October 2009

"The man who fights for his fellow-man is a better man than the one who fights for himself." - Clarence Seward Darrow

Again, greetings from a sunny and very dry Brisbane and a warm welcome to our refurbished and enlarged website.
After a time of my plodding along in a ‘caretaker’ role, Terry Aspinall has now taken over as the RMAQ Website Manager.  Not only does it leave me with more time to undertake other association endeavours, but also allows Terry to effectively use his vast experience and knowledge in the construction and maintenance of our tiny piece of the internet.  As can be seen there are many new features which allow an interactive mode for our members and visitors.  Thanks very much Terry.   Folks, please use the guestbook to allow us to see what reach and reaction we have around the globe.
It is good to see that 3 Commando Brigade is now home and enjoying a well deserved rest.  Unfortunately there are a few marines and soldiers who are no longer with us to enjoy the same.  I wish those that have taken over in those parts of Afghanistan have the least amount of casualties and God willing, as many return home safe and well.
There has been much discussion within the RMAQ, and I am sure within other RMAs, about the versatility of the Royal Marines through the years.  Although we have had many glorious years and campaigns involving RM in their commando role, let us not forget that there has been a greater amount of our corps history pre WWII when the commando role was subsequently handed to our corps.
I am referring to the days of Royal Marine Battalions, Ship’s Companies, RMLI, RMA, and other internal specializations acquired through necessity during years of conflict.  I believe that Sir Winston Churchill displayed the different roles our corps played throughout the Second World War and before, when he said in his famous speech:

“The long, rough and glorious history of the Royal Marines has shown that they have achieved much since the war began.  They will achieve more before it ends.  They are ready to assail the enemy at many points and are serving the fleet with whom their past, their present and their future is so intimately bound.
With their naval comrades-in-arms they are manning the guns of their ships in every sea.  They are ready to land and fight as soldiers when they hear the bugle sound their divisional call.   Their MNBDOs are standing by to build bases for the Royal Navy in any part of the world.   Their gunners are helping to defend the merchant navy, and in small craft, to give close protection to the assault of an invading army.  Their pilots are flying with the fleet.  The RM Commandos are waiting to strike again.
They are a formidable and versatile company of warriors, as highly trained, each in his own mode of warfare, as any of the world has ever seen, eager to fight the enemy whenever they may find him by sea, by land, by air.
‘Their record is second to none’ wrote Lord St. Vincent a century ago.   I have been with them on active service, on police service, in daily routine and in gales of wind.  I have had them with me everywhere, and I tell you there is nothing like the Royal Marines.”

In no way can we deny the excellent name the Royal Marine Commando has attained during the last 68 years, however, we must also not forget the thousands who went before during the previous 278 years.
On a different note, as an enthusiastic reader of UK newspapers via the internet, I was intrigued by a recent series of articles relating to the Royal Marines of 45 Commando RM, in Arbroath Scotland.
Numerous articles referred to their welcome return and the presentation of many awards after their tour of Afghanistan.  There was an obvious great amount of pride demonstrated by the inhabitants of the friendly and supportive town of Arbroath relating to ‘their’ Royal Marines.
However, at the same time there appeared an article about a disgruntled publican, complaining about the alleged bad behaviour of some marines at his establishment.  He was attempting to have them banned from his premises and was going to produce CCTV footage to support his case.
Perhaps things were different from when I was drafted to 45 Commando, Arbroath in 1971, where if any trouble ensued as described above, a telephone call from the publican to the CO soon had the problem remedied without sullying the name of the entire unit.
A few nights on shore patrol by the mates of the alleged wrongdoers, together with the local constabulary, soon put the message around to behave yourself.  It may have meant a short stay in DQs for some of the more argumentative lads, however, the situation was resolved, and in my opinion, was done so without a clumsy attempt to broadcast negative information around the town in an effort to perhaps drum up patronage by the locals.
On 28th October 1664 our corps was born, which the RMAQ will celebrate on Sunday 25th October 2009.  I am sure that as always, it will be an excellent affair with much hard work put in by our dedicated ‘behind the scenes’ people who do us proud at every function.  I am looking forward to raising a glass in a toast to the Royal Marines past and present.
Well, not much more to say, other than any former or serving ‘Royals’ out there who may be visiting our part of paradise, please give us a call and we will try to arrange a get together for a beer and a yarn or two!

Your’s Aye!

Alan (Buster) Brown
(RM 24864)

President RMAQ