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Marine Corps Base Quantico

"Crossroads of the Marine Corps"

Band of Brothers: 4th Marine, Yorkshire Regiments renew long friendship

By J. Elise Van Pool | | October 29, 2013

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Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, presents Barry Fletcher with a gold badge in recognition of his 50 years of service in the Green Howards Association. Fletcher was a member of the Yorkshire Regiment of the British Army in 1963, and was present in Tripoli when the units exchanged plaques for the second time. The first plaque exchange took place in Shangai, China in 1927.

Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, presents Barry Fletcher with a gold badge in recognition of his 50 years of service in the Green Howards Association. Fletcher was a member of the Yorkshire Regiment of the British Army in 1963, and was present in Tripoli when the units exchanged plaques for the second time. The first plaque exchange took place in Shangai, China in 1927. (Photo by J. Elise Van Pool)


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Triangle, Va. -- The bond between warriors never fades, even though hairs gray and backs stoop, the bond between the band of brothers never wanes. Marines, British soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment of the British Army and the Green Howards association gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on Saturday, to renew that bond and remember their brothers in arms.

In 1927, members of the 4th Marine Regiment were stationed in Shanghai, China, to guard the U.S. Embassy and other American assets. After a local uprising that the Marines helped control, the municipal government presented the Marines with drums and fifes. Also there were members of the Yorkshire Regiment, known as the Green Howards. Having never played drums or fifes, the Marines turned to the Green Howards, who helped quell the uprising for lessons, thus cementing a relationship that had begun during the uprising. Later that year the units exchanged plaques to mark their service together.

Fast forward nearly 30 years to 1963, to and the units found themselves together again in Tripoli celebrating the Yorkshire Regiment’s decisive victory in the first engagement of the Crimean War at the River Alma. Again the two units exchanged plaques and camaraderie.

Saturday night, 50 years later, members of the two units met to continue the tradition.

“We are here to renew and commemorate the friendship of a few noble gentlemen that were serving together in Shangai, China,” said Col. Richard D. Hall, commanding officer of the 4th Marine Regiment. “In keeping with that spirit and tradition, the U.K. and the U.S. continue those bonds of friendship and camaraderie formed all those years ago; where we still stand together to take on whatever challenges may be facing us in the world today.”

Hall described how that special bond continues today in the dust and heat of Afghanistan.

“The bottom line is, it is absolutely impossible to put into words the honor it has been and the thanks I owe to all those Brits that I served with.”

After the exchange of new plaques, Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, addressed the assembled group. Quoting from the St. Crispin’s Day Speech in Shakespeare's “Henry V,” Paxton commented on the special relationship that all warriors share.

“On the eve of battle there is nothing better than to be with good friends,” said Paxton. “Today we are here because, ‘we are the few, the happy few, we band of brothers.’”
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1 Comments


  • Bob Cook 270 days ago
    A great story made all the better because of my friendship with one of the Green Howards attending this event, who has kept me informed of the pathway to the special military friendship between the USMC and the 19th Regiment of Foot

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