonial forces found that the Tasmanian colonial forces consisted of 118 officers & 2,009 other ranks, which were transferred to the Australian Army. The Tasmanian Naval Brigade, with a total strength of 326 men at Federation, & the 1st Company, Tasmanian Volunteer Marines, consisting of 7 officers & 91 other ranks, came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

Western Australia

In 1861 the British garrison was withdrawn from Western Australia, & so that year an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the creation of a corps of volunteers. Around this time, the colony's military forces totalled about 700 men serving in foot & mounted infantry units, organised into the Western Australian Volunteer Force which was raised primarily in Perth, Fremantle & Pinjarra. By 1872 there were just 365 men "under arms".

Although the situation improved, the force was still amateurish. A reorganisation followed, & on 17 June 1872 the Metropolitan Rifle Volunteers were formed, with companies in Fremantle, Guildford, Albany, Geraldton, Northampton & York. In 1872, a troop from the West Australian Mounted Volunteers was converted to a horse artillery unit when they were entrusted with two breech-loading 12-pounders that had previously belonged to the enrolled pensioners that had been sent to the colony to guard convicts prior to the end of transportation. Further reorganisation occurred & in 1874 the infantry units of Perth, Fremantle & Guildford were amalgamated administratively to form the 1st Battalion, Western Australian Volunteers. More changes came the following year when promotions for officers were tied to examination performance, & field & barracks training was made available for all ranks. Corps’ were brought together annually, normally over Easter to practice manoeuvres, during which smaller units were merged with larger units; training became more organised & professional instructors were enlisted. The West Australian Marines companies usually trained at Fremantle & Rottnest Island.

Western Australia did not operate a colonial navy before federation. Since Western Australia did not achieve self-government until 1890, the colony was forbidden from operating its own naval vessels under the Colonial Naval Defence Act of 1865. However, in 1879 a militia unit, known as the Fremantle Naval Artillery was formed to assist in the defence of Fremantle Harbour. The naval artillery unit was made up of ex-Royal Navy men & merchant seamen of good character. This year also saw the formation of the 1st Company of West Australian Marines, followed the following year by the 2nd Company.

The Fremantle Naval Artillery was equipped with two brass 6-pounder field guns; these guns had no limbers, restricting their movement, thus hindering their primary function, which was to provide a mobile shore battery for the defence of Fremantle Harbour. In 1889 these guns were replaced by two 9-pounder guns, complete with limbers & wagons. The Fremantle Naval Artillery was eventually disbanded & reformed as the Fremantle Artillery Volunteers.

By 1880 mounted infantry units had been established in Bunbury & Perth, & that same year the force of enrolled pensioners was disbanded.

In 1883, the colony's military became subject to British military law in the event of war, although under the provisions of the Volunteer Force Regulation Act 1883 a number of limitations were placed on its application. In 1884, the first annual continuous training camp took place. Held over the Easter weekend, camps took place at Albion & Geraldton. By 1885, the size of the colony's military force was just 714 men including 136 marines, although this increased to just over 1,000 in 1890, with just over 300 marines. During the Russian war scare of 1885, Western Australia's mobilisation was small compared to other the colonies & limited only to an Easter muster of fewer than 450 men. At King George's Sound, strategically important as a coaling station, the local force, the Albany Rifles, had disbanded due to "disorganisation & inefficiency" & although another unit, the Albany Defence Rifles, was raised at this time to fill the void, it was disbanded shortly after the crisis abated.

Further annual camps took place in 1888 at Greenmount & at Guildford the following year. Nevertheless, the state of military forces in Western Australia in 1889 was that they were considered to be of little value as a defence force. In 1890, in an effort to encourage participation an efficiency bonus was introduced which saw payments being made to volunteers who paraded 12 times a year & completed basic musketry training.

The economic downturn occurred shortly after this however, & this, coupled with the increased costs of maintaining the volunteer force, affected the government's ability to provide funding for training. In early 1893, the remnants of the 2nd Company of West Australian Marines were trained as gunners to assist the permanent force of South Australian artillery that had were manning the fort at Albany. Due to improvements in the economic circumstances of the colonies after the depression in the early 1890s, eight new artillery pieces, 9-pounder RMLs, were purchased in 1894; although these were technically obsolescent, they were nevertheless an improvement on the two 12-pounder Armstrong guns that they replaced. By 1896, West Australia's artillery consisted of eight RML type 9-pounders & two RBL 12-pounder guns.

From 1893 to 1898 annual camps were held in the vicinity of Perth, bringing together most of the force, although units from remote regions continued to undertake their training in isolation. In 1897, a system of "partial pay" was instituted. In 1899, an artillery force was raised by the colony to take over duties at Albany, absorbing the marines into their number; this force was known as the Albany Volunteer Garrison Artillery. In May 1998, the 2nd Company of West Australian Marines was reformed, along with a new 3rd Company, &, together with the 1st Company, they were formed into the 1st Battalion West Australian Marines. In July the following year, the 1st Infantry Regiment was formed from the 1st Battalion, Western Australian Volunteers, with three companies in Perth & Fremantle & one in Guildford.

The outbreak of the Boer War saw 1229 troops from the colony being sent to South Africa to fight, none of them being marines. One member of the Western Australian Mounted Infantry, Lieutenant Frederick Bell, received the Victoria Cross during the conflict. By the time they returned from the war, Australia had federated & become the Commonwealth of Australia, & the Western Australian Defence Force, which then consisted of one mounted infantry regiment, two field artillery batteries, two garrison artillery companies, & an infantry brigade consisting of five battalions, were amalgamated into the newly formed Australian Army.

On 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, a survey of the strength of colonial forces found that the Western Australian colonial forces consisted of 135 officers & 2,561 other ranks, which were transferred to the Australian Army. The 11 officers & 295 other ranks of marines came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

South Australia

South Australia was the only British colony in Australia which was not a convict colony. It was established as a planned free colony, & began on 28 December 1836. As such garrisons were not required as prison guards, unlike the other colonies. However, Governor John Hindmarsh was escorted on HMS Buffalo by a contingent of nineteen Royal Marines. They were assigned to protect him & 17 of them left South Australia, along with 5 local recruits, when he departed the colony on HMS Alligator on 14 July 1838. The other 2 volunteered to be left behind as recruiters. A lack of any form of defence however, led to the creation of the Royal South Australian Volunteer Militia, consisting of an infantry company & two cavalry troops, in 1840, although it was disbanded in 1851; for the final six years of its existence it had been a force that had existed on paper only. The first artillery pieces arrived in South Australia aboard Buffalo, which landed two 18-pound cannons, but initially there were no moves to form an artillery unit, so the guns were operated by Royal Engineers. In 1844 a request for further pieces was sent to the British government & two years later two light 6-pounders, two 12-pounder howitzers & two Cohorn mortars arrived with an ammunition store of about 500 rounds for each weapon type.

Despite the setback of the first attempt to form a militia, the idea of self-support was entirely ingrained in the foundation of the South Australian colony, & so in 1854 the Militia Act was passed, which allowed for compulsory enlistment of a force of 2,000 men between the ages of 16 & 46, although this option was never pursued. On 4 November 1854, amidst concerns surrounding the Crimean War, a new attempt was made to raise local militia forces in South Australia. The government proclaimed a general order that established the South Australian Volunteer Militia Force, which was to be organised into two battalions, each consisting of six companies of between 50 & 60 men, which would be known as the Adelaide Rifles. A further 2 companies of South Australian Volunteer Marines were, also, to be raised. The men received 36 days training, & then returned to their civilian jobs until needed. This force was short lived though, being disbanded upon the end of the Crimean War in 1856. A small force of artillery, about two companies, & some cavalry were also raised during this time, although almost no training was carried out & the artillery was employed mainly to fire a single shot every day from Port Adelaide to mark noon. A request for a further consignment of artillery pieces had been sent to Britain in 1854, but it was not until 1857 that the guns arrived. Two 9-pounders, two 6-pounders & four howitzers were received at this time.

This set the scene for South Australia’s military activities for the next 2 decades, despite South Australia being the first state to introduce partially paid volunteers in 1865, which was a system all of the other colonies were soon to follow, by the enacting of the Volunteer Act (1865) which divided all military forces into active & reserve forces. Due to organisational problems, lack of equipment & a lack of political will-power the numbers of militia & volunteer troops peaked & troughed in rapid cycles. In 1868, the colony's Whitworth 12-pounder guns, which had been purchased the year before, were fired for the first time when they were exercised at Glenelg. That year the two artillery companies were merged to form the South Australian Regiment of Volunteer Artillery.

During this period the 2 Royal Marines recruiters & their successors had not been idle & an estimated 340 young South Australian men had enlisted in & been sent to Britain for training & service. In 1855 the first group of returning marines formed their own volunteer unit, the 1st South Australian Marines, & by 1860 the unit numbered 438 marines, divided into 6 companies & combined as the 1st South Australian Marines Battalion. The battalion included a company of artillery which consisted of 4 obsolete pieces, two 9-pounder guns & two 12-pound howitzers. The unit was lucky to have the backing of several wealthier members of South Australia’s community who either had served or had sons serving with the Royal Marines & who assisted with the costs of supplying basic equipment for the troops, & with providing places for them to train. Even so, by 1868 the number of marines had fallen to 137, half of whom serviced the unit’s artillery.

The government had been quite unstable for the first five years of the 1870s, but settled in 1875, allowing for more stable planning. Once again affairs of empires played a part. Russia was once again being perceived as a threat by all of the colonial governments following the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. Politicians came under pressure from the press & campaign groups to expand the defensive capacity of the colony.

Finally in May 1877, the South Australian Volunteer Military Forces was reformed consisting primarily of 10 companies of the Adelaide Rifles. The success of raising those units did not stop the political arguments over the issue with wrangling between Governor Sir William Jervois & Premier John Colton temporarily suspending further development. Despite all of the political setbacks, the Adelaide Rifles had soon grown to 21 companies, & on 4 July 1877 a second battalion was formed. The second battalion comprised the companies from Mount Gambier, Unley, & Port Pirie together with the Duke of Edinburgh's Own of Prince Alfred Rifle Volunteers. Training intensified briefly for the duration of the Russo-Turkish War, & then resumed at normal levels, with the 2nd Battalion being amalgamated with the 1st Battalion.

The two artillery companies were reformed at this time under the guidance of Colonel M.F. Downes, a Royal Artillery officer. The "company" designation was dropped & "battery" was adopted, with the two subunits being designated 'A' & 'B' Battery. The colony's armament was boosted by the arrival of eight RML 6-pounder heavy field guns. In 1879, following the British defeat by the Zulus at Isandlwana, South Australia offered to send a contingent of troops to aid the British response. This offer was rejected, however. Although provisions had been made for a permanent artillery force to be raised in South Australia this was not undertaken & instead the guns at Fort Glanville, completed & under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Maria Gordon by 1882, as well as the colony's field artillery, were manned by volunteers.

Although not immune to the political & associated economic pressures, the 1st South Australian Marines were the most consistent & best trained military force available to the state during this period, although far from the best equipped, with many of their number being South Australian recruits into the Royal Marines who had returned home either at the end of their term of service or upon retirement. However, their numbers rarely rose above 200.

In the 1880s South Australia began initial steps towards the establishment of a naval force. Sir William Jervois, then governor of South Australia, was the strongest advocate for a colonial navy. September 1884 saw the arrival of the 920 tonne ship Protector, at the time the most advanced ship in any of the colonial navies. The South Australian government also created a naval brigade to support Protector, & increased the funding for the marines. The 1st South Australian Marines Battalion finally grew to a size worthy of the title & took on the specialised roles of seaborne assault & reconnaissance tasks.

Protector was transferred to the Commonwealth in 1901; she also served in China during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1905 the South Australian government negotiated the purchase of TB 191 from Tasmania. This ship was purchased as a torpedo boat & would allow the navy to use its Whitehead torpedoes which had been purchased many years earlier.

By 1885, the second infantry battalion was again reformed. At this time, South Australia's military strength was 3,195 men, excluding the 377 marines. By this time, a second fort, at Largs had been established, while another, Fort Glenelg, had also been planned, although by 1888 it had not been built & its guns, two 9.2-inch pieces, left dumped in the sand near the site, had been “appropriated” by the 1st South Australian Marines & put into storage.

In 1889 a third battalion of infantry was raised, although it was short lived as it was disbanded in 1895. In 1893, as part of the combined efforts of the six colonies to secure strategic points around the continent, South Australia provided a small garrison of 30 permanent artillerymen to crew three 6-inch guns that were established at Albany in King George's Sound in Western Australia. Up until 1896, all South Australian units trained only once a year at Easter. The commitment of the men, & constant restructuring & reorganising, were in direct response to perceived threats to the colony. By 1896, the colony's arsenal of field guns consisted of 11 pieces, of which eight were 16-pounder RML types & three were 13-pounder RMLs. The following year, the two artillery batteries were "brigaded" together under the South Australian Artillery Brigade.

Upon the outbreak of hostilities in the Boer War, many men from various South Australian units volunteered to participate with the Australian contingent. Any regiments whose men participated later received King's Colours & battle honours. The colony contributed 1,036 personnel to the conflict under its own banner, including 86 marines, & another 490 were sent as part of Commonwealth forces.

On 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, a survey of the strength of colonial forces found that the South Australian colonial forces consisted of 135 officers & 2,797 other ranks, which were transferred to the Australian Army. A further 43 officers & 593 men of the South Australian Naval Brigade, plus 38 officers & 470 other ranks of marines, came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.


In late December 1854 the newly formed Victorian Government faced their first crisis. Three years earlier, in 1851, gold had been discovered in Ballarat, & soon after in Bendigo, triggering the Victorian gold rush. The government imposed heavy mining taxes, which caused a miners revolt, culminating in the Eureka Stockade. About 1,000 miners fortified a position, & at 3:00 am on 3 December 1854, a party of 276 members from the 1st/12th & 2nd/40th Regiments supported by Victorian police, under the command of Captain John Thomas, approached the Eureka Stockade & a battle ensued. The miners, about 150 strong by this time, 100 of who were armed, were no match for the military & they were routed in less than 15 minutes, with six soldiers & 34 miners being killed. The result of this action was the effect that it had on public opinion surrounding the issue of the British garrison's presence in Australia; a gathering of citizens in Melbourne shortly after the incident at Eureka expressed a desire for the creation of a "constitution under which there would be no troops in the colony but for part-time citizens soldiers recruited from among the community".

The Colony of Victoria commenced construction of its first armed vessel in 1853, HMCS Victoria which was launched on 30 June 1855 & arrived in Victoria on 31 May 1856. Victoria carried out a large variety of tasks during its life, including taking part in the Maori Wars, assisting in the search for Burke & Wills, delivering the first trout eggs to Tasmania, as well as numerous surveying & rescue tasks.

Following the success of Victoria, the Victorian colonial government ordered an ironclad ship, HMVS Cerberus & was gifted the composite steam-sail warship, HMS Nelson.

When the Crimean War ended in 1856, many of the local units that had been raised declined as the enthusiasm of Victorians for military service dwindled. Around this time, the rifle regiments & corps that had been raised were converted to artillery.

In 1859 the first Naval Brigade was formed. The Brigade was re-organised in 1863 as a half-militia, re-formed in 1871 as the Victorian Naval Reserve as a full militia & re-formed again in 1885 as the Victorian Naval Brigade.

The Victorian Naval Forces comprised the permanent force known as the Victorian Navy, & a 300-strong Victorian Naval Brigade consisting of the Williamstown Division & the Sandridge (Port Melbourne) Division. Combined the Victorian Navy & the Victorian Naval Brigade were known as the Victorian Naval Forces.

When British troops began to be redirected from the Australian colonies to New Zealand in the early 1860s there was renewed interest in Victoria for raising local forces to take over more of the responsibility for garrison duties. From 1861 Victorian forces undertook annual training at Easter with the first camp being undertaken at Werribee. The Volunteer Act was passed in 1863, & this legislation allowed the government to raise a voluntary force consisting of various arms including infantry & artillery. There were around 13 companies of infantry volunteers in Victoria at this time. From 1863 all mounted troops in Victoria became part of the Prince of Wales' Light Horse. By December 1863, along with the 13 companies of infantry, there was one company of engineers & seven of artillery. However, Victoria did not create a marines unit until 1886 as an adjunct to the Victorian Naval Brigade.

By the time that the British garrison was withdrawn in 1871, the Victorian military consisted of 206 permanent troops & 4,084 militia & volunteers. The following year, the various volunteer rifle companies were re-organised, being placed into battalion-level structures which saw the establishment of two metropolitan battalions, as well as a battalion in Ballarat & another in Mount Alexander. In January 1879, a survey of the colony's military forces determined that there were 228 permanent staff, all of which were serving in the artillery, & 3,202 volunteers serving in the cavalry, engineers, artillery & infantry.

In 1880 the permanent artillery units were disbanded, but were later reformed in 1882 as the Victorian Garrison Artillery Corps. In 1884, the volunteer system was abolished & in its a place a partially paid militia, who were obligated to serve for a minimum number of days each year, was established. With the exception of these changes, the others that occurred at this time were largely administrative & most units that existed before 1884 remained in existence. The following year, the Victorian Mounted Rifles, who were the first unit to adopt the iconic slouch hat, were formed, primarily recruiting in rural areas where men had already established horsemanship skills & thus did not need further training & were able to provide & maintain their own horse. In late 1888 or early 1889, the Victorian Rangers, a rural infantry unit, was also raised. Both rural units were not paid well, but did receive small allowances, & were made up primarily of members of local rifle clubs.

In 1884 several more warships were purchased by Victoria, these included the first-class torpedo boat Childers & second-class torpedo boats Lonsdale, & Nepean & the third-class gunboats Victoria & Albert.

In 1884 a visit by the South Australian ship, HMCS Protector, & a contingent of their naval brigade, which included a company of marines, by invitation of the Victorian government to commemorate the purchase of its own ships, triggered the Victorian government to look at creating their own marines unit. In April 1886 the 1st Victorian Company of Marines was formed along the same lines as the South Australian formation, which it quickly grew to outnumber. That year the turnabout torpedo boat Gordon was acquired. By 1889 Victoria had the over-sized Victorian Marines Battalion, which included 3 companies of artillery.

In the early 1890s, economic hardships reduced the ability of many volunteer units to maintain regular attendance. Nevertheless, in 1892, the first-class torpedo boat, Countess of Hopetoun arrived in Victoria, & at the start of the decade the Victorian Mounted Rifles were used by the Victorian government to provide assistance to police during a maritime strike, firming the resolve of Victorians against the formation of a permanent professional military force.

To supplement the ships of the permanent force a number of government vessels were modified so as to serve as gunboats or torpedo boats. The hopper barges Batman & Fawkner were modified so as to mount a six-inch breech-loading gun at the bow of each ship. Two machine guns were also fitted. Strengthening of the bow, the fitting of a magazine, shell room, crew quarters & some armour protection for the crew added two more gunboats to the fleet. A compressor fitted to Fawkner meant that the torpedo boats could be serviced at sea. The tug boat Gannet & steamer Lady Loch were likewise modified.

The Harbour Trust boats Commissioner & Customs No. 1 had two sets of torpedo dropping gear fitted to each boat thereby adding two more torpedo boats to the fleet. In 1885 the government steamers Lion & Spray were fitted with six-pounder Armstrong guns. Spray was later fitted with two sets of torpedo dropping gear.

Supporting the Victorian Naval Forces were the fortifications located at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay & other sites around the bay. In the years leading up to Federation the Victorian Naval Forces were considered the most powerful of all the colonial naval forces.

In December 1892, men of the Echuca Company of the Victorian Rangers nearly sparked an inter-colonial incident between New South Wales & Victoria, by accepting an invitation to cross the colonial border of the Murray River to nearby Moama, to attend a patriotic march. However, crossing the border in uniform & under arms would have legally constituted an "invasion", & would have been in contravention of the military law of both colonies. Despite the social context of the event, & the nature of the Rangers' acceptance, the incident upset members of both colonies' governments, who were opposed to either colony allowing troops from the other to enter their territory. The event was defused without incident, but served to highlight how parochial the colonies were about defence at the time. Eventually permission was granted for the men to enter New South Wales, & they performed marches & manoeuvres in front of a large reception.

By 1896, Victoria boasted the largest artillery arsenal of all the Australian colonies, possessing nineteen 12-pounder BL guns, six 12-pounder rifled breech loaders (RBLs) & another six 6-pounders of the same type. The Victorian Marines Battalion added nine 12-pounder howitzers to that total.

By 1901 other infantry units in the Victorian forces consisted of five battalions of militia, as well as the Victorian Rangers & the Victorian Railways Infantry, both of which were volunteer units.

Upon the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa on 12 October 1899, men volunteered for active service from every Australian colony. Victoria's contribution was second only to New South Wales in size, & comprised 193 officers & 3,372 men of other ranks. Oddly, given the size of the unit, no members of the Victorian Marines Battalion were sent to serve in South Africa. The Victorian contingent was involved in a remarkable victory when 50 men from the Victorian Bushmen were involved in the Battle of Elands River in July 1900. One Victorian, Lieutenant Leslie Maygar, received the Victoria Cross during the conflict.

On 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, a survey of the strength of colonial forces found that the Victorian colonial forces consisted of 301 officers & 6,034 other ranks. Shortly after Federation, on 1 March 1901, the units of the Victorian forces were transferred to the Australian Army. The Victorian Naval Forces, consisting of 1,184 men of the Victorian Naval Brigade plus 32 officers & 723 other ranks of marines, came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.


The colony of Queensland came into being on 6 June 1859, when it was established as a separate entity from New South Wales. The task of raising a military force for the new colony was commenced shortly after this & the first formation, a troop of mounted rifles, was established in early 1860. Together with a small amount of infantry & artillery, the colony's military forces totalled about 250 men at this time, who were based primarily in Brisbane & Ipswich. Although they were maintained through the volunteer system, these soldiers were partially paid through a system of subsides & grants that were provided to enable them to buy the equipment & ammunition required to perform their duties.

In order to encourage men to serve, land grants of 50 acres (200,000 m2) were provided for soldiers who completed five years. Despite this, by 1876 the colony's military force numbered a mere 415 men under arms. In an effort to rectify the lack of manpower, Queensland passed the Volunteer Act in 1878. Within two years the size of the force had grown to 1,219 men. That same year, 1880, payments to volunteers for attending annual camps were stopped.

British forces had been stationed at Somerset on Cape York between 1865 & 1867 because of the recognised strategic importance of the Torres Strait to the Australian colonies as a whole. After their withdrawal, Queensland maintained a token force there, but it was widely recognised as inadequate to prevent any serious threat. A fortified coaling station & a more serious force was raised to be stationed upon Thursday Island in 1877.

Throughout the early 1880s it became apparent that the volunteer system was not effective in meeting the colony's defence needs. As a result, a committee was established to review the situation. The inquiry found that Queensland's military force "lacked cohesion & discipline", recommending that the force should be maintained through a combination of volunteers & militia. These recommendations were not initially implemented, however, in 1884 a "dual system" was created when the Volunteer Act was repealed &, under the provisions of the newly enacted Queensland Defence Act, a militia was established into which all males between certain ages became liable to be conscripted if required. This militia, a partially paid force, was established in the metropolitan areas of the colony, while unpaid volunteer units continued to exist in rural areas. A reserve of officers was also created at this time, which could be drawn upon in times of conflict. Three militia infantry units came into being as a result of this development, the Moreton, Wide Bay & Burnett, & Kennedy Regiments; these were supported by three volunteer units, the Queensland Volunteer Rifles, the Queensland Scottish Volunteers & the Queensland Irish Volunteers.

Around the same time the Queensland government felt alarmed by the threat of the expansion by the German colony of German New Guinea, & believed that by securing the south-eastern quarter of the island of New Guinea, they could provide more safety for shipping through the Torres Strait. As a result, in April 1883 the colony annexed the Territory of Papua for the British Empire. The British government, opposed to further colonial expansion, initially repudiated the action, but a firmer commitment by the Australian colonial governments eventually led to southern New Guinea (Papua) being declared an official British protectorate on 6 November 1884. In response, Germany annexed the northern portion the following month, expanding Kaiser-Wilhelmsland.

That same year Queensland provided for its first permanent forces. These came in the form of a permanent artillery battery, designated 'A' Battery, which was authorised in December 1884 & raised the following March. That year, 1885, in response to concerns about a possible war with Russia due to tensions between that nation & the British in India, Queensland forces were called up for continuous service over the Easter period, exercising at Fort Lytton.

One of the many outcomes of the Jervois-Scratchley reports was the formation of the Queensland Maritime Defence Force in 1883. Its purpose was to assist in the defence of Queensland's extensive coastline. To equip the new force the colonial government purchased two gunboats & a torpedo boat whilst port facilities & headquarters were established at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. The gunboats Paluma & Gayundah were ordered from the shipyards of Armstrong, Mitchell & Company & featured a shallow draft capable of operating in the many bays & estuaries along the coast. Gayundah served as a training ship & conducted the first ship to shore radio transmissions in Australia whilst Paluma was lent to the Royal Navy to carry out survey work on the Great Barrier Reef & along the Australian east coast. The torpedo boat Mosquito was ordered from Thornycroft of Chiswick. Mosquito was never commissioned but simply placed into service when required.

From this beginning further vessels were acquired to give Queensland the second largest fleet in the colonies behind Victoria. Five government hopper barges were modified to act as Auxiliary Gunboats. These ships were built by Walkers in Maryborough & at 450 tons they appear to have been the largest warships built in the Australian colonies before federation. The ships had already been ordered for the Queensland Department of Harbours & Rivers when the decision was taken to convert them to also serve a military purpose. This resulted in the fitting of a 5-inch gun & the relocation of the boilers below the waterline. The torpedo launch Midge, mining tender Miner & patrol vessel Otter made up the rest of the Queensland vessels. The Queensland Government also established naval brigades in the major ports along the Queensland coast.

In the early 1890s, more serious moves would be taken to garrison Thursday Island as part of a concerted effort by all six colonies to protect a number of strategic points around the Australian continent. Queensland's part in this was to contribute financially, along with Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria & South Australia, to the purchase of the three 6-inch guns that were installed on the island, & also to provide the 30-man garrison from their permanent artillery force & the creation of a unit of marine infantry, the Queensland Marine Infantry Company, as part of the Queensland Maritime Defence Force to be rotated through on garrison duty.

In 1889, as part of Edwards' review of colonial military forces, the Queensland artillery exercised at Fort Lytton & engineers demonstrated their capability by detonating a number of submarine mines. Edwards was sufficiently impressed, concluding that the colony's forces were "fairly satisfactory"; although he stopped short of stating that they were efficient. By 1891–92, the colony's military force consisted of 91 permanent soldiers, 3,133 militia & 841 volunteers, excluding the 1,300 officers & men of the Queensland Maritime Defence Force.

This progress was lost, however, in the early part of the following decade as the Australian colonies were gripped by an economic depression which had the effect of reducing the amount of money spent on defence. Although the defence force was mobilised in 1891 to quell a shearers' strike, austerity measures resulted in the cancellation of the annual camp in 1893 & the disbandment of a number of units. The following year, the permanent artillery, which had been sent to garrison Thursday Island, was reduced, however, by 1895 the situation had improved & defence spending was increased again & Queensland's permanent artillery was again expanded. Recruitment into the foot & mounted infantry increased at this time also. A survey of field gun holdings in the colony in 1896 showed that there were four 12-pounder BL guns, twelve 9-pounder RMLs & five 12-pounder RBLs.

The depression of the 1890’s also ruled out any further thoughts of naval expansion & greatly curtailed operations. Most of the vessels were placed in reserve only to be reactivated for annual training at Easter. Despite this, most went on to have long careers in both naval & private hands past World War II. The wrecks of many can still be seen around Moreton Bay today.

The 1893 Brisbane flood ripped Paluma from her moorings & left her well above the high-water mark in the nearby Brisbane City Botanical Gardens. Fortunately as locals considered how to return one of the colony's most powerful & most expensive assets to the Brisbane River, another major flood just two weeks later re-floated the gunboat & she was pulled clear.

In July 1899, as tensions between British & Boer settlers in South Africa grew, Queensland pledged a force of 250 men in the event of war. The Boer War subsequently broke out on 11 October 1899 & over the course of the conflict Queensland contributed the third largest force of all the colonies, consisting of 733 troops provided at State expense & 1,419 at Imperial expense. Following Federation, a further 736 Queenslanders would serve in Commonwealth units. Troops from the Queensland Mounted Infantry were involved in the first significant Australian action of the war when they took part in an attack on a Boer "laager" at Sunnyside on 1 January 1900, during which they lost two men killed & two wounded.

The small size of Queensland’s marines unit precluded it from sending any troops to the South African campaign & the Queensland Marine Defence Force was the only Australian colonial navy not to be involved in a foreign conflict.

The Queensland Maritime Defence Force was not without controversy & difficulties. In October 1888, after a disagreement with the Queensland Government over conditions of service, Captain H.T. Wright R.N. commanding officer of Gayundah, was ordered to hand over to his second-in-command. Wright's response was to place his subordinate under arrest. He then coaled & provisioned the ship & threatened to sail her to Sydney. The Queensland Government ordered a police squad to relieve Captain Wright of his command. During the incident Captain Wright enquired from his gunner as to the best line of fire for his guns to hit Parliament House. The situation was eventually resolved. Of interest is the fact that, as Captain Wright had insisted, although Gayundah was the property of the Queensland government, it had, by Admiralty Warrant been accepted into Royal Navy service & thus as her captain he was only answerable to Rear-Admiral Fairfax, the commander-in-chief of the Australian Station.

Whilst this & the Paluma flood incident may have been a source of mirth for those in the southern colonies, it is important to note that Queensland officers went on to provide the backbone of the Commonwealth Naval Forces. In 1904, when a permanent Naval Board was established, it was Captain Creswell of Queensland & previously South Australia who was appointed as the Director of the Commonwealth Naval Forces & First Naval Member. At this time, 49% of the new force's officers had served with the Queensland Maritime Defence Force.

On 31 December 1900, the day before Federation, a survey of the strength of colonial forces found that Queensland's colonial forces consisted of 291 officers & 3,737 other ranks. On 1 March 1901, Queensland's military personnel came under the control of the Australian Army. Meanwhile the approximately 1,600 officers & men of the Queensland Maritime Defence Force came under the command of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 02:40:26 AM by Old Wombat »
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2013, 09:37:28 PM »
(Oops! Forgot this bit! :-\ )

Colonial Navies 1788 to 1901

In the years that followed the settlement of Australia in 1788 the Royal Navy did not maintain a permanent force in the new colony. The new Port Jackson colony was placed under the protection of the East Indies Station, which detached vessels occasionally to visit the new colony. From 1821 the Royal Navy maintained a permanent man-of-war in the colony. Over the next 20 years the vessels based on Port Jackson included the sixth rates Alligator, Caroline, Conway, Imogene, & Rattlesnake, & the sloops Hyacinth, Pelorus & Zebra.

On 25 March 1859 Captain William Loring of Iris was authorised to hoist a commodore's blue pennant & to assume command as senior officer of Her Majesty's Ships on the Australia Station, this new command was independent of the commander-in-chief in India.

Before Federation in 1901 five of the six separate colonies maintained their own naval forces for defence. The colonial navies were supported by the ships of the Royal Navy's Australian Station, as established in 1859.

The separate colonies maintained control over their respective navies until 1 March 1901, when a total of 339 officers & 3,358 other ranks of the naval brigades, & 117 officers & 2147 other ranks of marines came under the command of the Commonwealth Naval Forces.

Commonwealth Naval Forces 1901 to 1911

The colonies maintained control over their respective navies until 1 March 1901, when the Commonwealth Naval Force was created. Initially, like the colonial forces that preceded it, this new force also lacked blue-water capable ships, & its creation did not lead to an immediate change in Australian naval policy. In 1909, Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, while attending the Imperial Conference in London, sought the British Government's agreement to end the subsidy system & develop an Australian navy. The Admiralty rejected these approaches, suggesting instead that a small fleet of destroyers & submarines would be sufficient. Deakin was unimpressed & had previously invited the American Great White Fleet to visit Australia in 1908. This visit had fired public enthusiasm for a modern navy & in part led to the order of two 700-ton River-class destroyers. The surge in German naval construction prompted the Admiralty to change their position in 1909 & the Royal Australian Navy was subsequently formed in 1911. On 4 October 1913, the new fleet steamed through Sydney Heads, consisting of the battle cruiser HMAS Australia, three light cruisers, & three destroyers, while several other ships were still under construction. & as a consequence the navy entered the First World War as a formidable force.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 02:43:29 AM by Old Wombat »
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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 04:09:12 AM »
Very well done!

Not sure whether it belongs here or in "Scenarios" but, as it's going to be the basis for all of my RAM's builds & because it's a work in progress, it's going here.

I think it belongs here since it isn't really a scenario where you are asking for input in a basic idea. Rather, this is a more developed 'story'/alternate time line.

One suggestion though:  could you edit to include some paragraph line breaks please?  It is a bit hard to read in the current format where it is presented as "solid blocks of text".  Maybe even make the font slightly larger.

Certainly looking forward to where this is heading.  Will you be including any images?
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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 04:34:30 AM »

What have you come up with for the "Marines" insignia?  Would like to know as I have had an interest in building an AMTRAC or other equipment with such markings.
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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 03:01:16 AM »
I'll give the paragraph editting a bash when I get a bit more time & when the internet access here becomes a bit more reliable than it has been recently (offline for the last 5 days). I just hope it doesn't mess with the breaks, though, as the 1st 2 tries ended up with "exceeds the 50,000 character limit" warnings. Pity the Word doc format didn't carry over into the post.

I'm not 100% sure about the insignia, yet, but I'm working on it being based on the Royal Marines insignia (probably identical, except that the globe will have Australia showing, & the banner with Gibraltar will not exist until 1915, when it will be placed below the Royal lion bearing the name Gallipoli) and their colour patch will be a horizontally-striped rectangle of sky blue over ochre over dark(royal/navy?)-blue (signifying air/land/sea). Have to work on their motto, too, although, like the SAS, they may simply use the RM's motto Per Mare, Per Terram ("By Sea, By Land").


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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 07:42:56 AM »
Ok... Interested

Great historical round up as well.

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2013, 03:14:50 AM »

Further to your request re: insignia the RAM's, as an arm of the RAN, will use the White Ensign as their flag.

In my AltHist the RAN will adopt their own ensign in 1947, rather than 1967. Therefore, prior to March 1947 the RAM's will fly the RN White Ensign & from 1 March 1947 will fly the current RAN White Ensign.

Vehicle markings will follow a pattern similar to that of the Australian Army but, as I have no idea of the systems & how they work/worked, I can't give you more than that at this time.

If Brian (buzzbomb) or Brian (rickshaw) - or anyone else, for that matter - have anything they could share on Australian Army vehicle markings between 1914 & 2014 (well, 2013, anyway) I would really appreciate it.


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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2013, 11:58:18 AM »

If Brian (buzzbomb) or Brian (rickshaw) - or anyone else, for that matter - have anything they could share on Australian Army vehicle markings between 1914 & 2014 (well, 2013, anyway) I would really appreciate it.

Probably not to the detail you are after.
This book seems to be the reference on REMLR and similar sites "Formation Signs and Vehicle Markings of the Australian Army 1903-1983 by Stephen Taubert"
This Thread has some details

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2013, 07:00:20 PM »
Thanks, Brian! At this stage anything is better than nothing & it's certainly somewhere to start my search (When & if the bloody internet ever gets fixed up here! :icon_twisted: ).


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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2014, 05:09:50 PM »

Commonwealth Naval Forces 1901 to 1911

As the Boer War raged, the Commonwealth of Australia was founded on 1 January 1901. On 1 March, 27,353 personnel were transferred to the new Australian Army. However, the individual units continued to be administered under the various colonial Acts. On that same day the Commonwealth Naval Forces were formed by amalgamating the six separate colonial navies & marines units. The Commonwealth government, however, paid for the Royal Navy to continue providing blue water defence.

A growing number of people, among them Captain William Creswell, the director of the Commonwealth Naval Forces, demanded an autonomous Australian navy, financed & controlled by Australia. In 1907 Prime Minister Alfred Deakin & Creswell, while attending the Imperial Conference in London, sought the British Government's agreement to end the subsidy system & develop an Australian navy. The Admiralty rejected & resented the challenge, but suggested diplomatically that a small fleet of destroyers & submarines would be sufficient. Deakin was not impressed with the Admiralty response, & in 1908 invited the United States Great White Fleet to visit Australia. The visit prompted public enthusiasm for a modern navy & led to the order of two 700-ton River-class torpedo-boat destroyers, a purchase that angered the British. The surge in German naval construction in 1909 led the Admiralty to change their position on an Australian navy. The first Australian warship, the destroyer HMAS Parramatta, was launched at Govan in Scotland on Wednesday 9 February 1910. Sister ship HMAS Yarra was launched at Dumbarton in Scotland on Saturday 9 April 1910. Both ships were commissioned into the Royal Navy on 19 September 1910 & sailed for Australia, arriving at Port Phillip on 10 December 1910.

Meanwhile the Commonwealth Marines stagnated & shrank to barely 500 men, loosing many good officers, both commissioned & non-commissioned, & long-service enlisted men. During this period, however, Colonel Augustus Siefert was laying the groundwork for an expanded marines force, organising cooperation with the Australian Army to begin training new marines’ officers at the soon to be completed Royal Military College, Duntroon.

In 1911, two significant changes followed a report by Lord Kitchener: the Royal Military College, Duntroon was established and a system of universal national service began: boys aged 12 to 18 became cadets, & men aged 18–26 had to serve in the CMF, the Royal Australian Navy Reserve (RANR) or Royal Australian Marines Citizen Reserve (RAMCR).

During the Imperial Conference of 1911, it was decided that if there was war the ships of the RAN & the RAM’s would be transferred to British Admiralty control. Under the Naval Defence Act (1912) the power to make the transfer was conferred in the Governor General. The RAN would become the Australia Squadron of the Royal Navy with all ships & personnel under the direct control of the Admiralty, while the RAN remained responsible for the upkeep of the ships & training. On 10 July 1911, King George V fixed his signature to the approvals for the Commonwealth Naval Forces to be renamed the Royal Australian Navy & for the Commonwealth Marines to be renamed the Royal Australian Marines, & for RAN ships to carry the prefix "His Majesty's Australian Ship" (HMAS) while the marines regiment would become the 1st Royal Australian Marines Regiment, with subsequent regiments to be numbered sequentially. The manpower of the fleet stood at 400 officers & men plus 517 marines &, for the next two years, ships were built for the fledgling navy. For his work, Creswell's name lives on as the name of the naval base, HMAS Creswell, the site of the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay.

Royal Australian Marines 1911 to 1914

The creation of the Royal Australian Marines saw a marked improvement in the fortunes of marine forces in Australia. With large ships on order, & the decision of the RAN to follow the RN lead & include a detachment of marines aboard ships of light cruiser class & larger, recruitment boomed.

By Saturday, 4 October 1913 (when the first Fleet Review of the RAN took place, with the battle cruiser Australia, the cruisers HMAS Melbourne & HMAS Sydney, the protected cruiser Encounter, & the torpedo-boat destroyers Parramatta, Yarra & Warrego, entering Sydney Harbour), the Royal Australian Marines had grown to approximately 5,200 men in 1 infantry regiment, 1 artillery regiment (1st Royal Australian Marines Regiment of Artillery – RAMRA), 5 regional command companies (Qld, NSW, Vic/Tas, SA/NT & WA), a national command & administration battalion & a training battalion of administrative & training staff plus 6 companies of recruits (the command, administration & training battalions comprising the 1st Royal Australian Marines Regiment (1RAMR)).

Also, on 4 October 1913, responsibility for the protection of Australia & surrounding waters was transferred from the Australia Squadron of the Royal Navy to the RAN. The Navy was to operate under the authority of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board.

The Defence Act of 1903 brought all of the units of the Australian military under one piece of legislation; more significantly, it prevented the raising of standing infantry units & specified that militia forces could not be used in industrial disputes, & could not serve outside Australia. The vast majority of soldiers remained in militia units, now known as the Citizen Military Forces (CMF). However, this part of the legislation did not apply to the Royal Australian Marines, who were a sub-service of the Royal Australian Navy. With the ability to raise standing units of professional soldiers the Marines were in a position to be very selective in their recruiting & Siefert (now Brigadier General Commanding Royal Australian Marines) took advantage of this.

One of Siefert’s greatest strengths was his ability to project current developments in military technology & their applications into the future. Although unable to predict the Hell of trench warfare on the Western Front, he foresaw the havoc that machineguns & mobile artillery batteries would be able to wreak on his Marines landing forces. So, while many of the influx of recruits were former Marines returning to service, Siefert used this resurgence to put his plans into effect. Selecting only the best & fittest officers, NCO’s & other ranks applying to return he ran them all through stringent refresher training courses. Those who failed were rejected from the Marines, as were any new recruits who failed their training.

Siefert’s combat training of his regiments focussed on what would, today, be called “fire & movement” tactics, with small units supporting each other with covering fire as they moved forward separately. He, also, encouraged individual resourcefulness. “Auld Augie” was often on the training ranges, a tall, spare figure with a hand-rolled cigarette constantly hanging out of the side of his mouth, striding up & down through the units urging his officers & troops to solve every problem they encountered themselves. He seemed to know each of his marines individually, often referring them by name in the field.

Siefert’s standards were high & in less than a year after the first Fleet Review this would begin to pay off. His name lives on in the RAM’s with Siefert Barracks, the RAM’s Headquarters establishment, & the annual Augie Cup, awarded for Excellence in Combat Training.

On 3 August 1914, as the prospect of war with the German Empire loomed, the Australian Government sent the following message to the Admiralty.

    In the event of war Government prepared place vessels & marine infantry forces of Australian Navy under control British Admiralty when desired.

When the United Kingdom declared war on Germany the next day, the Australian government followed without hesitation. This was considered to be expected by the Australian public, because of the very large number of British-born citizens & first generation Anglo-Australians at the time. On 8 August, the Australian Government received a reply to its message of 3 August, requesting that the transfer be made immediately, if not already done. Two days later, on 10 August, the Governor General officially transferred control of the RAN & RAM’s to the Admiralty, which would retain control until 19 August 1919.

At the outbreak of war, the RAN stood at 3,800 personnel & consisted of sixteen ships, including the battle-cruiser Australia, the light cruisers Sydney & Melbourne, the destroyers Parramatta, Yarra, & Warrego, & the submarines AE1 & AE2. The light cruiser Brisbane & three destroyers were under construction, & a small fleet of auxiliary ships was also being maintained. As a consequence the Royal Australian Navy at the start of World War 1 was a small but formidable force, supported by the Royal Australian Marines, which now numbered over 7,000 officers & men, having increased by 1 infantry regiment.

Because existing militia forces were unable to serve overseas, an all-volunteer expeditionary force, the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was formed from 15 August 1914. The Australian government had pledged to supply 20,000 men, organised as one infantry division & one light horse brigade plus supporting units. The first commander of the AIF was General William Bridges, who also assumed direct command of the infantry division.

This restriction did not apply to the Marines. However, to facilitate the Australian government’s promise to, also, supply 10,000 marine infantry troops, Siefert effectively cloned his 3 combat regiments, thereby creating 4 marine infantry & 2 marine artillery regiments. He further cloned the new 3rd & 4th RAMR’s & both RAMRA’s, to finish with 6 infantry regiments & 4 artillery regiments. The 5th & 6th RAMR’s & 3rd RAMRA were to remain in Australia to assist with ongoing training & operations in the Pacific region.

Australian ships & marines first saw action in the Asian & Pacific theatre; assisting in the attack on German New Guinea by the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF), a joint unit which was comprised of 2,000 soldiers & marines detached from the 5th RAMR. Germany had colonised the north-eastern part of New Guinea & several nearby island groups in 1884, & the colony was currently used as a wireless radio base, Britain required the wireless installations to be destroyed because they were used by the German East Asia Squadron which threatened merchant shipping in the region. The objectives of the force were the German stations at Yap in the Caroline Islands, Nauru, & Rabaul in New Britain. On 30 August 1914, the AN&MEF left Sydney under the protection of Australia & Melbourne for Port Moresby, where the force met the Queensland contingent, aboard the transport TSS (later HMAHS) Kanowna. The force then sailed for German New Guinea on 7 September, leaving Kanowna behind when her stokers refused to work. Sydney & her escorting destroyers met the AN&MEF off the eastern tip of New Guinea. The AN&MEF landed near Rabaul on 11 September 1914 & after some fighting, during which, on 14 September, Encounter bombarded a ridge near Rabaul, while half a battalion advanced towards the town, the German garrison surrendered on 21 September. Meanwhile, Melbourne was detached to destroy the wireless station on Nauru & the transport Kiama carried a detachment of 127 Marines of the 5th RAMR & 288 soldiers, to occupy the island. The only major loss of the campaign was the disappearance of the submarine AE1 during a patrol off Rabaul on 14 September 1914. RAM’s served aboard the cruisers, as gunners, as well as in the ground forces.

Departing from Western Australia on 1 November 1914, the AIF was sent, initially, to British-controlled Egypt, to pre-empt any attack by the Ottoman Empire, & with a view to opening another front against the Central Powers. With them went almost 6,400 marines of the 2nd & 3rd RAMR’s & the 2nd RAMRA, followed soon after by another 7,200 men of the 4th & 7th RAMR’s, & the 1st & 4th RAMRA’s. The AIF had four infantry brigades with the first three making up the 1st Division. The 4th Brigade was joined with the sole New Zealand infantry brigade to form the New Zealand & Australian Division.

On 9 November 1914, the German light cruiser SMS Emden attacked the Allied radio & telegraph station at Direction Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The inhabitants of the island managed to transmit a distress signal, which was received by HMAS Sydney, only 50 miles (80 km) away. Sydney arrived within two hours, & was engaged by Emden. Sydney was the larger, faster & better armed of the two, & eventually overpowered Emden, with Captain Karl von Müller running the ship aground, on North Keeling Island at 11:15 am. At first, Emden refused to strike its colours & surrender; Sydney fired on the stationary Emden until it eventually struck its colours. The Battle of Cocos was the first naval battle in which the RAN & RAM participated.
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2014, 08:40:08 PM »

Love it!

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2014, 09:10:12 AM »

Royal Australian Navy 1915 to 1916

On 6 February 1915, the obsolescent light cruiser HMAS Pioneer joined the East African campaign. On 6 July, she engaged the German cruiser SMS Königsberg & German shore batteries, during the Battle of Rufiji Delta. Pioneer remained off East Africa & took part in many bombardments of German East Africa, including Dar-es-Salaam on 13 June 1916. Pioneer then returned to Australia, to be decommissioned in October 1916.

Ships of the Royal Australian Navy also assisted the Royal Navy in the blockade of the German High Seas Fleet. In February 1915, HMAS Australia joined the British Grand Fleet, & was made flagship of the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron. Australia was not involved in the Battle of Jutland; in April, the battlecruiser was damaged in a collision with sister ship HMS New Zealand, & she did not return to service until June.

During the Naval operations in the Dardanelles Campaign the Australian submarine AE2 became the first Allied warship to breach the Turkish defences of the Dardanelles. AE2 spent five days in the area, was unsuccessfully attacked several times, but was unable to find any large enemy troop transports. On 29 April 1915, she was damaged in an attack by the Turkish torpedo-boat Sultan Hisar in Artaki Bay & was scuttled by her crew. The wreck of AE2 remained undiscovered until June 1998.

Royal Australian Marines 1915 to 1916

Arriving in Egypt in late 1914, the 2nd & 3rd RAMR’s & the 2nd RAMRA began training with the AIF for operations in North Africa & the Middle East, it would not be long before these men were engaged in battle. Meanwhile, the 7,200 men of the 4th & 7th RAMR’s, & the 1st & 4th RAMRA’s were forwarded on directly to England to be incorporated into the RN’s land forces for operations in Europe but theirs would be a much longer & more difficult time before they saw combat.


The combined Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), commanded by British general William Birdwood, went into action when Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915 (now commemorated as Anzac Day). The Battle of Gallipoli would last for eight months of bloody stalemate. By the end of the Dardanelles campaign, Australian casualties were over 10,500 killed & 21,000 wounded or sick, including 1,264 & 2,784 marines respectively. The original AIF contingent had continued to grow with the arrival of the 2nd Division which was formed in Egypt & went to Gallipoli in August.

Generally unreported is that a platoon of E Company, 4th Battalion 3rd RAMR were the first Australian force to be landed at Gallipoli. This lightly equipped team, led by 2nd Lieutenant Jakob Siefert, Augustus Siefert’s youngest son, were to scout the landing beaches & snipe enemy machinegun posts during the main force landings. Unfortunately, their boat coxswains realised they were being swept north by unexpected currents as they made their way to shore but over-compensated & they were too far south of Gaba Tepe. They were engaged by a superior Turkish force, the 5th Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, & the survivors captured as they tried to make their way to the main force during the afternoon of 25 April. Of the 34 men landed only 7 survived the fight, Lt. Siefert was not amongst them.

The landing at Anzac Cove, also known as the Landing at Gaba Tepe, & to the Turks as the Ari Burnu Battle, was part of the amphibious invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula by the forces of the British Empire, which began the land phase of the Gallipoli (or Dardanelles) Campaign of the First World War.

At 01:00 on 25 April the British ships stopped at sea, & thirty-six rowing boats towed by twelve steamers embarked the first six companies, two each from the 9th, 10th & 11th Battalions AIF. At 02:00 a Turkish sentry reported seeing ships moving at sea, & at 02:30 the report was sent to 9th Division's headquarters. At 02:53 the ships headed towards the peninsula, continuing until 03:30 when the larger ships stopped. With 50 yards (50 m) to go, the rowing boats continued using only their oars. The Marines had expected to undertake this role & were especially trained for it, however the planners had split the 2 RAM regiments, with elements of each operating as part of the Australian Army contingent at the Gaba Tepe landings, with the rest being attached to the Royal Naval Division & landing with British forces to the south at Helles.

This dispersal of the Australian Marines makes very little sense unless it was related to the fact that the Royal Australian Marines had, from the beginning, been strangely popular with German Australians. At Gallipoli the RAM regiments still, despite their rapid growth, had 28% of their men who were no more than 2nd generation Australian-born Germans. A British general in Egypt had once asked Colonel William Johnstone, commander of the 2nd RAMR, on hearing a passing group of marines conversing in German, “Where do you recruit these chaps, Berlin?”, to which Johnstone, who had 3 German grandparents, casually replied “Nein, wir haben uns hauptsächlich rekrutieren aus Bayern und Sachsen.” In fact the RAM often joked that they spoke German more fluently than they spoke English. However, this led to a high level of distrust from the British general staff. Which caused even more problems for the RAM regiments transferred through to Britain.

Around 04:30 Turkish sentries opened fire on the boats, but the assault troops, mostly from the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), were already ashore at Beach Z, called Ari Burnu at the time, but later known as Anzac Cove. (It was formally renamed Anzac Cove by the Turkish government in 1985.) They were one mile (1.6 km) further north than intended, & instead of an open beach they were faced with steep cliffs & ridges up to around three hundred feet (91 m) in height. However, the mistake had put them ashore at a relatively undefended area; at Gaba Tepe further south where they had planned to land, there was a strong-point, with an artillery battery close by equipped with two 15 cm & two 12 cm guns, & the 5th Company, 27th Infantry Regiment was positioned to counter-attack any landing at that more southern point. The hills surrounding the cove where the ANZACs landed made the beach safe from direct fire Turkish artillery. Fifteen minutes after the landing, the Royal Navy began firing at targets in the hills.

In the darkness, the assault formations became mixed up, but the troops gradually made their way inland, under increasing opposition from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Not long after coming ashore the ANZAC plans were discarded, & the companies & battalions were thrown into battle piece-meal, & received mixed orders. Some advanced to their pre-designated objectives while others were diverted to other areas, then ordered to dig in along defensive ridge lines.

Although they failed to achieve their objectives, by nightfall the ANZACs had formed a beachhead, albeit much smaller than intended. In places they were clinging onto cliff faces with no organised defence system. Their precarious position convinced both divisional commanders to ask for an evacuation, but after taking advice from the Royal Navy about how practicable that would be, General Birdwood decided they would stay. The exact number of the day's casualties is not known. The ANZACs had landed two divisions but over two thousand of their men had been killed or wounded, together with at least a similar number of Turkish casualties.

The 1st & 4th Battalions of the 3rd RAMR were to be landed on the first day, with the 2nd & 3rd Battalions of the 2nd RAMR being landed over the next two days. During the confusion of the first day the battalions were landed all over the place & RAM units, rarely larger than company strength & usually of marines collected together from different companies & battalions, were scattered about the battlefield. Still, they moved forward with a tenacity that matched their AIF counterparts.

The 1st Battalion 2nd RAMR landed at “V” Beach, with the 3rd Battalion 3rd RAMR landing at “W” Beach. These units suffered similar casualty rates to the British regiments they were supporting.

On 30 April, the 4th Battalion 2nd RAMR & 2nd Battalions 3rd RAMR landed, as part of the Royal Naval Division under Major General Archibald Paris, & were put immediately to work defending against the major Turkish attack launched that same day.

From this time on the surviving Australian marines were used piece-meal, attached to various other Australian & British units, without any effective reinforcements for the units ashore. In this manner the RAM participated in almost every battle to take place during the campaign & suffered horrendous losses.

By the end of the campaign both regiments had been virtually wiped out. The muster parade on Lemnos for both regiments, held a week after the evacuation, numbered 872 officers & men, almost all of whom had been wounded & returned to battle at least once. A further 2,064 were in hospitals spread across the eastern Mediterranean and England, about two thirds of whom returned to their regiments over time. The rest were repatriated to Australia as unfit for further service.

The 2nd RAMRA was also used in the Gallipoli Campaign in small detachments attached to other units. Unlike the infantry regiments, however, their losses were relatively low.

The last RAM marines were taken off with the last AIF soldiers on the morning of 20 December, 1915. With them were the personal effects of Jakob Seifert, which had been found in a Turkish bunker.

Only two medals were awarded to Australian marines for actions during the campaign, despite numerous requests. Lance-Corporal Francis “Frank” O’Meara was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal & Captain Charles Löewe (spelled “Lowe” by the British press) was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Recently a segment recorded by ABC Television in the 1960’s for an ANZAC Day documentary, which included an interview with Frank O’Meara, edited out of the final production was unearthed in the ABC archives. During the interview O’Meara stated “(I) Almost refused the ruddy thing, felt I hadn’t earned it. The two fellas with me, Kurt Liebelt - he was my corporal - & Hans Meier, did more but they both had Jerry names – Hell, Hans was born in Germany - & were both killed. If it wasn’t for some of their mates & mine convincing me that I would be accepting for them as well, I wouldn’t have done it.”

This seems to sum up the attitude of many RAM survivors of WW1, especially Gallipoli, who believe that the high number of Germanic members of the unit led to discrimination by the British command.

This belief may be somewhat supported by what happened to 4th & 7th RAMR’s, & the 1st & 4th RAMRA’s in England.

To Be Continued ...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2014, 11:51:27 AM by Old Wombat »
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 09:14:43 AM »

Looking forward to the next installment

Offline M.A.D

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2015, 08:09:28 PM »
To Be Continued ...

Waiting.....waiting  :P


Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2015, 07:28:37 PM »
To Be Continued ...

Waiting.....waiting  :P


I've had a case of "writer's block" for a while now, so it could be some time before any progress is made - sorry! :icon_crap:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline M.A.D

  • Also likes a bit of arse...
  • Wrote a great story about a Christmas Air Battle
Re: Royal Australian Marines - A History
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2015, 06:46:27 AM »
Hah hah. Acknowledged and can relate mate  ;)
Happy to wait