Sailing Navies 1650-1850

Chatham Marines' distinctions
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Author:  Sharpiefan [ Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Chatham Marines' distinctions

In the Osprey book Nelson's Navy, there is a brief reference to Marines from the Chatham Division wearing black plumes in their hats, instead of the more usual white-over-red. And in Under Enemy Colours, author Sean Thomas Russell refers to Chatham Marines wearing some sort of badge on their sleeve.

(Interestingly the black plume shows up on screen in the TV drama Mary Bryant, as shown here.)

Can anyone help me substantiate these references or find out more?

Author:  Sharpiefan [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:06 pm ]
Post subject: 

(Double-post - sorry if it's not allowed)

It's from Barbary Coast by Peter Smalley.

P108: <i>By Order, to be given into the Hand of Capt Wm. RENNIE RN, at GIBRALTAR</i>
You Capt Rennie of HM Expedient frigate are to take into your Ship at the above Station Sgt Gosbart Host of the Royal Marines and a party of Forty (40) marines that was sent to Gibraltar by transport ship, from Chatham, to await yr arrival.

These marines are to aid you in your present hazardous commission, other Details of which shall be conveyed to you at the time of your receipt of this Document, by Word of Mouth.

And on p184-185:

"Wait - there is something else."

"Eh?" Turning back.

"I have overheard something." Looking very serious, again lowering his voice. "Something that concerns the future safety of the ship. I do not like to carry tales, to be a common informer, but I think that this may be very important. That is why I wish to talk privately..."

"What did you hear?" Taking his arm, and bringing him to the corner of the rail. "Do not hesitate, Alan. In view of all that has happened, it is your plain duty to speak up."

"Nay, I must keep my voice down." A near whisper. "I heard some of the Marines - the Chatham marines, that are not properly part of the ship's complement - I heard some of them say that when the time came they was intent on going into the boats, escaping to Curlew, and running away in her."

"Did you hear them say when that time might be?"

"No, I did not. The gist of their conversation, the * that I heard, was that they had not took the shilling to be disembowelled by infidel savages, nor to be pressed into slavery. They was not cowards, one of them said, but this was not a fate they would suffer willingly - to be made slaves -, in a further attack by more determined corsairs."

"When did you hear this?" Gripping Dobie's elbow, bending closer to listen.

"Last night. I was making my way to the heads, and heard it through a grating in the waist."

"You are certain it was marines?"

"Aye, I could see the red sleeve of a coat, with the little badge particular to the Chatham marines, the little insignia sewed there."

"Yes, I have seen the device - You heard nothing more?"

"No, nothing. - I was right to tell you?"

"Indeed you was, Alan, and thank you. I will inform the captain as soon as he returns. Until then, say nothing of this to anyone else."

From Barbary Coast by Peter Smalley, published by Arrow Books, 2007 (excerpts from the paperback edition of 2008), ISBN: 978-0-099-47427-2

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