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Royal Marines picture book to be reprinted to mark bond with Kent town of Deal by organisers of historical trail

A successful book on the history of the Royal Marines in Deal is to hit the presses in the new year in tribute to the special bond the corps has with Deal.

The Royal Marines Heritage Trails trust has commissioned the rerun of Andrew Lane’s Royal Marines Deal – A Pictorial History, and the first 300 advance customers can have themselves acknowledged in the subscribers section.

The front cover of the Royal marines Deal - A Pictorial History shows The Staff Band of the Royal Marines School of Music on Jubilee Way in South Barracks
The front cover of the Royal marines Deal - A Pictorial History shows The Staff Band of the Royal Marines School of Music on Jubilee Way in South Barracks

Originally published in 2000, its 160 pages contain more than 200 photographs that illustrate the history of the Royal Marines Depots in Deal and Walmer from 1861 up to 1996.

Photographs show scenes from Royal visits, parades and general day-to-day life across the three barracks from Victorian times onwards.

The front cover shows The Staff Band of the Royal Marines School of Music on Jubilee Way in South Barracks and other images include: South Barracks from the air (1971), The depot Church of St Michael and All Angels (consecrated in 1907), Roommates photographed in East Barracks 1908, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales inspects a Guard of Honour in 1935 and The 1960 Tattoo held in North Barracks.

Inside, in advance of the many photographs, are old drawings of the three barracks, South and North as they were in 1795 and what was in 1812 The Royal Naval Hospital, then subsequently re-named East Barracks.

The earliest photographs date from 1894 and those covering the period up until the start of the First World War in 1914 give an interesting perspective on military life in those days.

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales inspects a Guard of Honour at Royal Marines barracks in Deal in 1935
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales inspects a Guard of Honour at Royal Marines barracks in Deal in 1935

There is a distinct change in scenes depicting the period in 1914 to 1918, as the barracks are flooded with recruits and, with the Deal and Walmer beaches offering a prime landing site for the enemy, the troops were often placed on alert.

During the inter-war years the scenes change as the routines of peace time training take over. Interspersed with these are images of Royal visits and various sporting activities.

The onset of The Second World War put Deal into the front line again and brought about dramatic changes to the depots, as training activities were re-located to safer areas inland and serving Marines were deployed to man the seafront defences.

In 1945 the Royal Marines were granted the Freedom of Deal and several photographs mark this honour.

In the post-war years there were radical changes as the strength of the Corps was dramatically reduced, falling from 74,000 during the war down to 9,000 by 1959.

The Royal Marines North Barrack at Deal
The Royal Marines North Barrack at Deal

Over that period the barracks has been a home to the W.R.N.S, Junior Marines, 41 Commando and perhaps most memorably for the enduring connection to the people of Deal and Walmer today, The Royal Marines School of Music.

The book, its photographs and written commentary gives an excellent overview of the long and colourful history of the Royal Marines presence in the town.

If you would like to order a copy of the book and want your name printed in the Subscribers Edition section then you will need to purchase the book now.

Go to the Royal Marines Heritage Trail website, at rmht.uk, to download the order form.

Orders must be received and paid for by Monday, December 23.

South Barracks at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, taken from the air (1971)
South Barracks at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, taken from the air (1971)

Purchasers have the option of being included in the Subscribers Edition.

Books cost £30.

Delivery will be in March 2020.

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