The Royal Naval Division in the First World War
- E. C. Coleman
15th March 2014
Many thousands of Royal Naval seamen and Royal Marines fought in the trenches of the Great War alongside soldiers from across the Empire. Their graves may be found around Antwerp, on the Gallipoli peninsula, and all along the Western Front. The seamen and marines, supported by Army battalions, fought at Anzac Cove, on the Somme, and at Passchendale. They suffered giant siege mortars whilst delaying the enemy in Belgium, flies and the stench of widespread carnage on Turkish shores, and gas attacks whilst sheltering in flooded shell-holes on the Western Front. At the armistice, the Royal Naval Division had suffered 46,794 casualties, of whom 10,797 lost their lives. At the same time, the Division earned many decorations for gallantry, including eight Victoria Crosses. The Germans regarded the Royal Naval Division as 'one of the four most famous fighting Divisions of the British Army. From the rout on the Western Front in 1914 to Gallipoli and the Zeebrugge raid, E.C. Coleman tells the history of the RND.