Royal Marines Badge from HMS Racehorse

Contributed by Manx National Heritage

Royal Marines Cross Belt Plate from the wreck of HMS Racehorse © Manx National Heritage

The Marines started in 1664 as the Admiral's Regiment and finally became the Royal Marines in 1802.The sea is treacherous. Many have lost their lives whilst trying to earn a living; many have lost their lives trying to save those in peril.

Manx resident William Hillary saw these effects in 1822, off the coast of the Isle of Man. In December, HMS Racehorse was heading to pick up the survivors of HMS Vigilant, that had previously foundered off the Island.

The Racehorse hit rocks off the Isle of Man. Local men raced to the crew's aid, but during the return journey, 6 crew of the Racehorse perished along with 3 of their local rescuers.

Hillary witnessed the hardship of the families of the local men. He succeeded in securing pensions for their families, but realised that more needed to be done.

With this in mind, he set about creating the Royal National Lifeboat Institution - saving people from any nation in trouble in British waters.

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