Under an order, dated 1 January 1836, signifying the royal commands that an historic account of the services of every regiment in the British Army should be published under the superintendence of the Adjutant-General, the work of compilation was entrusted to Cannon, at that time principal clerk in the Adjutant-General’s office. During the ensuing seventeen years historical records of all then existing regiments of cavalry, and of forty-two regiments of infantry of the line, were thus issued “by authority”, all of which were prepared under Cannon’s direction.
The Richard Cannon books set the standards to be expected of all future regimental histories. His Modus operandi was to liaise directly with the regiments concerned, relying upon them to consult their own records, and to write and proof-read their own texts. His function was essentially that of co-ordinator and editor. The resultant work was authoritative and reliable. Based upon a combination of archival sources and personal knowledge of past and servicing officers it provided accurate information regarding dates, engagements, moves and locations. The book contained helpful illustrations- often executed to a high standard – showing details of uniforms and equipment. There was little if any of the fine detail or human interest which later generations of readers came to expect, but the essential blueprint has been drawn.
HISTORICAL RECORD OF THE MARINE CORPS 1664-1748
This “Cannon” covers in its usual consistent format a unit that can trace it’s origins back to the formation of the English Army’s “Duke of York and Albany’s maritime regiment of Foot” on 28 October 1664. During the 18th century, they served in numerous landings all over the world. Marines had a dual function aboard ships of the Royal Navy; routinely, they ensured the security of the ship’s officers and supported their maintenance of discipline in the ship’s crew, and in battle, they engaged the enemy’s crews, whether firing from positions on their own ship, or fighting in boarding actions.