“Last Call” (1965) with HMS Bulwark and the Far East Fleet on Exercise Dark Night

Feature length documentary (61 minutes) demonstrating a Royal Navy and Royal Marines exercise in the Far East. Filmed during 1964/65 and based on Exercise ‘Dark Night.’

With 40 Commando, 42 Commando, and 845 NAS aboard the commando carrier HMS Bulwark (R08). The “Rusty B” was deployed East of Suez with the Royal Navy’s Far East Fleet throughout the 1960s and served during the Konfrontasi with Indonesia.

Also features strike carriers HMS Victorious (R38), HMS Eagle (R05), and the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (R21). Aircraft include the De Havilland Sea Vixen and the Blackburn Buccaneer.

Also the (new for 1964/5) County-class guided missile destroyers HMS Kent (D12) and HMS London (D16). Additional escorts include Battle-class destroyers HMS Barrosa (D68) and HMS Corruna (D97), C-class destroyer HMS Caesar (D07), Type 61 aircraft direction frigate HMS Lincoln (F99), Australian destroyer escort HMAS Derwent (DE49), New Zealand frigate HMNZS Otago (F111), and Type 15 frigate HMS Zest (F102).

Ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary include the replenishment oilers RFA Tidepool (A76), RFA Tidesurge (A98), and RFA Bayleaf (A79).

Sgt. Norman Finch, V.C.

Sergeant Norman Finch, Royal Marine Artillery, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his action during the Zeebrugge Raid of 23 April, 1918. The citation in The London Gazette for 23 July 1918 reads:

Sergeant Norman Augustus Finch, R.M.A., No. R.M.A./12150.
For most conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant Finch was second in command of the pompoms and Lewis guns in the foretop of Vindictive, under Lieutenant Charles N. B. Rigby, R.M.A. At one period the Vindictive was being hit every few seconds, chiefly in the upper works, from which splinters caused many casualties. It was difficult to locate the guns which were doing the most damage, but Lieutenant Rigby, Sergeant Finch and the Marines in the foretop, kept up a continuous fire with pompoms and Lewis guns, changing rapidly from one target to another, and thus keeping the enemy’s fire down to some considerable extent. Unfortunately two heavy shells made direct hits on the foretop, which was completely exposed to enemy concentration of fire. All in the top were killed or disabled except Sergeant Finch, who was, however, severely wounded; nevertheless he showed consummate bravery, remaining in his battered and exposed position. He once more got a Lewis gun into action, and kept up a continuous fire, harassing the enemy on the mole, until the foretop received another direct hit, the remainder of the armament being then completely put out of action. Before the top was destroyed Sergeant Finch had done invaluable work, and by his bravery undoubtedly saved many lives. This very gallant sergeant of the Royal Marine Artillery was selected by the 4th Battalion of Royal Marines, who were mostly Royal Marine Light Infantry, to receive the Victoria Cross under Rule 13 of the Royal Warrant dated 29th January, 1856.

Finch retired from the Royal Marines as a Quartermaster Sergeant in 1929. During the Second World War, he rejoined at age 49 and served as a Storekeeper Officer (Lieutenant) until 1945.His Victoria Cross is on display at the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney Barracks, Southsea.

Sergeant Norman Finch, VC with the Lewis gun he fired from Vindictive’s foretop.

Royal Navy Films (YouTube channel)

Please visit the Royal Navy Films YouTube channel. It is a collection of Royal Navy instructional films, documentaries, recruitment ads, and miscellaneous bits & pieces.

Here is a sample: Action Navy (1975), Launch & Recover (1960), and Sam Pepys Joins the Navy (1941). There are more at the YouTube channel.

3 videos of Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon in action (2013)

OTDIH 18 Oct 1775 A Royal Navy squadron under Captain Henry Mowat burned Portland, Maine

A Royal Navy squadron under Captain Henry Mowat burned Falmouth, Massachusetts (site of the modern city of Portland, Maine) on 18 October 1775.

Royal Marines Museum will move to Portsmouth Historic Docyard by 2017

I have happy memories of the Royal Marines Museum at Eastney as a kid back in the Dark Ages (1970s). The diorama of the attack on the mole at Zeebrugge… the diorama of the attack on Suez… I dearly wanted to take those home with me. Yet while there’s a part of me that bemoans the move from the historic Eastney location, there’s also a part of me (the pragmatic adult part) that acknowledges that the survival of the museum as an institution depends on getting visitors through the door. Moving to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard makes sense. We might not want it to make sense, but it does.

THE ROYAL Marines Museum will move to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard by the end of 2017, it has been revealed.

Administrators are planning to switch the museum from the former Eastney Barracks to boost visitor numbers and income.

The Band of HM Royal Marines at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney.

The museum has been at the historic site since 1958 and was a barracks for Royal Marines dating back to 1867.

It is hoped that the move to the dockyard will quadruple visitor numbers.

But the future of the Grade II listed building currently used by the museum at Eastney has been left in doubt.

Museum director, Robert Bruce, defended the plan and said: ‘The story of the Royal Marines is at the heart of the naval story, which is told at the dockyards.

‘That’s the right place for the whole story to be linked up together.’

The museum averages 29,000 visitors a year, a figure administrators hope would quadruple by moving.

Mr Bruce said he hoped the move would also include the Yomper statue – a marine on a long-distance march – which stands at the museum’s entrance on Eastney Esplanade.

Mr Bruce added: ‘I know the Yomper is an emotive subject.

‘But it’s important to point out that the Yomper was funded and is owned by the Royal Marines Museum and it is our iconic figure and it features on all our material.’

Mr Bruce said the move would cost ‘millions’ which would come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the museum’s own resources and further fundraising efforts.

He added that moving the museum would allow its collection to be displayed using modern technology.

‘You only have to look at the Mary Rose Museum to see what can be done with museums now. We could be ploughing a similar furrow,’ said Mr Bruce.

Only about 10 per cent of the museum’s collection is currently on display.

East Southsea Neighbourhood Forum vice-chairman, Leon Reis, said the move would be good for Portsmouth, but a shame for the seafront.

Royal Marines Association member Frank Lycett said: ‘It’s an obvious move when you consider everything is down there (the dockyard) as far as tourism is concerned.

‘If it were down there it would get more visitors and therefore more income.

‘Even if it was a reduced income per person, it would be to our benefit.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he did not want the Yomper statue to move.

‘It is such a beautiful sculpture and an iconic part the Eastney seafront,’ he said.

Mr Bruce said it was too early to say what the current museum site in Eastney could be used for in the future.

Capt John Rees, chief of staff of the National Museum of the Royal Navy at the dockyard, said: ‘The relocation of the Royal Marine Museum to the Historic Dockyard has been raised, but this would be subject to suitable premises being found and the generation of adequate funding.’


PHOTEX: Sea Kings in Helmand

Two Royal Navy Sea Kings at Forward Operating Base Sangin in Afghanistan. Photographer: LA(PHOT) Nick Tyron.