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United Kingdom: Royal Marines

Last modified: 2016-06-29 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal navy | white ensign | royal marines | marines |
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[UK naval ensign] image by Martin Grieve, 10 July 2007


See also:


Corps of the Royal Marines

[Camp flag of Royal Marines headquarters] image by Eugene Ipavec, 4 April 2009

Badge modified from http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/37/images/113438640911154925445_1.jpg

I don't know if it is the general practice, but a boat operated on the River Congo by 40 Commando, Royal Marines, flew the White Ensign above the Corps of the Royal Marines flag. The latter is officially, I think, the Royal Marine badge superimposed on a horizontally striped flag. The stripes (from the top) are: dark blue 4 units, yellow 1 unit, green 1 unit, red 2 units, blue 4 units. This represents the pattern of the Royal Marine stable belt on a blue flag. Blue for the maritime connection, yellow for the original uniform colour, green for the light infantry and red for the uniform colour in 1876. In the photograph of the boat, the flag has been simplified by omitting the badge and making all the stripes the same width.
David Prothero
, 25 September 1999

This is the camp flag of Royal Marines headquarters, rather than the Royal Marines themselves. The Royal Marines do not have an ensign of their own and use the white ensign. Unlike the Royal Navy, they do have their own set of camp flags. 40 Commando's camp flag is unequal vertical stripes of light blue, dark blue, light blue. There are gold daggers on the light blue stripes and the Royal Navy badge on the dark blue stripe.
Graham Bartram
, 27 September 1999

Whilst Graham's website shows both the Royal Marine's Corps Flag and Headquarters Flag as being blue with three uneven horizontal bands of yellow over green over red with the Corps badge in its centre, my information (based, I think, on Bartram, 2004) suggests that the Corps Flag is without any such badge?
Christopher Southworth, 4 April 2009

On the one hand, the official RN site says (or implies) no badge: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/training-and-people/the-rn-today/ship's-badges-and-flags/. On the other hand, there's http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PageNbr=1&MemberId=4919368103&PhotoAlbumId=5915287041&PhotoId=5915291961 on a Royal Marine page on Bebo; meanwhile, elsewhere on an official RN site, there's a flag used for an unveiling ceremony at http://admin.royalnavy.mod.uk/upload/img/NN09_03_02_024.jpg and http://admin.royalnavy.mod.uk/tserver.php?f=LY06_114D_005.jpg&w=177&tran=1. So, I think I'm going with 'badge on' on the grounds of usage, if nothing else.
Ian Sumner, 4 April 2009


Unit flags

Each unit of the Corps of the Royal Marines has is own house flag and will fly this where they can. The Corps uses the Union flag when in Barracks, as a Commando in its home, on land base is working under the Army Act. This may change with the new amphibious force which is forming now jointly commanded by the Commandant General as the Military head and an Admiral as the amphibious head. The Corps uses the White Ensign on all her boats as they belong to the Navy, but as you say may fly a house flag alongside this. The Corps always uses a White Ensign on Naval Bases but may fly the Corps Colours (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow). You might also find that at Barracks like Lympestone, and Stonehouse the Corps might only use this flag in preference to either the Union flag or the White Ensign. 
Roger, Royal Marines, 26 December 2001

See also:

Just a note on the RMR flags on this web page (which stands for Royal Marines Reserves, as opposed to the full-time, professional units): they are obviously geographically based, with the London and the Scottish units using the London flag and the Scottish saltire respectively defaced with the badge of the Royal Marines. The other three units, Bristol, Mersey and Tyne, are vertical tribands with the RM badge on a red ground in the centre while the two outer bands have an element from the arms of the relevant city - the Liver bird for Mersey (Liverpool); the tower for Tyne (Newcastle upon Tyne) and the unicorns which are the supporters on the arms of Bristol.
André Coutanche, 14 November 2005

Note that these flags are unit "flags" and not "Colours". An example of a Royal Marines Regimental Colour can be seen at http://www.royalmarinesregimental.co.uk/histctrad05.htm.
T.F. Mills, 14 November 2005