17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC

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17 Port & Maritime Regiment RLC
British Army Ensign01.svg
Full ahead together
Active 1949 - Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Role Logistics
Size 548 personnel
Part of 104 Logistic Support Brigade
Garrison/HQ McMullen Barracks, Marchwood Military Port
Mascot(s) Seahorse
Corps Rlcbadge.jpg Royal Logistic Corps
Tactical recognition flash RLC TRF.svg

17 Port and Maritime Regiment is a regiment of the British Army's Royal Logistic Corps. The unit is the Army's only regular Port & Maritime capability, though it is twinned with 165 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, of the Army Reserve.


The regiment was first formed as 17 Port Training Regiment Royal Engineers, at the existing Marchwood Military Port (near Southampton), Hampshire in 1949.[1] Since the Second World War, military vessels have operated in support of many major operations, such as in the Suez Crisis, conflicts in Belize and Borneo and especially in the Falklands War, where over 75% of all stores were landed by Mexeflote Rafts.[2]

The regiment initially comprised 51 and 52 Port Squadrons RE. It was later joined by 53 Port Maintenance Squadron RE. These former Royal Engineers Squadron numbers are still in use with the Regiment to this day. On 15 July 1965, the Regiment transferred to the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT)[3] and 17 Port Regiment Workshop REME (Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) was formed at that time.[4]

The regiment was originally accommodated in a war time Nissen hut type of camp in the field that is just beyond the northern boundary of Byams House, which became the Officers Mess.[5]

In 1993, the regiment was transferred to the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), on amalgamation of the RCT with four other Corps.[6]

In 2011 and 2012, the regimental headquarters and elements from the Squadrons deployed as the Theatre Logistic Regiment in Camp Bastion. Later in 2012, the regiment was required at short notice to set up and run the accommodation camp at Tobacco Docks on the river Thames in London, in support of the military personnel who were in turn supporting the 2012 London Olympics.[7] Lastly, in 2013, the Regiment deployed on a United Nations Peace-keeping tour to Cyprus (Operation TOSCA).[8]

The latest military rail operations were in the Kosovo War, when 79 Railway Squadron RLC operated the line between Thessaloniki in Greece to Kosovo in Serbia. During Operation Telic in Iraq in 2003, Rail Troop of 79 Port Clearance Squadron RLC opened up the rail link between Basra and Baghdad, in cooperation with a Royal Engineers Specialist Team.[9]


The current units are:[10]

  • 51 (Port) Squadron RLC
  • 52 (Port) Squadron RLC
  • 53 (HQ & Enabling) Squadron RLC
  • Workshops REME

The regiment is based out of McMullen Barracks in the village of Marchwood, on the west bank of Southampton Water, on the fringe of the New Forest. The barracks sits at Marchwood Military Port, the Ministry of Defence's Sea Mounting Centre (SMC).[11] It also operates the only military Dive Team in the RLC.[10]

Ensigns of British Army vessels[edit]

Ensign flown by vessels of 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps.
The Army ensign flown by British Army vessels commanded by a commissioned officer.

Originally there was no British Army Ensign, the crossed swords ensign being the ensign of the Royal Army Service Corps (which was responsible for offshore military transport). When the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) was formed in 1965, it took on this responsibility; the task of designing an Army Ensign was given to HQ Maritime Group RCT Portsmouth, who produced a Blue Ensign defaced by crossed swords superimposed with the royal crest. It was approved by the Queen and announced in Army Order 53/66, and Defence Council Instruction (General) 62/67. The ensign was first flown on 17 May 1967 by Tank Landing Craft engaged in Exercise Wagon Trail. The Army Ensign was the army equivalent of the navy's White Ensign, while the crossed sword ensign was comparable to the vertical anchor Blue Ensign of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service. The army copied navy tradition by flying the Union Jack in the bows of ships being launched, with the Army Flag (instead of the Admiralty Flag) amidships. The last HMAVs, Arakan and Ardennes, were decommissioned in 1998, and the Army Ensign became dormant.[3]

Army Ensign of HMAV Arakan laid up in St John's Church, Marchwood.


  1. ^ Major Lyndon M. Robinson, The Role of Britain's 17 Port & Maritime Regiment in Force Projection, Army Logistician, March–April 2005
  2. ^ "Ship to Shore Logistics – 03 (History – 1982 Falkland Islands) - Think Defence". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Prothero, David (29 September 2004). "Board of Ordnance: Royal Corps of Transport Fleet (Britain)". CRW flags. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  4. ^ Kneen, J (1996). Craftsmen of the Army. Arborfield: Pen and Sword Books Ltd. p. 281. ISBN 0-85052-549-7.
  5. ^ TCW (28 December 2013). "Byams House". Writing about writing. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Forming Corps » Royal Logistic Corps". www.royallogisticcorps.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
  7. ^ "Olympics accommodation for additional military personnel - Announcements - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  8. ^ "Peacekeeping in Cyprus - News stories - GOV.UK". www.gov.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  9. ^ Killblane, Richard (2010). US Army Use of Rail in Theaters of Operation (PDF). US Transportation Corps. p. 20.
  10. ^ a b "17 P&M Regt RLC Homepage - British Army Website". Army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-04.
  11. ^ Hansford, Roger (1 Oct 2014). Fawley's Front Line. The History Press. ISBN 978-0752498577.

External Links[edit]