Henry Mordaunt's Marines

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> British Army >> Henry Mordaunt's Marines

Origin and History

The military soon realised the advantage of having troops trained to the use of arms on board of ships, as well as on land.

In November 1664, on the eve of the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67), King Charles II created a corps specifically for sea-service. This corps was commanded by the Duke of York (the future King James II), then Lord High Admiral of Great Britain, and was designated “The Admiral’s Maritime Regiment.” This was followed in June 1665 by the formation of The Holland Regiment, Both regiments were on the Navy Establishment, and served with the fleet during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In May 1667, both regiments were transferred to the establishment of the Guards and Garrisons. Detachments from the existing regiments of foot guards were detailed for sea service as well.

In 1672, at the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672-74), a number of regiments were raised for service with the fleet. Furthermore, battalions for sea-service were also formed by drafts from the land-forces. Several companies of the Foot Guards were employed on the Marine duty. On 7 June, these companies took part in the Battle of Solebay against the Dutch fleet. They were also engaged in several other actions during the war. Nevertheless, all these regiments, battalions and companies remained part of the land forces.

In 1689, King William III incorporated “the Admiral’s Regiment” (which was then considered the third regiment of infantry) in the 2nd Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards. In January 1690, two Marine regiments were added to the Navy Establishment for service on board the fleet.

In July 1698, a new establishment of the marine forces was ordered. There were four regiments in this new establishment: one was formed from the original two regiments raised in 1690, and three regiments were formed by the reassignment of three regiments of foot. In May 1699, these four regiments were all disbanded.

In February 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the British Parliament enabled Queen Anne to increase the efficiency of her navy, by forming a Corps of Marines, which could act at sea as well as on land. On 1 June, six regiments, including the present regiment, were accordingly added to the regular Army as a Marine Corps. Each of these regiments comprised twelve companies of 59 men each. In addition, six regular regiments of infantry were appointed for Sea-service. Colonel William Seymour was nominated to superintend the Marine forces and promoted to brigadier-general.

The present regiment was raised on 12 February 1702. It was known as the "Colonel Henry Mordaunt’s Regiment of Marines" and was ranked as 6th marines. It consisted of 40 officers and 793 other ranks, organised in twelve companies, more precisely:

  • staff
    • Colonel Henry Mordaunt
    • 1 lieutenant-colonel
    • 1 major
    • 1 surgeon
    • 1 surgeon’s mate
  • 12 companies, each of:
    • 1 captain
    • 1 first lieutenant
    • 1 second lieutenant
    • 2 sergeants (an additional sergeant for the grenadier company)
    • 3 corporals
    • 2 drummers
    • 59 private soldiers

On 25 April 1703, the unit was constituted as a regiment of foot.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • from 12 February 1702 to July 1713: Colonel Henry Mordaunt

The regiment was reduced in July and August 1713.

Service during the War

From May 1702 until the end of the war, the regiment served as garrison of the Channel Island. Jersey and Guernsey were each garrisoned by five companies, and two companies were on the Scilly Islands.

Uniform

There were still no regulation concerning uniforms and colonels were responsible for the clothing of their soldiers. Therefore, there were wide variations from one regiment to another.

Hairs were worn long in a “long bob”. They were sometimes tied at the back of the neck. The hair bag was also already in use.

Men as well as officers were clean-shaven. Officers sometimes wore small moustaches.

Privates

'Uniform Details' in 1707 as per Lawson
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white

For the uniform of 1702, Lawson and Cannon mention a high crowned leather cap covered with cloth of the facing colour and ornamented with devices, the same as the caps worn by the grenadiers

Grenadier cloth cap with a raised and stiffened front decorated with the embroidered crowned Royal cypher or the colonel's crest; and with an embroidered grenade at the back of the cap
Neck stock knotted white linen neck-cloth with ends hanging or tucked into the top of the coat
Coat scarlet frock-coat with lining of an unknown colour with pewter buttons along the full length of the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back

N.B.: the coats of grenadiers had white tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes down to the waist

For the uniform of 1702, Lawson mentions a red watermen’s coat

Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets placed low on the coat, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs unknown colour, each with 3 pewter buttons

N.B.: the cuffs of grenadiers had white tufted laced loops ornamenting the buttonholes

Turnbacks none
Waistcoat long red waistcoat with pewter buttons
Breeches white
Stockings during campaigns, a first pair of finer stockings was pulled up under the breeches at the knees while a coarser pair of white stockings was worn over them, pulled over the knees and fastened with a leather strap and buckle
Gaiters buff
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather strap with a brass buckle
Waist-belt buff waistbelt with a brass buckle worn above the coat
Cartridge Box black pouch carried in front, with bayonet belt attached

Grenadiers had a pouch on a shoulder belt to carry grenades

Bayonet Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Scabbard black leather with a brass tip
Footwear shoes fastened with a strap and buckle


Musketeers were armed with a musket without sling, a bayonet and a sword. Grenadiers were armed with a firelock with a sling, a hatchet, a bayonet and grenades.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms almost identical to those of privates with the following differences:

  • tricorne laced silver
  • silver braids on the seams of the coat

Sergeants initially carried a halberd and corporals a musket. Gradually, all NCOs were equipped with musket.

Officers

Officers wore beaver tricornes laced gold (probably reserved to superior officers) or silver (probably reserved to subaltern officers). They also wore the fashionable full flowing curled wigs. On service they usually plaited their wig.

A large gorget was worn around the neck tied with ribbons. The gorget was gilt for captains, black studded with gold for lieutenants and silver for ensigns.

Officers usually wore uniforms somewhat similar to those of privates (even though there were not yet any regulation compelling them to do so), made of finer material. Their coats were decorated with gold or silver braids down the seams and on the sleeves; and with gold or silver embroidered buttonholes. Cuffs were usually of the same colour as the coat instead of the distinctive colour of the regiment.

The waistcoats of officers were often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

A crimson sash (often interwoven with gold or silver and fringed similarly) was worn around the waist.

Breeches were tied with rosettes below the knee.

Officers wore gloves, often decorated with gold or silver fringes.

Officers carried a sword and a half pike or a spontoon.

The cartouche box of officers were often covered in velvet and decorated with gold or silver embroideries.

Musicians

Drummers and oboeists usually wore coat of the facing colour of the regiment, decorated with lace on the seams of sleeves and back and on the buttonholes. Their coat was decorated with the crowned King's cypher or the Colonel's crest embroidered on the breast and back. Sometimes their coat had hanging sleeves.

Colours

no information found

References

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. 1 From the beginning to 1760, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 55-56

Acknowledgement

Wienand Drenth for additional information on the lineage and history of the regiment