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Royal Marines
in the Crimea
Brigade Muster &c.

RM Officers, Robertson
An officer of the Royal Marine Artillery with other RM or RN officers in the Crimea.
Detail from photograph by James Robertson.
(Muster transcribed from  ADM 38/4674 96731  at The National Archives)
Marines landed from each ship
Sans Pareil
Other Royal Marine pages
RMB Medal Roll, B Clasp, Algiers
Royal Marine Officers,
War Services from the Army Lists
Royal Marines who served in the Royal Naval Brigade
These pages are currently all related to the Royal Marines ashore in the Crimea and will be added to from time to time. However, the bulk of the initial material is a transcription of the original RM Brigade Muster.
The Muster, which records little more than name, rank and rates of pay, is the original list for the Royal Marine Brigade sent ashore right at the end of September and beginning of October 1854 to defend the heights above Balaklava. It seems that it was not updated at all after that, so none of the further drafts of officers and men sent ashore are recorded. Unlike the Muster for the Royal Naval Brigade, no dates are recorded for return to ship and just a very few 'DD' (discharged dead).
The lists of names are extracted from photocopies of the hand-written original Muster*, and as such are not guaranteed to be error-free. It will come as no surprise to regular researchers of Musters and Medal Rolls to find that there are many inconsistencies between one and the other. Where the clerks recognised that two or more men had the same name, they used the standard  (1)  and  (2)  &c. However some names appear twice without such annotation and are assumed to be duplication errors by the original clerk. They are annotated by the transcriber like this: [ 1 ] and [ 2 ].
Where a name is unrecognisable; can't be paired with a name in the later Medal Roll, or simply doesn't appear in the Medal Roll, [?] has been used by the transcriber. Where spelling is different in the Medal Roll, the alternative is given thus: Joseph Blogs [ or Bloggs ]. Because the handwritten script is often difficult to decipher there are undoubtedly some errors, so please contact the webmaster if you spot a mistake or can make a correction.
* Judging by the handwriting, the RMB Muster was almost certainly compiled by the same man responsible for the Royal Naval Brigade Muster: Assistant Paymaster James Richard Greenway Browne RN, who went ashore as part of RNB commander Captain Stephen Lushington's small 'HQ Section' during the same few days the marines landed.
When the Muster is compared to the Medal Roll for the Royal Marines at The National Archives ( ADM 171/23 and online at Ancestry.co.uk), apart from the many inconsistencies mentioned above, there are a large number of men (and ships) missing from the former. These officers and men landed at later dates and from a variety of other ships. This is confirmed in the appendices of —
— which, thanks to Google, is available full-view behind the above link. The relevant page (260) is transcribed below from the copy of the original book in the transcriber's possession. It will be seen that the officers' names, but only the number of NCOs and men, were recorded for all the drafts sent ashore. Links have been added to the officers' names. They direct to the Muster for that individual officer's ship. The officers' names have been added as addenda to the bottom of each Muster, apart from 1st Lieutenant Richard Johns of HMS Queen who was the only officer actually recorded in the original Muster.

DETAILED STATEMENT (A.) above referred to.

Dates Total
and Men
Officers' Names
29 September 1854
30           ″         ″    
  2 October         ″    
Lieut.-Col. T. Hurdle.
Captain W.T. Hopkins.
      ″      S. Fraser.
      ″      W.H. March.
      ″      Hayes Marriott.
      ″      W.R. Meheux.
      ″      R. Hockings.
      ″      H. Timpson.
      ″      W.S. Aslett.
      ″      G.B. Rodney.
      ″      D. Blyth.
1st Lieut. H.G. Elliot.
1st Lieut. J. Shute.
      ″        W.J.S. Richards.
      ″        Charles Jolliffe.
      ″        William Taylor.
      ″        A.C. Critchell.
      ″        E.F. Pritchard.
      ″        F.L. Dowse.
      ″        G.O. Evans.
      ″        F. Walton.
      ″        G. Mairis.
      ″        M. Spratt.
      ″        N.B. Dalby.
1st Lieut. F.H. Ruel.
      ″        G.E.O. Jackson.
      ″        D.W. Curry.
      ″        C.W. Carrington.
      ″        J.F. Hawkey.
      ″        E. Spry.
      ″        J.M. de C. Meade.
      ″        J. R. Lloyd.
      ″        R. Johns.
      ″        H. Nason.
      ″        F.G. Pym.
11 October 1854 -
12      ″          ″    -
25      ″          ″    -
26      ″          ″    -
28      ″          ″    -
  3 November ″    -
  4 November ″    -
1st Lieut. H.B. Roberts.
      ″        C.J. Ellis.
Captain H.A. McCallum, 1st Lieuts. A. Wolridge and C.J.D. Napier.
  5 November ″    -
  from Eupatoria.


Captain G.B. Payne.       1st Lieut. J.G. Shanks.
1st Lieut. G. Gregory.         ″    F.W. Thomas.
   ″       H.F. Cooper.           ″   R.J.H. Douglas.
7 November 1854 -
16       ″         ″      -
13 December ″      -
18       ″         ″      -
27       ″         ″      -
4 February 1855 -
10       ″         ″      -
22       ″         ″      -
1 March       ″      -
18 June         ″      -
5 July          ″      -
28 August     ″      -
13 September ″    -
16        ″         ″    -
Lieut.Col. John Fraser.
Captain G. G. Alexander.
1st Lieut. T.P. Casey.
Lieut.-Col. T. Holloway.
Captain H. Kennedy; 1st Lieuts. A.T.S. Cuttler. W.L. Tinmouth, and C.T. Witham.
2nd Lieuts. A.H. Ozzard, E.B. Pritchard, and R.F. Taylor.
1st Lieut. J.P. Murray.
1st Lieut. H.J. Jull.
Lieut.-Col. F.A. Campbell.
Captain C.J. Hadfield; 2nd Lieut. F.J. Parry.
1st Lieut. J.M. Lennox.
Captains H.W. Gwyn, and R.V. Allen; 2nd Lieut. H.L. Rose.
Lieut.-Cols. J. Mitchell and P.T.M. Payne.
Artillery Companies serving with “Naval Brigade;” 1st Lieuts A.C. Steele and A.A. Douglas.
Grand Total -
*This Detachment landed at Eupatoria 18th September 1854.
Royal Marine Office,
12th March 1857.

(Signed)    S. Robert Wesley, D.A.G.

This second transcription (below) comes from pages 63 and 64 of —
HOUSE OF COMMONS PAPERS, VOLUME IX. ARMY, NAVY, Session 3 February - 21 March 1857. [ PDF at Google Books ]  DOWNLOAD
— which, again, thanks to Google, is available full-view behind the above link. The report is written by the medical services, covering the whole campaign ashore and is most interesting from that point of view. But it also opens with one of the few descriptions of the early marine landings. It will be noted that this uses the same 1216 figure as Reilly, but streamlines his three landings into one on the 29th of September. However, examine the name of the Royal Marine Deputy Adjutant General who signed-off on both Reilly's table and the simplified one in the Parliamentary Papers, and it will be seen that it is the same gentleman — Samuel Robert Wesley RM — despite the miss-spelling in the latter version. Also note that he signed the two tables on consecutive days, but 18 months or so after the end of the war. Royal Artillery Brigade Major Reilly was present in the Crimea of course, but clearly relied on acquiring the tables of landings to add to the appendices of the journal. (The equivalent, and much more detailed, table for the Royal Naval Brigade was signed off at the Admiralty on the 14th of March 1857 by R. M. Bromley, Accountant-General of the Navy.)
[ page 63 ]
     On the 29th of September 1854, 1,216 Royal Marines were detached from the large vessels of the fleet, landed at Balaklava, and marched up to the heights, and subsequently, at different periods, 831 were landed to keep up the strength of the brigade, as its ranks became thinned by disease and death. Unlike the Naval Brigade, this force was wholly detached from the naval service, and incorporated with the army, on which it was made dependent for all its supplies. On the heights, for several successive months, there was no shelter for the sick beyond a marquee, and there were but few medicines to be obtained, as the army stores were nearly exhausted at the time. An attempt was made to dig a trench, which, if covered over, might have afforded shelter for about 20 men, but it never was completed. After the tempest of the 14th of November, in which all the tents and marquees were blown down, the worst cases of sickness were sent to Balaklava, and accommodated on board The Pride of the Ocean, one of the dismasted transport ships, which continued to receive them until about the end of March, when three of the wooden huts that had lately arrived from England were erected, and were appropriated for the shelter and treatment of the sick.
     The hospital of the Royal Marines increased in extent in accordance with the requirements of the sick, until at length it consisted of four large and four small wooden huts, that afforded ample accommodation for 80 men, and a few sick officers. The establishment was situated on the same slope with the great military sanitarium, on the eastern side of the harbour, being higher up the hill than it, and within a convenient distance of the marine encampment. It was plentifully supplied with spring water, which was collected in a reservoir constructed by the marines. The site overlooked the sea, and the huts were well ventilated. It is stated that between 1,100 and 1,200 cases were treated in these buildings.
     On the 4th of November a detachment, made up chiefly of men who had lately arrived in the Algiers, was sent to join the light infantry division on the heights of Sebastopol, and on the day after its arrival there, it was engaged in the battle of Inkermann. 1  While at the front these men were subject to the same privations and sufferings as the troops of the line. From the long-continued use of salted meat without vegetables, they gradually acquired a scorbutic taint. Diarrhœa and dysentery became common, and there were some cases of cholera; but on the 6th of March 1855, this detachment, very greatly decreased in numbers, rejoined the head quarters of the corps on the heights of Balaklava, where supplies of medicines and medical comforts were obtained, and the weather being less severe, they gradually improved in health.
     In May and June the regiments of the line encamped on the same heights began to suffer from cholera, which also extended to the marines, who at the time were employed on fatigue duties, the line regiments having moved more towards the front; diarrhœal attacks were also numerous, many of them terminating in dysentery. As the season advanced these conditions did not diminish in frequency, while fevers of a remitting type, were more common and more severe, until the weather became cooler, when the tendency to febrile diseases declined.
     On the 5th of October 1855, the battalion broke up the encampment on the heights of Balaklava, and embarked for Kinburn, where they were landed on a sandy spit, and slept one night without cover, but tents were sent ashore the following day.
     After the capture of the forts, a reconnaissance was made into the country; the officers and men engaged in it were without tents, but they readily constructed temporary huts with branches of trees, foliage and hay. In the course of their march they came across farm-houses and gardens of wholesome vegetables; the latter were made use of with avidity by all; and to this indulgence a diarrhœal affection which prevailed shortly afterwards by some of the medical officers. A few cases of remitting fever made their appearance also at this time, which most probably arose from exhalations from the low marshy lands which bordered the channel of the river.
     In consequence of the illness and death of the principal medical officer first attached to the marine brigade, 2   no reliable account of its sickness and mortality has been sent into the office of the Director-general; but the following Return, showing the total loss from wounds and disease, has been obtained through the Deputy Adjutant-general of Marines from Colonel Hurdle, who commanded the brigade before Sebastopol. With reference to its general accuracy, he observes,
“I have given the number of deaths from fever, dysentery, diarrhœa and cholera, as far as my records show. The cause of deaths in the cases classed as other

[ page 64 ]
diseases is not known, but I am confident that they nearly all range within those three divisions, and that the greatest number belong to the second, namely dysentery and diarrhœa.”

RETURN showing the number of ROYAL MARINES landed and serving with the Army before Sebastopol, during the years 1854 and 1855, together with the Dates of Landing and Re-embarking, and Number of Deaths, and the Causes, &c.

Landed at Balaklava, at daylight, 29th September 1854. Embarked in Jura, for passage to England, 12th of November 1855.  

Total number of officers and men landed 29 September 1854 - 1,216
Ditto - - - ditto - - - - at subsequent periods - 831
Mean force of the Brigade - 1,353
Deaths: Killed in action - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10
              From wounds received in action - - - - - - - 1
                ″   accidental wounds and injuries - - - - - - - 1
                ″   suicidal wounds - - - - - - - 1
                ″   frost-bites - - - - - - -
                ″   other accidents and injuries - - - - - - -
Total deaths from wounds, &c. - 13
              From fever - - - - - - - 22
                ″   diseases of the chest - - - - - - -
                ″   dysentery and diarrhœa - - - - - - - 78
                ″   cholera - - - - - - - 42
                ″   other diseases - - - - - - - 70
Total deaths from from disease - 212
Total deaths from all causes - 225
     Food and fuel were chiefly obtained from the Commissariat Department, and a [f]ew great coats, boots, &c.; but the brigade, generally, were well supplied with warm and other clothing sent out from Deptford stores.
Royal Marine Office,
13th March 1857.

R.M. Westley, [ sic ]  

     It would then appear, that though the mortality from wounds received in action was not great, the mortality from disease may be called excessive, at least when compared to the mortality in the naval brigade from similar causes; and it is especially deserving notice, that by far the greatest number of deaths occurred from what may truly be called “camp diseases”, namely dysentery, diarrhœa and fever; these maladies, with few exceptions, being the direct product of exposure to cold and wet, fatigue and night watching, together with an innutritious and defective diet; while cholera which hovered over the different camps with different degrees of intensity, is to be ascribed to an infectious emanation from the bodies of those ill with the disease, which was originally imported from Varna, along with [t]he invading armies, and kept in existence by new importations of men, who were invariably the greatest sufferers, and by whom it was reproduced and perpetuated up to the termination of the siege.

Footnotes to the 'Parliamentary Papers':
1. Bearing in mind that the detachment which took part in the battle of Inkerman was “chiefly” made up of men from the Algiers, it is possible to get some idea of numbers by adding up those who are recorded as receiving the 'I Clasp' in the Algiers Medal Roll. The total appears to be 158 for the men who also got the 'B Clasp'. There are just two others recorded as only receiving the 'I Clasp'. To get the full picture, or close to it, and find out how many non-Algiers got the 'I Clasp', it would be necessary to go right through the whole RMB Medal Roll and check every ship which sent men ashore before the 5th of November.
2. On the face of it this looks clear, but turns out to be anything but. This could be one of two surgeons attached to the Royal Marine Brigade — or a combination of the two — the “first” was Acting Surgeon John Wilkinson Elliott, an 'Additional' for service ashore, carried on the books of the Flag Ship Britannia, who formed the first RMB medical team ashore along with Assistant Surgeon John Cockin, also an 'Additional' in Britannia, and Assistant Surgeon Alan Brown of Bellerophon. (see the Navy List, corrected to the 20th December 1854). Elliott's story was a tragedy: he was tried by court martial in the spring of 1855 for neglect of duty after numerous complaints about his conduct and treatment (or lack) of the marines in his care. He was dismissed the service; transported back to England and sent to serve a two-year sentence in the Devon County Gaol at Exeter. He died there in early December 1855. (See Naval Court Martial in the Crimea: 'A very painful case' by T. Muir; THE WAR CORRESPONDENT, Volume 22, No.2, July 2004.)
The second surgeon was Edward Harris Derriman MD. He was sent ashore to replace Elliott when the latter was suspended. Derriman contracted a fever almost immediately which showed no signs of abating and he was transferred to Therapia Hospital (the RN hospital on the Bosphorus) where he died on the 5th of October 1855. The description in the text could refer to Elliott as “first” being attached to the Marine Brigade, or to Derriman because of the “illness and death”. However, it is probably safe to assume that Elliott was the culprit: he had been onshore throughout the winter, in poor physical condition himself and, according to witnesses at his court martial, was apparently loath to stir himself at all in the performance of his duties. A failure to keep records would seem to fit precisely with his behaviour. On the other hand, Derriman was very well respected, and if it was right that he took over a position, for which no records had been kept for the previous six months or so, he had no chance to put matters right and a retrospective attempt to produce something would have been well nigh impossible.