Book: The World Crisis, Vol. 1: 1911 1914

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First Sea Lord.

Second Sea Lord.

In order to make the best possible use of the surplus naval reservists of different classes, it is proposed to constitute permanent cadres of one marine and two naval brigades. The marine brigade has already been partially formed in four battalions, aggregating 1,880 active service men. To this will be added an approximately equal number of reservists, making the total strength of the brigade 3,900, organized in four battalions of four double companies of approximately 250 men. The two naval brigades will also consist of four battalions, each, if possible, of 880 men, organized in sixteen double companies of 220. The composition of each battalion should be as follows:—

R.N.V.R. 375
R.F.R. (picked, under 30 years of age) 313
R.N.R. 190

The total numbers required for the two naval brigades would therefore be:—

R.N.V.R. 3,000
R.F.R. 2,500
R.N.R. 1,500

The marine brigade will be commanded by a Colonel, and each battalion by a Lieutenant-Colonel; each company by a Major and a Captain. The means of remedying the shortage of junior officers will be dealt with separately. About fifty new subalterns, R.M., must be entered either permanently or on a three years’, or till the war stops, engagement.

Each naval brigade will be commanded by a Captain, R.N.; five of the battalions by a Commander or naval officer promoted to that rank, and three by R.N.V.R. Commanders; each company will be commanded by a Lieutenant-Commander, R.N. or R.N.V.R., or, if these are not forthcoming, by a Major, R.M. The question of making good deficiencies in these and in the marine brigade will be dealt with separately. There are, however, available 50 R.N.V.R. Lieutenants, 66 Sub-Lieutenants, and 12 Midshipmen; total, 128. About 50 more officers would be required.

The use of these brigades need not be considered until the organization has advanced sufficiently to allow of their military value to be judged.

The formation of these brigades should be completed so far as resources allow in the present week. The officers commanding the companies and battalions must be appointed forthwith. The first essential is to get the men drilling together in brigades; and the deficiencies of various ranks in the battalions can be filled up later. It may ultimately be found possible in the course of the war to build up all battalions of the marine and naval brigades to the army strength of 1,070, and the organization will readily adapt itself to this. All the men, whether sailors or marines, while training in the three brigades will be available if required for service afloat, and it must be distinctly understood that this is the paramount claim upon them; but in the meanwhile they will be left to be organized for land service.

August 16, 1914.

W. S. C.

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