Royal Marines

RMHis Majesty’s Marines in Malta

The Marines were the first British troops to land on the Maltese Island to support the Maltese population against the French. The first landing was at Mellieha Bay, about the 25th September 1798, secured the beach, allowing enough arms and ammunition to be landed, and handed over to the Maltese. This small operation lasted about 3 days.

The Marines were in action again on the 27th October 1798, where they landed in Gozo, to request the surrender of the French Garrison, which was blockaded in the Citadel. The capitulation was in fact signed on the 28th and Captain J. Cresswell of the Marines, took possession and hoisted His Majesty’s colours on the island of Gozo.

The allied forces now turned their attention to the French Garrison, still blockaded in the fortifications around the harbours in Malta. The Marines were in action again, this time manning gun batteries, especially the one at Marsa, and doing guard duty. Around 400 Marines were on shore duty during most of the period. However, they were in action on sea as well. Apart from maintaining a close blockade of the entry to the harbour, the Royal Navy was in action against the French fleet. This resulted in the capture of the Guillaume Tell (80 gun), the Genereux (74 gun), both survivors of the Nile, and various other ships, which tried to run the blockade to relieve the besieged French.

The last duty done by the Marines following the French capitulation on the 5th September 1800 was to escort the French troops to the nearest friendly port. These were then ferried over to France. In the meanwhile, the Maltese Island were under the Protection of His Britanic Majesty till 1814, where they were formally acknowledged as part of His Majesty’s Sovereignty.