What follows are the inputs to the Royal Marines monthly Journal, the 'Per Mare', sent by the Royal Marines serving in H.M.S. HOOD. They all date from 1936, but there were months which were missed out [not submitted]. Some of the pages have been copied in full and therefore they have inputs from other capital ships carrying Marines, and some, which were difficult to process or which were difficult to read after copying, have been added piecemeal or retyped completely. The photograph of the Hood 'Power and Brain' comes from a 1920's book. If you have difficulty in reading the caption beneath it, it says "Beyond and above the 15-inch gun turret are the conning-tower, the 30-foot rangefinder, the bridge, searchlights and fire-control." The badges are of course the cap badge of the 'Royals' and the unpainted crest of HMS Hood. The calendars have been added simply for interest - note 1936 was a leap year. 

{Please note that I have nothing to do with the style of writing in these entries nor with the subject matter written about or discussed}

In January's entry under BAND, the author mentions Beating Retreat. In June last year [2004] at the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing of WW2, I used my camera to record the Royal Marine Band doing just that, Beating Retreat.  If you want to hear it, and 'raw' it is too, click here. Just imagine that you are in Gibraltar way back sixty nine years ago in 1936, sipping team with the Admiral, Sir Sidney Bailey and the Commanding Officer, Captain Tower R.N., on the Hood's Quarterdeck, listening [and the quality of this recording wont make that too difficult to imagine] to the Hood's RM Band crashing out this wonderful and much loved sound. 

JANUARY

  

 

 

 

After a long stay at Gibraltar it was decided the ships' company of this Force may benefit by a change of scenery.  Those wise heads that govern our welfare and almost regulate our breathing, decided on Madeira for Hood.  A change is as good as a rest but a good change is as good as a holiday.  Madeira Island is healthy and creates a good chance for those who have not lost the art of living.  My old slogan of work hard and play hard had been functioning more or less on one string until we got to Madeira.  Here we still played on one string but it was the other one.  On the whole we had a first rate time and the leave facilities were extraordinarily good.    Like most foreign towns,  Funchal had its highways and bye-ways, but comparatively few laws and bye-laws.  Time will no doubt reveal a truer impression of life at Madeira.  

Await alike, the inevitable hour,
the paths of indiscretion lead you where ?

Madeira would not appear to be the same to all of us, but quite frankly it is the best place I know outside the French Riviera.  Politically, the place is asleep.  In less than ten years they will have to face the problem of over-crowding for the place is all but over populated now.  The productions of Madeira are two fold, and it is unfortunate for the poverty stricken Portuguese inhabitants that both productions are luxuries and not necessities.  Products of luxuries would naturally be hit hard during times of hostilities.  These principally produce wine and in my humble opinion I judged that good wine and the sales tell a true tale.  While on the subject of wine, there are people about who try to drink wine in the way we drink beer at the "King and Queen".  Well you can do this but the results are slightly different.  The better class cafes were first rate and the food moderately good and surprising cheap.  Beer was brewed locally and I guess by its Piltzner taste that it was a German brew and palatable. The local soccer teams were very good and we lost two matches to the Islanders.  There is no spare ground or wide open spaces for the youth of the Island, and it is therefore, remarkable that they should be so good at soccer. With no grassland and hiking out of the question, because of the gradient  which is almost a whole number 1 in 1 in feet, and tired feet at that, most of the young blood are quite expert in the water.  There is always a saving grace whatever one goes visiting, and the bathing compensate for tennis, soccer and hockey, or rather the lack thereof.  A grand change, and now to the Garrison at Gibraltar for a quite Xmas.  We must have 300 Madeira chairs onboard and half as many canaries.  Despite almost permanent indigestion I feel and hope  that I have a better chances of seeing England than most canaries.

BAND NOTES

The Hood's band gave a programme of music in the local band stand and was highly appreciated as was the Beating of Retreat at Gibraltar and the end of last month.  By the way, Madeira's other product is embroidery but heavens above, with ten and a half years at a boys' school and ten and a half years developing the above mentioned indigestion how can one really know the first thing about embroidery or anything really feminine for that matter.  In diverse corners of the world a'doing all kinds of things, we wish all our fellow soldiers a Merry Xmas, and if threatened with war in 1936 that it may be less of a bore than that of 1935.  The compliments of the Season to the Staff of this Journal.  How many or how few ships have kept Xmas at Gibraltar in the last 20 years?  We will tell you all about it in January.

J.G.M.

There was no input into the Journal by HMS Hood for the month of February 1936. 

MARCH

  

 

 

APRIL

  

 

 

 

MAY

  

 

 

 

 

JUNE

  

 

 

JULY

  

 

 

n

HMS HOOD did not send articles for the August and September Journals.

OCTOBER

  

 

 

 

 

NOVEMBER

  

 

 

DECEMBER

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, here's to the memory of H.M.S. Hood and her crew and all that she stood for. In this year 1936, the complement of HMS Hood was, throughout most of the year, 810 officers and men. See this Admiralty document for more details The health of the navy in 1936.  Her wartime complement was increased to 1200 but after her refit and new armaments fitted, her 1941 complement had increased to a massive 1418 {of which 1415 were lost in the sinking} with only three survivors, an uptake of 75.06%, making what may have been 'comfortable accommodation' into a vastly over-crowded environment.