Action by landing party was a major role for the Georgian Navy, by Queen Victoria's reign Naval expertise in gunnery led to heavy weapon support operations ashore in support of the Army so Naval brigades were landed from the crews of the following warships :

    CRIMEA 1854-55    
H.M.S. Agamemnon H.M.S. Circassian H.M.S. Imperieuse H.M.S. Princess Royal H.M.S. Spitfire
H.M.S. Ajax H.M.S. Conqueror H.M.S. Implacable H.M.S. Queen H.M.S. St Jean D Acre
H.M.S. Albion H.M.S. Cyclops H.M.S. Inflexible H.M.S. Retribution H.M.S. Terrible
H.M.S. Amphion H.M.S. Diamond H.M.S. Leander H.M.S. Rodney H.M.S. Trafalgar
H.M.S. Arethusa H.M.S. Dragon H.M.S. Leopard H.M.S. Royal Albert H.M.S. Tribune
H.M.S. Arrogant H.M.S. Duke of Wellington H.M.S. London H.M.S. Royal George H.M.S. Triton
H.M.S. Beagle H.M.S. Firebrand H.M.S. Lynx H.M.S. Samson H.M.S. Valorous
H.M.S. Bellerophon H.M.S. Furious H.M.S. Marlborough H.M.S. Sans Pareil H.M.S. Vengeance
H.M.S. Blenheim H.M.S. Highflyer H.M.S. Metaera H.MS. Sidon H.M.S. Vesuvius
H.M.S. Britannia H.M.S. Hogue H.M.S. Niger H.M.S. Sphinx H.M.S. Wasp
        H.M.S. Waterloo
INDIA 1857-58 NEW ZEALAND 1863-64  ABYSSINIA 1867-68 2nd ASHANTI WAR 1873-74  ZULU WAR 1878
H.M.S. Pearl H.M.S. Eclipse H.M.S. Dryad H.M.S. Active H.M.S. Active
H.M.S. Shannon H.M.S. Esk H.M.S. Octavia H.M.S. Amethyst H.M.S. Boadicea
  H.M.S. Harrier H.M.S. Satellite H.M.S. Argus H.M.S. Shah
  H.M.S Pelorus   H.M.S. Decoy H.M.S. Tenedos
      H.M.S. Druid  
      H.M.S. Encounter  
      H.M.S. Rattlesnake  
      H.M.S. Seagull  
      H.M.S. Simoon  
      H.M.S. Tamar  
1st BOER WAR 1880-81 EGYPT 1882 SUDAN 1884-85 2nd BOER WAR 1899-1901 CHINA 1900
H.M.S. Boadicea H.M.S. Agincourt H.M.S. Briton H.M.S. Barrosa H.M.S. Alacrity
H.M.S. Dido H.M.S. Carysfoot H.M.S. Carysfoot H.M.S. Doris H.M.S. Algerine
  H.M.S. Northumberland H.M.S. Condor H.M.S. Forte H.M.S. Aurora
  H.M.S. Orion H.M.S. Coquette H.M.S. Monarch H.M.S. Barfleur
    H.M.S. Dolphin H.M.S. Philomel H.M.S. Centurion
    H.M.S. Dryad H.M.S. Powerful H.M.S. Endymion
    H.M.S. Euryalus H.M.S. Tartar H.M.S. Fame
    H.M.S. Helca H.M.S. Terrible H.M.S Orlando
    H.M.S. Sphinx   H.M.S. Terrible

At most a large capital ship could deploy half a battalion of sailors (around 300) so several ships would be required to land a full brigade.

By the early twentieth century a full Naval brigade breakdown was ;

Brigade....2,040 men....1,250 rifles....600 revolvers

Battalion.......674 men.......417 rifles....200 revolvers

Company......108 men........69 rifles.......32 revolvers

Platoon...........28 men........20 rifles.........8 revolvers

Section.............8 men.........7 rifles...........1 revolver

Command and control of a Naval landing party was primarily by bugle, the Victorian calls are shown here, having less brain than most badgers I cannot read music but I have included these for those that can.

The R.N. support role ashore included the use of armoured trains which became another Naval brigade speciality.

The Naval brigade that landed on the 1st of October 1854 below Balaklava during the Crimean campaign numbered 36 officers and 1,000 ratings, they deployed forty four 32 pdr smoothbore and six 68 pdr riflebore cannons taken ashore from ships, in the first major issue of Naval webbing 300 ratings assigned as gun guards were supplied with the American designed .36 inch percussion cap Navy Colts (1851 model) made in a London factory carried in a simple black leather Board of Ordnance holster worn on cutlass belts, ammunition was 10 rounds per man carried in their haversacks, additional reinforcements (all ships had to provide some of their crews) eventually brought the total landed to 65 officers and 2,400 ratings with over 2,000 Royal Marines.

victorian colt ammo boxes


In 1855 the RN ordered 420 Deane Adams & Deane five shot .436 inch percussion cap revolvers, in 1856 2,000 of a much improved version known as the Beaumont Adams revolver was purchased along with the first official sea service revolver pattern set consisting of just a leather waist belt, holster and ammunition pouch, detailed pictures of this set are rather scarce, the 100 year old image below is the best I could muster, the only other illustration I have seen has the men wearing cutlai as well.

victorian adams sailor picvictorian adams picture 2

From 1868 all of these weapons were converted to breech loaders (no caps) by Mr. Adams and were subsequently referred to as Adams pistols in all R.N. documentation, they were finally declared obsolete in 1894.

The exact dimensions of both holster and pouch remain a mystery to me so the items I have produced here are highly speculative efforts based solely on the image above and should be viewed accordingly.

victorian 1856 naval belt 

The revolver itself was just over 11 inches in length so 12 for the holster seems a good guess to me.

victorian adams holstervictorian adams holster openvictorian adams holster rear

The 35 round ammunition pouch had a brass plate on the flap with a stores issue number stamped onto it.

1856 35 round pouch side

In 1859 a brown leather case with loop for a boarding axe was introduced, a new pattern of boarding axe with a steel head came into service as late as 1891 (and a steel headed 7 foot 7 ash pole boarding pike in 1888).

The very fine (and big) 26 inch blade 1858 pattern cutlass bayonet was an impressive piece of kit originally developed for the Banded Enfield rifle worn from the Mk I bayonet frog, the 1959 pattern replaced the wooden handle with a riveted leather grip, from 1871 both models were refitted for further use on the Martini Henry rifles being re-issued alongside a new build 1871 pattern which had a straighter blade and was an inch shorter, Admiralty directives called for the earlier models to be cut down and straightened to match the new examples, despite being unwieldy and not as balanced as a normal rifle/bayonet combination all three types remained in R.N. service well into the 1890s.

victorian MkI frog 

victorian cutlass bayonet on frogvictorian cutlass bayonetvictorian cutass bayonet fittingsvictorian 1858 cutlass bayonet



1867 saw the Royal Navy adopt the .577 inch percussion cap Snider Enfield rifle which was a reworked 1858 Naval model Banded Enfield muzzle loader converted into a breech loader.

victorian snider enfield 

For this weapon the first sea service rifle pattern was introduced which retained the 1856 waist belt matched with the 1858 Mk I frog for the cutlass bayonet, new items were an unfortunately termed ball bag and a 30 round ammunition pouch both on shoulder straps worn cross belt fashion, the unfortunately termed ball bag was intended for loose rounds only.

1867 ball bag full

The triple compartment Snider cartridge packet tins fitted inside the 30 round pouch were officially removed for Martini Henry use in 1875.

victorian 30 round snider pouch victorian 30 round snider pouch rear

The first cap badge on the left with the tiny crown is Victorian, the one in the middle is Edwardian and the trio in the end picture illustrate the growth from Victorian to WW2.