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United Kingdom: Royal Marines

Last modified: 2022-02-05 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
White Ensign of the Royal Navy

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Introduction: The Corps of the Royal Marines

The Royal Marines trace their origins back to 1664 and the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot. Throughout its history, the Royal Marines (RM) have seen action in a number of major wars often fighting beside the British Army including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I, World War II, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Bosnian War, the Kosovo War, the Sierra Leone Civil War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan to name a few. They provide the Royal Navy with a flexible amphibious rapid deployment light infantry force capable of dealing with a wide range of threats. They are organized into Commando Brigades that includes numerous Commando Raiding Groups and a Special Forces Support Group. They are considered one of the elite fighting force of the British Armed Forces.
Pete Loeser, 18 January 2022

The Royal Marines HQ Flag
Camp Flag/Corps Flag

[Camp flag of Royal Marines headquarters] image by Eugene Ipavec, 4 April 2009
Royal Marines HQ Camp Flag (1:2 ratio)

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

[Camp flag of Royal Marines headquarters] With Badge   [Camp flag of Royal Marines headquarters] Without Badge
Royal Marine HQ Camp Flags (3:5 ratio)
images located by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2022

I think I'm going with 'badge on' on the grounds of usage, if nothing else.
Ian Sumner, 4 April 2009

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 Royal Naval Ensign.
Graham Bartram, 27 September 1999

Marine Unit Headquarters Camp Flags

Royal Marines 40th Commando image provided by Pete Loeser, 23 January 2022
Royal Marines 40th Commando Flag

Unlike the Royal Navy, they do have their own set of camp flags. For Example, the 40th 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

See United Kingdom Marine Unit Flags for more examples.