Military Wiki
Royal Marines Division
Active 1940–1943
Country United Kingdom
Branch Royal Marines
Role Amphibious warfare
Robert Sturges

The Royal Marines Division was formed in August 1940 as the British Royal Marines expanded to meet operational demands during the Second World War.

The RM Division's primary role was to serve as an amphibious warfare formation. It was to be organized on the same lines as an Army division with 3 infantry brigades, an artillery brigade, an engineer battalion, a machine gun battalion, and a 'mobile' battalion equipped with motorcycles.[1][2]

Operational history

Men of the Royal Marines Division training in deep snow at Hawick, Scotland during March 1942

101 Brigade, supported by 2 battalions from 102 Brigade, went into action at Dakar, Senegal in July 1940 at part of Operation Menace, the unsuccessful attempt by the British and Free French to seize control of the Vichy French port in West Africa. 103 Brigade never reached full strength as its recruits were constantly drafted to provide personnel for the Royal Marines naval base defense forces. The division headquarters participated in the Allied planning for Operation Ironclad (the capture of Madagascar), but the RM division itself was not assigned to the operation as its infantry brigades were understrength and its divisional artillery had not formed. In 1943, the decision was taken to disband the division and reassign its personnel. Several of the infantry battalions were converted to Royal Marine Commandos and other divisional personnel were assigned as landing craft crews. The division headquarters under Major General Robert Sturges formed the new Headquarters Special Service Group (Commando).[3][4][5]


  • 101 Brigade
  • 102 Brigade
  • 103 Brigade
  • 104 (Training) Brigade - from 1942
  • 15 Machine Gun Battalion
  • 18 (Mobile) Battalion


  1. The Royal Marines 1939-93 Nick van der Bijl (Osprey)
  2. Tell It to the Marines Mike Bennighof (Avalanche Press)
  3. The Royal Marines 1939-93 Nick van der Bijl (Osprey)
  4. British Commandos 1940-46 Tim Moreman (Osprey)
  5. Tell It to the Marines Mike Bennighof (Avalanche Press)

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