1st Battalion, Royal Marines
The 1st battalion formed at Plymouth on 29 November 1810 under the command of Major Richard Williams. It consisted of six companies, plus an attached company of Royal Marine Artillery. It embarked, arriving in Lisbon on 8 December 1810.
The battalion grew to eight companies, plus the attached artillery company. It left Portugal in February 1812, and disembarked at Portsmouth. There it remained until 6 June 1812, when it embarked aboard HMS Diadem. The battalion arrived off the coast near Santona on 15 June, and was involved in the attack on the fort at Castro-Urdiales. The fort's garrison of two companies of infantry capitulated on 8 July, the French having evacuated the town the day before. On 10 July, the battalion re-embarked, intending to go to Portugalete, but returned to Castro shortly afterwards. The French, unawares that the marines had returned, launched an unsuccessful counter-attack against the fort's Bilbao gate. Major Williams was appointed commander of the fort on 30 July.
The Royal Navy attacked Santander from 30 July onwards, with the French evacuating the town on 3 August. The first six companies of the 1st battalion embarked for Santander to support the attack and arrived on 4 August. This force re-embarked on 10 July for an intended attack on Gitaya, its destination changing to Portugalete, where it arrived on 12 August. After the marines had destroyed a fort that the French had abandoned, the marines re-embarked and returned to Santander.
The force disembarked at Zumaia on 18 August, along with the 2nd battalion. The artillery companies of both battalions deployed opposite the rock of Getaria. Both battalions held the area until ordered to re-embark on 20 September.
During October, the 1st battalion was deployed before Santona, at Castello. The news that a French division was approaching to reinforce the 1,500 men garrison at Santona led to the recall of the battalion on 1 November. However, the recall was countermanded and the battalion resumed its positions; it returned to Santander on 14 December.
On 21 December the 1st battalion, which numbered 536 rank and file, and its artillery company sailed from Santander in HMS Fox, HMS Latona, and HMS Venerable, arriving at St Helens, Isle of Wight on 31 December. The right wing (aboard Fox and Venerable) received orders to proceed to Plymouth on 6 January 1813, where the battalion was to perform garrison duty at Plymouth and to prepare for imminent deployment to North America.
The 1st Battalion embarked (on the ships Diadem (1st to 5th companies) and Diomede (6th to 8th companies and artillery) on 30 March, set sail on 7 April, and arrived in Bermuda on 29 May 1813. There it and the infantry already present were formed into two brigades.
On 25 June, the 1st Battalion participated in the attack on Hampton, Virginia. On 13 July, the Marine Battalions were involved in the occupation of Ocracoake and Portsmouth, and engaged in the occupation of Kent Island on 7 August. Later in the year, the 1st Battalion went to Ile aux Noix, south of Montreal in Canada, while the 2nd Battalion went to Prescott, on the Saint Lawrence River.
A detachment of the 1st Battalion, under Lieutenants Caldwell and Barton, was present at the Battle of Lacolle Mills (1814). On 16 August 1814, the battalion received orders to be 'disposed for Naval service', with the greater part of the battalion to go to Lake Ontario and the remainder to go to Lake Champlain. In November 1814 the First Battalion was reconstituted in Quebec, and shipped south in support of operations off the coast of Georgia.
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