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The Royal Marines on the Western Front (Hardback)

Military > Regimental History WWI > By Year > 1914 WWI > By Year > 1915 WWI > By Year > 1916 WWI > By Year > 1917 WWI > By Year > 1918

By Daniel McLean
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 144
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526763860
Published: 23rd February 2021



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From the mud of the Somme to the raid on Zeebrugge, the Royal Marines fought in almost every element of the Great War on the Western Front. Today they are known world-wide as an elite commando fighting force, but that has only been their role since 1940, a fraction of their period in existence. Until 1923 they existed as two corps – the Royal Marine Light Infantry and the Royal Marine Artillery – and both served with distinction along the western front in the great war. This book examines and explains the engagements in which they were involved, the equipment used and the organisation and training undertaken in hitherto unseen detail, drawing on a wide variety of sources to give an accurate picture of their contribution to the war in France and Belgium.

A must for anyone interested in World War One or the Royal Marines and their involvement in World War One.

Classic Military Vehicle February 2022

This book packs in a considerable amount of information covering all aspects of the RM participation on the Western Front. It would be especially useful to individuals wishing to conduct research or those who want a snapshot of this distinguished and costly part of RM history.

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The Naval Review

So how does “The Royal Marines on the Western Front” stack up, given that sources such as the men’s service rcords are all now readily available? It is perhaps best viewed as a summary, or an introduction, to the history, for at 132 pages it is clearly a much smaller work than Blumberg’s even when taking into account its focus onto a single theatre of war. Of this, a whole chapter is dedicated to Louis Stokes, a junior marine officer and a former boy of Rugby School whose letters form a valuable archive and whose story was covered in some depth in “A Dear and Noble Boy: The Life and Letters of Louis Stokes, 1897-1916” which was also published by Pen & Sword back in 1994.

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The Long, Long Trail

Well done, Daniel J McLean, you've put together a useful summary of service of the Royal Marines on the Western Front during the First World War, and you've backed it up with an index, endnotes and a bibliography. Read this alongside, "Tracing your Royal Marine Ancestors" also by Pen & Sword.

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Paul Nixon

A fabulous history of the Royal Marines during the Great War, covering various angles from their experience in Belgium 1914, France 1916, and then both countries across 1917 and 1918.  

Jon Sandison

I found this book very interesting and easy to read.

Cher Ami, Great War Sig Newsletter - IPMS, June 2021

The chapters on artillery and Zeebrugge are very useful and overall WWI readers will no doubt enjoy this book as I did.

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Beating Tsundoku

This book is an outstanding reference work on the history of the RMLI, the RMA and the miscellaneous RM units formed during the war. The author has done much research into these formations and the result of this research work is this interesting volume. It will certainly appeal to anyone interested in the history of the RM and I am confident that it will become a standard reference work on their WW1 history. The author should be congratulated on producing this wonderful tome.

Dr Stuart C Blank

What a really good book on everyday soldiering that captures the frustration, disillusion, teamwork, comradery and bravery. This book takes you from the beginning during the Great War on the Western Front such as the Spring Offensive and events like the raid on Zeebrugge. Certainly a book I’ve really enjoyed and would fully recommend.

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UK Historian

More from the sword: Forthcoming WWI related titles from Pen and Sword

Cher Ami from the International Plastic Modellers Society

This is a good introduction to the actions of the Marines on the Western Front. If it leads the reader to more in depth reading on the subject it will have succeeded.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Daniel McLean

Daniel McLean grew up in Kent before joining the Royal Navy as a Midshipman aged 18. After six years’ service he read Theology at Oriel College, Oxford before embarking upon a career in teaching. He spent eight years as Head of Department at Ardingly College and then Rugby School, where he also commanded the Combined Cadet Force, and is presently a Housemaster at Downside School in Somerset.

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