We're a group of men and women from many walks of life who share an interest in bringing naval history of the American War for Independence (AWI) to life. We work to keep alive the life and times of the common British Sailor and Marine of this period. To that end, we are recreating, as accurately as our research will allow, a composite Ship's Company of sailors and marines of King George’s frigate Richmond.
This is a joint command unit made up of a Royal Navy crew and Marine Det., under the command of Post Captain Craig V. Fisher and Sgt. of Marines, Russell J. Borghere respectively. Each have numerous years experience in command and NCO/ratings positions of naval living history reenactor units of this and other time periods. Many of the officers and seamen have experience in the armed services such as Lt. Bruce Kominz in the commissioned ranks of the USN and Sgt. Borghere as an NCO in the U.S.M.C.
The exceptional and unique thing about this unit is that it is intended to enable membership from anywhere in the US, Canada, or the UK. With the historical territory of the naval involvement of the American War for Independence and the War of 1812 being restricted to a relative small section of the United States, most available units to join are in that area, and have no support system for hosting members not especially close to the unit's home base.
The command of the H.M.S.Richmond has a support system to host members from any distance. It is our belief that there are many individuals not close to the East Coast that would like to get involved in reenacting this period, and have a great deal to offer in the way of talent and resources.
For those, and others on the East Coast as well, the H.M.S.Richmond was formed. From this site you will be able to obtain all the information you need to become involved to whatever level you so desire. This may range from doing public education in your area, such as presentations for school history classes to joining our ranks during events.
While guidance will be available for obtaining uniforms and other equipment you will need to participate, being qualified to take part in events will require that you successfully complete the Computer Based Training (CBT) courses offered on this web site. This will allow you to gain or show you have the knowledge and standardization necessary to take part in events as part of the ship's company. In some cases, an event may be the first time to meet others of the ship's company, but through standardized training you will know exactly the things needed to make the event not only a safe experience, but an enjoyable one. Travel will be a must to participate, but you will have the confidence gained through the training to feel right at home when you arrive to find those you have become familiar with through the features of this web site.
The H.M.S.Richmond is like a receiving ship, in that there is no intent to recreate the actual vessel. It is the unit's name and reference to the type of ship's company we desire to portray. It also commemorates the service of the British Sailor and Marine during the American Revolution and 1812 period. The ship based Marine Detachments were considered the premier combat unit of the Crown Forces in North America. We portray the military life and customs of the period in all its aspects. Far from being the mindless automaton represented in popular mythology, the British Sailor and Marine were a formidable adversary who won the vast majority of the naval battles during the Revolution.
The Marine Detachment also present “living history” demonstrations consisting of field tactics, drill, and camp life for on shore events. Both the Sailors and Marines present shows and talks to schools, as well as interested civic and fraternal groups. We travel to take part in reenactments of both land and aboard replica vessels during Revolutionary War battles with other naval units. Members will have the opportunity to appear as extras in any forth coming major motion pictures and historical documentaries.
All our members are volunteers, and bear the cost of procuring their own uniforms, equipment, and travel. Our activities are devoid of 20th Century anachronisms, to the extent that we do not wear jewelry (watches, rings, etc.) nor allow facial hair on our soldiers and sailors, non-commissioned officers and officers. This is in keeping with the recognized practices of the 18th Century British Naval forces.
We make everything that we can ourselves. Our uniforms and equipment are the products of our research, and we take great pride in our accuracy. Only accurate materials are used – wool, linen, cotton, brass, pewter, leather, steel, wood, &c., and we use period tailoring and assembly as much as is practical. There are numerous commercial sources for a great deal of the equipment, but we highly recommend that new recruits consult with current members before they purchase any items. Current members are willing to assist the new recruit with the gathering of the necessary items and there is a full page on this site devoted to assisting in finding all you will need.
Unfortunately, for the Marines and all officers, it is not an inexpensive hobby. The basic Marine sea dress required uniform, arms, and equipment can run close to US $800.00. Musician’s (drummers and fifers) can usually acquire their uniform and equipment for considerably less. Purchasing used or second-hand uniforms and equipment or making your own can significantly reduce costs. The good news is that the initial investment usually lasts a lifetime. Fortunately, the uniforms for the sailors were not yet standardized, and are cheaper (est. $380 up ready-made including Cutlass) to assemble (see ratings uniform section). Enlisted sailors will need a period correct Cutlass, flintlock pistol or flintlock musket. Each will have one year to complete the uniform requirements. All costs associated with the procurement of uniforms and equipment NOT otherwise usable than in living history reenacting are tax-deductible owing to the unit’s status as a member of a 501 (c)(3) not- for-profit, tax-exempt educational organization. Travel expenses are deferred to a great deal by car-pooling to events and staying in the unit’s encampment or aboard the host vessels. (Yes, the Marines and Navy landing parties sleep in period-accurate tents and eat period-appropriate meals prepared by our members in the unit’s period-correct field kitchen.)
The events we attend are made up of units representing all the nations that took part in the American War for Independence. In order to tell the entire story of the times, all sides must be represented. By depicting the British Sailors and Marines as they were – tough, capable, and courageous, we educate the public, debunking many inaccurate ideas about the British that have been handed down for generations. Being part of the H.M.S.Richmond ship's company certainly does not mean that any of our members think our Founding Fathers were wrong to fight for our freedom. We believe that an accurate portrayal of the infamous British naval forces will bring increased respect for the hardships the Founding Fathers had to overcome to create this great nation. Recreating a British naval unit is also much more difficult. The standards of drill, discipline, and dress are much higher than for the American side. These standards are a very important part of the core values of this unit. There are no exceptions, but knowing this, many of our members relish the challenge.
In order to take the field as a uniformed Marine member, Navy landing party member, or aboard any host vessel, you must be at least eighteen years of age, and physically able to handle a flintlock musket and certifiable as part of a cannon crew. Musicians can apply for membership at the age of fourteen, but require parental permission. Children may participate as long as their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) is an active member of the Company and accompany them at all times. Wives and/or girlfriends are encouraged to participate as “distaff.” There is no upper age limit. Staff officer positions, except Ship's Surgeon (requires a licensed M.D., paramedic, or EMT certification) and Chaplain (requires ordained minister), must qualify for the position they desire to hold and are not guaranteed a berth on host vessels unless their billet is needed or requested by the host vessel captain. Special exceptions to age may be granted to youth ages 13 to 17 years old for the midshipman billets (contact the captain to inquire of exception requirements). Refer to the available billets for both ratings and officer openings. All members who qualify to portray a Royal Navy Sea Officer or an Officer of Marines MUST first complete an enlisted kit and be qualified in all training for the duties of that impression. Each Navy Line Officer and Officer of Marines must be prepared to act as an enlisted Sailor or Marine as a given situation may require (excludes non-sea duty staff officers and all Ship's Surgeons who are M.D.'s as well Chaplains). Accept the challenge, avoid the press gangs, and click here for an application form for both officer or enlisted.
The military of the time had a large number of women and children attached. As living history with the Richmond is definitely a family oriented hobby, wives or girlfriends and children of our members can take part by depicting their 18th century counterparts. They portray women and children of the period in all of the various roles that women and children held. They enact their personas as officer's ladies, wives or girlfriends of Sailors and Marines, or visiting ladies to the vessels (there were some rememberable partying on the gun decks while in port) or camp followers. The ladies and wives also do many of the crafts and daily chores that would have been done in the camp or on board the ships. Without the women, the 18th century military would have had a more difficult time than they did; just as the women were an integral part of naval forces of the period, so are the families of the H.M.S.Richmond. Clothing patterns, which observe the same standard of accuracy as the men’s, are available at the bottom of the links page, and available as ready made from many period merchants.
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