Friday, February 27, 2009

Royal Marines to unveil monument and exercise their 'Freedom of the City of Gibraltar' tomorrow

The Royal Marines have a long history and association with Gibraltar.

In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession with France and Spain, a combined fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke, assisted by Field Marshal Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, captured Gibraltar. The force, comprising of 1,900 English (The Act of Union was not until 3 years later in 1707) and 400 Dutch marines prevented Spanish reinforcements reaching the fortress. Later, English ships bombarded the city while marines and seamen stormed the defences. The force later withstood nine months of siege.

Today the Royal Marines display only the battle honour 'Gibraltar' and their close relationship with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps continues. It is for this reason that the date of 24th July 1704 is one of the Corps’ ten most memorable dates.

In 1827, King George IV, faced with having to choose battle honours from an extensive list, decided that Royal Marines’ Colours would in future bear the symbol of the ‘Great Globe itself’ and that thereafter the only battle honour on Royal Marines’ Colours would be that of Gibraltar.

In 1996, the Corps was granted the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar. In 2006, the Gibraltar Heritage Trust suggested that a monument be erected to mark the long historical association between the Corps and the Rock.

Tomorrow, Saturday 28 February, it has been decided that the Royal Marines will exercise their Freedom of the City of Gibraltar and will unveil a monument which celebrates their long association with Gibraltar.


The Chief Minister Peter Caruana and Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Garry Robison, will unveil and dedicate a monument at Ocean Village.

Freedom of the City

The unveiling of the monument will be followed by a parade in Casemates. The Royal Marines will then exercise their 'Freedom of of the City of Gibraltar' by marching through the city.

These events will involve 78 Marines from 40 Cdo RM, plus the Band of Royal Marines Scotland and members of the Royal Marines Association.

Band Concert

The weekend will end with a concert in St Michael’s Cave by the Band of Royal Marines Scotland on Sunday evening.

Tickets for the concert are available from the Gibraltar Bookshop, Sacarello’s Coffee Shop and from the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Recruiting Office and Casemates.

Timings for Sat 28 Feb

1050 hrs: Parade leaves Waterport Coach Park
1100 hrs: Parade forms up at Ocean Village
1115 hrs: Unveiling and Dedication Service
About 1145 hrs: CGRM inspects parade in Casemates Square
About 1200 hrs Parade steps off to march up Main St, paying its compliments to the Mayor outside Parliament House
About 1230 hrs: Parade ends at the Convent

All I can add is... I wish I was there!

I shall try and do an update on these celebrations, including some pics, as soon as possible, following the events. Let's hope for a nice sunny day and no Levanter!

Update: This post has been updated to include images and a video. You can see the updated post of the weekend's commemorative events here.