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Formation of 3rd Raiding Squadron Royal Marines Hong Kong

In the autumn of 1979, 42 Commando completed an emergency tour in Hong Kong to help the British Forces stationed there in their role of assisting the Royal Hong Kong Police (RHKP) deal with an unprecedented illegal immigration crisis.


Ranks from 42 Commando Royal Marines boarding a Hong Kong fishing vessel from a MKI Rigid Raiding Craft (RRC) to search for illegal immigrants 1979.

During their time in the colony, they pioneered the use of raiding craft in seaborne Anti-Illegal Immigrant patrols.


Their success in apprehending large numbers of IIs attempting the sea crossing persuaded the Hong Kong Government to ask for a continuing RM presence, and thus it was that in April 1980, 3 Raiding Squadron (3 RSRM) was born.


Initially equipped with Avon Searider Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBS), the Squadron found itself being increasingly outrun by faster speedboats.


Royal Marines of 3rd Raiding Squadron operating from a Fast Pursuit Craft (FPC) capable of around 50 knots

The introduction from September 1984 of the Fast Pursuit Craft (FPC) allowed the Squadron to regain superior capability and in the first 6 months after its introduction, twenty-one 'Snakehead' speedboats were successfully intercepted.


The Squadron comprised two Officers, a WO2, two SNCOs, thirty one Corporals/ Marines and twelve RN locally enlisted able seamen.


Following declining levels of activity and the increased capability of the RHKP Small Boat Unit, 3 RSRM was disbanded on 1st July 1988.


They also assisted with several rescues and other incidents, including two when they came under fire.


After disbandment, a small RM presence remained in Hong Kong with a Lieutenant and a Colour Sergeant joining the Staff of the Senior Officer Hong Kong Squadron to co-ordinate three 3-man detachments operating FPCs from HM Ships Peacock, Plover and Starling.


They remained there until the Colony was handed over to the Chinese in 1997, thus continuing a tradition of RM involvement in the territory that dated back to the possession of Hong Kong

Island in 18411.



Did you serve in 3rd Raiding Sqn, a new mug has been commisioned by a former member and is available here, 1 donation to the RMA with every mug sold. https://royalmarineshistory.etsy.com



References/ Further Reading


A Short History of the Royal Marines (RMHS) [https://www.rmhistoricalsociety.org/ourbooks]


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Formation of 3rd Raiding Squadron Royal Marines Hong Kong The lad in the back of the FPC is laughing and the guys in the front are saying "hold on we're going for a swim!! LOL - GOOD ON YA LADS we could use you today in many places...

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