RAMC

Regiments of the Malta Garrison
The Royal Marines

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The Royal Marines

Introduction

A Regiment of Marines consisting of 1,200 land soldiers was raised on 28 October 1664 as the Lord Admiral's Maritime Regiment, to be distributed into HM Fleets prepared for sea service. It ranked as the 3rd Foot and was drafted into the Coldstream Guards. Several Maritime Regiments were raised and disbanded over the years, but between 1755 and 1802, fifty Marine companies were permanently established, and in 1802 became known as the Royal Marines.

In 1855, His Majesty's Marine Forces were renamed Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI) and the name was slightly altered to Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1862. It fought as part of the Royal Naval Brigades during the Great War.

The Royal Marines in Malta were part of 3 Commando Bde whose HQ was at St George's Barracks, St George's Bay. In 1947, three Commando Units, 40, 42, and 45 Commando RM, moved from Singapore and Hong Kong to Malta, to form part of Britain's Strategic Reserve in the Near and Middle East. At Malta the Bde practiced its amphibious skills. During the Second World War, the Marines manned the Bofors Anti-Aircraft guns at Fort St Angelo (HMS Egmont).

On 29 November 1952 The Duke of Edinburgh presented 40 Commando RM, 42 Commando RM, and 45 Commando RM, the units of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, with their own Colours in recognition of their service during the war.

In May 1953, the Brigade was ordered to the Suez Canal Zone. When the Anglo-Egyptian Suez agreement was signed in August 1954, the brigade was ordered back to Malta. In autumn 1954 it was decided to send 42 Cdo RM back to England to reduce the ratio of overseas to Home Service in the Royal Marines as a whole. The other two commandos trained in North Africa and in the Mediterranean based on Malta

On 4 July 1958, a memorial chapel to those killed on deployment was erected at St Paul's Cathedral Valletta. The final task called of the Royal Marines was the covering of the withdrawal of the British Forces from Malta between 1977 to 1979.

The Royal Marine Light Infantry

1917 — RMLI

1 Apr 1917 Baptism at Ghajn Tuffieha Convalescent Camp of Arthur Cyril Fletcher born on 4 March 1917, son of QMS Arthur Frederick Fletcher RMLI and Ethel Mary resident at Ghajn Tuffieha.

1920 — RMLI

24 Oct 1920 Baptism in the Barracca Church Valletta of Edith Grace Walker born on 11 September 1920, daughter of Printer Cpl Alfred George Walker RMLI and Edith May, resident at No 251, Strada Due Porte, Senglea.

40 Commando Royal Marines

Feb 1942 40 Commando RM was formed at Deal with A, B and X companies. It was briefly known as A Royal Marine Commando (12-18 Oct 1942) before being designated 40 Royal Marine Commando. In August 1945 it was renamed 40 RM Cdo (Light) until its disbandment.

1940–1942 — 40 Commando Royal Marines

Aug–Sep 1944 In 1940, a detachment of Royal Marines, under the command of Maj Franklin F. Clark was stationed at HMS St Angelo. It initially manned Lewis gun positions at the fort, the Dockyard power station and at Corradino Heights, but in January 1941 the detachment received Bofor AA guns. The Royal Marines with their two Bofor LAA guns formed an independent battery which saw active service up to 10 May 1942.1

1947 40 Commando Royal Marines

June 1947 Arrived from Hong Kong.
Location: Mtarfa Barracks

1948 40 Commando Royal Marines

23 Jan–May 1948 On 23 January 1948, 40 Cdo were posted to Haifa during the Arab-Israeli War. It was soon followed by the two other commandos in the brigade.

June Returned to Malta from Haifa.

20 Sep Moved from Malta to Cyprus with 3 Bde RM.

1949 40 Commando Royal Marines

21 July 1949 3 Cdo Bde sailed for Hong Kong.

1950 40 Commando Royal Marines

1950 Temporary absent in Hong Kong.

1952 40 Commando Royal Marines

May 1952 In May 1952, the Commando Bde left Malaya for Malta. They had served in Malaya for two years.

1 July Arrived from Malaya. Occupied St Patrick's Barracks.

29 Nov Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presented Colours to 40, 42 and 45 Commandos on parade at Malta. There were 1,168 men and 67 officers on parade.

1953 40 Commando Royal Marines

Feb 1953–Oct 1954 In Egypt - Canal Zone. Guarded installations and on desert exercises.

1954 40 Commando Royal Marines

Feb 1953–Oct 1954 In Egypt - Canal Zone. Based on Malta but deployed to Cyprus 1955 to 1958 during EOKA guerrillas.

1955 40 Commando Royal Marines

Sept 1955–Aug 1956 Based on Malta but deployed to Cyprus 1955 to 1958 during EOKA guerrillas.

1956 40 Commando Royal Marines

6-14 Nov 1956 In Suez at Port Said. On 26 July 1956, President Nasser of Egypt seized the British and French owned Suez Canal. The Chief of the Defence Staff was ordered to prepare a military expedition against Egypt. The amphibious assault was launched from Malta. After the military operation, Brigade HQ Royal Marine Commando with 40 Cdo RM and 45 Cdo RM were withdrawn to Malta from Suez. They were based on Malta but departed on regular exercises in Cyprus till 1958.

1957 40 Commando Royal Marines

Feb 1957–July 1958 Based on Malta but deployed to Limassol Cyprus 1955 to 1958 during EOKA guerrillas.

1958 40 Commando Royal Marines

Feb 1957–July 1958 Based on Malta but deployed to Cyprus 1955 to 1958 during EOKA guerrillas.

1959 40 Commando Royal Marines

Jan 1959–Mar 1959: In Cyprus. Returned to Malta where the whole brigade was assembling including 42 Cdo sent out from England was assembling.

1960 40 Commando Royal Marines

1961 40 Commando Royal Marines

1962 40 Commando Royal Marines

May 1962 Left for Singapore.

41 Commando Royal Marines

41 Commando RM was formed at Pembroke Dock on 10 October 1942. It was briefly known as B Royal Marine Commando (12-18 Oct 1942) before being designated 41 Royal Marine Commando. It was disbanded in February 1952 but reformed on 31 March 1960 as 41 Commando Royal Marines (Cdo RM). It was assigned to UK Strategic Reserve.

1971 41 Commando Royal Marines

Mr Dom Mintoff became Prime Minister of Malta in the June 1971 elections. On 17 June he informed the British Government that he no longer accepted the ten year 1964 Defence and Financial agreement.

In July 1971, at the request of the Government of Malta the British Government suspended the planned change over between 41 Commando Group and the 1st/Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, pending discussions between the two governments.

An advance party of 91 marines and 120 wives and children had arrived at the end of June. They were to be followed by the main body of 900 men on HMS Bulwark in mid July.

An agreement was reached whereby Malta was to receive from the UK £5.25 million a year in rent, and £4.25 million from NATO. However, in December 1971, Mintoff increased his demand for an extra £9.5 million, together with restrictions on the use of the base by other NATO powers and set a dead line of 31 December 1971 for the withdrawal of British Troops. On 29 December 1971, Britain responded to Mintoff's ultimatum by announcing the withdrawal of 3,500 troops and 7,000 dependants from Malta. The deadline was extended until 15 January 1972 to allow for an orderly withdrawal.

1972 41 Commando Royal Marines

3 Sept-20 Oct 1972 Based on Malta. Visited the USA in Bulwark between May and June 1971 for exercise Rum Punch with the United States Marine Corps. They returned to Malta on 6 July until their temporary disbandment.

1973 41 Commando Royal Marines

Returned to Malta and took over at St Andrew's Barracks. 41 Cdo RM returned to England in 1977, after trooping the Regimental Colour.

1974 41 Commando Royal Marines

20 July 1974 Following the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, 41 Cdo RM embarked in HMS Albion to evacuate British civilians from Kyrenia. They returned to Malta by mid September.

Oct–May 1975 With UN Force in Cyprus.

1975 41 Commando Royal Marines

Oct 1974–May 1975 With UN Force in Cyprus.

1976 41 Commando Royal Marines

1977 41 Commando Royal Marines

The British Defence Review 1974-75 called for the reduction of the Royal Marines from 7,770 men to 6,865 marines. This diminution was to be achieved by the disbandment of 41 Cdo RM of 4 Cdo Gp. Troops of 41 Cdo were to return to England in April 1977, leaving behind a reinforced company of about 200 men who were to remain in Malta until March 1979.

16 Mar 1977 Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, took the salute as 41 Commando RM trooped the Regimental Colour at St Andrew's Barracks. The ceremony marked the beginning of the withdrawal of British Forces from Malta.

18 Apr Main body returned to England leaving 41 (Salerno) Commando Company Group, which relocated to RAF Luqa.

June 1977 No 41 Cdo RM which had returned to England for disbandment was reprieved. The Government decided to use it in the infantry role in Northern Ireland. This reduced the need to withdraw troops from BAOR to cover the province.

1978 41 (Salerno) Commando Coy Gp

1978 41 (Salerno) Commando Company Group at RAF Luqa.

1979 41 (Salerno) Commando Coy Gp

30 Mar 1979 Salerno Company marched from its Lines at RAF Luqa to board the Landing Ship Logistics (LSL) Sir Lancelot which was berthed alongside HMS St Angelo. The last of the Royal Marines left Malta on 30 March 1979, ending 180 years of the British military presence on the island.

42 Commando Royal Marines

42 Commando RM was formed at Sway (Nr Lymington) in August 1943. It was redesignated 42 Royal Marine Commando (Light) in August 1945 and 42 Cdo RM in early 1946.

1947 42 Commando Royal Marines

July 1947 Arrived from Hong Kong.

1948 42 Commando Royal Marines

9 Feb 1948 Left for training exercises in North Africa.

May–27 June 1948 In Palestine. At Jerusalem, then Haifa before it was evacuated on 27 June. While based on Malta the Commandos carried out exercises in Tripoli and internal security duties in the Canal Zone.

1949 42 Commando Royal Marines

21 July 1949 Sailed for Hong Kong.

1952 42 Commando Royal Marines

June 1952 Arrived from Malaya.
Occupied St Andrew's Barracks Pembroke.
22 July 1952: Inspected at St Andrew's Barracks by the General Officer Commanding, Malta Garrison.

29 Nov 1952 Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presented Colours to 40, 42 and 45 Commandos on parade at Malta. There were 1,168 men and 67 officers on parade.

1953 42 Commando Royal Marines

June 1953 Returned to Malta.

May 1953–Sept 1954 With the Bde in Egypt - Canal Zone.

1954 42 Commando Royal Marines

Oct 1954 Returned from Egypt via Malta to Bickleigh to staff the commando school in England.

45 Commando Royal Marines

45 Commando RM was formed at Burley Hampshire during the first week of August 1943. After the second world war the commandos were reorganised and redesignated in England as 45 Cdo RM in Hong Kong in March 1946.

1947 45 Commando Royal Marines

June 1947 Arrived from Hong Kong. Moved to a tented camp at Ghadira Bay Mellieha.

17 Nov 1947 Moved to St Patrick's Barracks and Fort Pembroke. 45 Cdo RM was based on Malta between May 1947 and December 1948. It deployed to Benghazi Libya in March 1948 and to Haifa in Spring 1948.

1948 45 Commando Royal Marines

Jan 1948 With No 40 Cdo and No 42 Cdo away from Malta, the duties of the Garrison trops devolved on No 45 Cdo RM and RA and RMA units.

24 Apr–30 Apr 1948 In Libya.

30 Apr–12 May Palestine.

12 May–8 June In Libya. Returned to Malta from Benghazi in June.

July–Aug Moved from Malta to Tripoli in two parties on 31 July and 2 August 1948.

20 Sep Returned to Malta from Tripoli.

Dec 1948 Left for Egypt.

1949 45 Commando Royal Marines

21 July 1949: 3 Cdo Bde left for Hong Kong.

45 Commando Royal Marines

June 1950 45 Commando RM arrived in Malaya from Hong Kong.

1952 45 Commando Royal Marines

31 Mar 1952 Arrived from Malaya.
Occupied St Andrew's Barracks.

29 Nov Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presented Colours to 40, 42 and 45 Commandos on parade at Malta. There were 1,168 men and 67 officers on parade.

Although based on Malta 45 Cdo RM carried out training and deployed away from the island from intermittently.

1953 45 Commando Royal Marines

May 1953–Aug 1954 In Egypt - Canal Zone.

23 Aug 1953 Mark Ormond Haydock son of Marie Louise Isabel and Capt Thomas Arthur Haydock RM of Paceville, born on 30 Apr 1953, was baptised at St Oswald's Church Mtarfa.

1954 45 Commando Royal Marines

May 1953–Aug 1954 In Egypt - Canal Zone. Returned to Malta August 1954 but left for exercises in North Africa.

1955 45 Commando Royal Marines

Sept 1955–16 Aug 1956 Deployed to Kyrenia Cyprus in September.

1956 45 Commando Royal Marines

Jan–16 Aug 1956 Returned from Cyprus on 16 August 1956.

26 July President Nasser of Egypt seized the British and French owned Suez Canal. The Chief of the Defence Staff was ordered to prepare a military expedition against Egypt. The amphibious assault was launched from Malta. After the military operation, Brigade HQ Royal Marine Commando with 40 Cdo RM and 45 Cdo RM were withdrawn to Malta from Suez.

6 Nov Deployed to Port Said but were withdrawn to Malta after the military operation. They deployed to Tripoli for training.

12 Dec 1956 Carol Mary Legge daughter of Patricia and CK (S) William Legge RM of St Anthony Flats, Gunlayer Street Vittoriosa, born on 17 Oct 1956, was baptised at St Oswald's Church Mtarfa.

1957 45 Commando Royal Marines

Jan 1957 Occupied Mtarfa Barracks which was renamed St David's.

May–Sept 1957 In Cyprus. Returned to Malta in Oct 1957, but X and Z troops formed the heliforce in Cyprus during June 1958.

1958 45 Commando Royal Marines

July–Dec 1958 Training in Benghazi before returning to Cyprus from July to December.

1959 45 Commando Royal Marines

1959 Training in Malta.

1960 45 Commando Royal Marines

4 Apr 1960 The commando main body sailed from Malta and arrived in Aden on 4 April 1960.

Bibliography