Parliament and the Marine Regiments, 1739
Prior to 1739, seagoing regiments were not a permanent part of the British Naval establishment, but were raised and disbanded on an ad hoc basis. There was also no consensus regarding the actual role of marines – were they sailors-in-training, soldiers serving on ships, or specialized amphibious troops? The impermanence of these forces also prevented development of doctrine and regimental élan. At the beginning of the Spanish War, Parliament debated these questions incident to the King’s request that “a body of Marines be raised.” This debate led directly to the formation and definition of a permanent marine force that proved to be the progenitor of the Royal Marine Corps.