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1. Straight from ripping yarns. Captain AK Wilson at the battle of El Teb, February 1884, for which action he received the Victoria Cross. Painting by Harry Payne.
THE CAMPAIGNING NAVAL BRIGADE
· The Second Ashanti War 1873-74. In December 1873 Wolseley’s Naval Brigade consisted of 19 officers, 250 ratings and Royal Marines formed from HM Ships Active, Tamar, Argos, Encounter, Amethyst, Druid and Decoy. It included Liberian ‘Kroomen’ acting as porters.
· Zulu War 1879. The first Naval Brigade was landed form HMS Active in November 1878 and was attached to Colonel Pearson’s right-hand column (a second contingent from HMS Tenedos later). It consisted of nine officers, 121 seamen and 42 Royal Marines equipped with rifle and bayonet, two 12pdr Armstrongs, two 7pdr, two rocket tubes and a Gatling gun.
· The First Boer War 1880-1881. Raised in 1880 by Commodore Richards, the naval commander-in-chief of the Cape station; the Naval Brigade consisted of five officers, 124 ratings, two Gatling guns and three rocket tubes. It was reinforced in February 1881 by 60 men from HMS Dido and Boadicea.
· Egypt and the Sudan.
- Tel El Kebir 1882. During the campaign an armoured train, brainchild of Captain (later Admiral) Jackie Fisher RN, was built to carry a 40pdr, 9pdr and Gatling guns. It was crewed by 200 sailors and used for scouting and force protection.
- Siege of Khartoum 1884-1885. In 1884 a Naval Brigade of 150 seamen and 400 Royal Marines landed by HM Ships Hecla, Dryad, Briton, Carysfoot and Euryalus with six Gardner guns. This force was split into two Divisions. A Royal Marine company joined the Guard’s Camel Regiment. In 1885 a Naval Brigade was added to General Graham’s forces at Suakin from HMS Carysfort, Dolphin, Sphinx, Condor and Coquette.
· The Second Boer War 1899-1901.
- 1899. A Naval Brigade of nine officers, 53 ratings seven Royal Marine officers and 290 Royal marines with two naval 12pdr guns was formed at Simonstown in October 1899.
- In Ladysmith. A Naval Brigade of 17 officers and 267 ratings with two 4.7inch guns on transportable mountings, three 12pdr on improvised field mountings and a naval 12pdr under command of Capt Hon Hedworth Lambron RN was formed from HM Ships Doris, Monarch, Powerful and Terrible.
- Toward Kimberley. A Naval Brigade of 400 officers and ratings and four 12pdr guns commanded by Captain Prothero of HMS Doris and drawn from HM Ships Doris, Powerful and Monarch.
Source: The Victorian naval Brigades, Lt Cdr Arthur Bleby, Whittles Publishing, 2006. Despite its title this book is more of a general history of colonial campaigns with some highlighting of naval brigade operations as part of overall actions.
Jacklex Miniatures Colonial Nineteenth Century 20mm metal wargame figures.