Thursday, 8 August 2013
HISTORY OF THE ROYAL MARINES IN THE FALKLANDS
Marines (as they were known prior to 1802) first landed in the Falkland Islands in January 1765, as part of Captain Byron's surveying expedition. A subsequent expedition under Captain McBride, included 25 marines and landed at Port Egmont, Saunders Island in January 1766. The graves of those who died there are close to the ruins of the settlement.
In 1833 Great Britain a settlement on East Falkland at Port Louis , which until 1842 was administered by Naval Officers supported by detachments of Royal Marines. The settlement was moved in 1844 to its present site os Stanley and Royal Marines played their part in the development of the new Capital. In 1864 on orders from the Admiralty, a detachment of Royal Marines arrived to form a permanent land based garrison. When not engaged in military duties, the detachment carried out many projects for government, such as the construction of a new gaol, and "a good macadamized road running... over the hill at the back of town" (Villiers Street). The detachment remained until the establishment of a civilian police force in 1878.
Since the turn of the last century, Royal Marines served on board HM Ships of the South Atlantic squadron which regularly called at Stanley. Both the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914 and the Battle of the River Plate in 1939 brought renewed contact with the Royal Marines, especially through the detachment on HMS Exeter.
In post war years the Royal Marines presence continued, the ships of the Royal Navy on ice patrol duties have always had Royal Marines embarked (notably HMS Protector and HMS Endurance) and between 1964 and 1982 the Royal Marines maintained a continuous presence in the islands as members of Naval Party 8901. In 1976, the Honorary Freedom of Stanley was conferred upon the Royal Marines in appreciation of their close association with the Falkland Islands for more than two centuries.
The momentous events of 1982 merit particular recognition of the Royal Marines, who, as an integral part of Operation Corporate, played an Illustrious role in restoring freedom to the people of the Falkland Islands