Sea Cadet Corps has one of the longest continuous
histories of any youth organisation in the country,
but it has evolved haphazardly. The Corps dates
back to the Crimean War (1854-1856) when sailors
returning home from the campaign formed Naval Lads'
Brigades to help orphans in the back streets of
The SCC in the UK can be traced back to the Kent
port of Whitstable where the first of the Naval
Lads' Brigades was established. The success of the
brigades in helping disadvantaged youth led to the
formation of the Navy League, a national organisation
with a membership of 250,000 dedicated to supporting
the Royal Navy, which subsequently adopted the Brigades
The Navy League applied to the Admiralty for recognition
of its 34 Boys' Naval Brigades. This was granted
in 1919 subject to an annual efficiency inspection
by an officer on the staff of the Admiral Commanding
Reserves, and the title Navy League Sea Cadet Corps
Lord Nuffield gave £50,000 (over £2
million in today's money) to fund the relaunch and
expansion of the Sea Cadet Corps.
At the start of World War II here were almost 100
Sea Cadet Units in the UK with more than 10,000
In June the Navy League purchased an old sailing
vessel and renamed her TS BOUNTY. She was fitted
out to accommodate 40 Cadets. In July weekly courses
started for Cadets from all Units. These ended in
September and the ship closed down.
The shortage of visual and wireless ratings in the
Royal Navy led to special three-week training courses
being run on board TS BOUNTY for Sea Cadets, to
qualify them more quickly for entry into the RN.
This made good use of the training and skills they
had already gained in the Cadets and meant a considerable
saving in training time for the Admiralty.
The 1941 scheme had caught the Admiralty’s
imagination. As a result, the Admiral Commanding
Reserves took over the training role, HM King George
VI became Admiral of the Corps, Officers were granted
appointments in the RNVR and the Corps was renamed
the Sea Cadet Corps. A huge expansion to 400 Units
and 50,000 Cadets coincided in many towns with Warship
Weeks, so the newly formed Unit took the same name
as the adopted warship. The Admiralty now paid for
uniforms, equipment, travel and training, while
the Navy League funded sport and Unit headquarters.
In the same year, the Girls’ Naval Training
Corps was formed as part of the National Association
of Girls’ Corps, with Units mainly in southern
The Sea Cadet Council was set up to govern the Corps,
with membership from the Navy League and the Royal
Navy, and a retired Captain took on the task of
supervision, first as Secretary to the Council and
later as Captain, Sea Cadet Corps.
The Commandant General, Royal Marines asked permission
to form a Marine Cadet Section that could be fitted
into the existing organisation and the Council agreed
to this. By 1964 the Section had expanded from the
original five Detachments to 40. Today there are
The Girls’ Nautical Training Corps became
affiliated to the Sea Cadet Corps, in many cases
sharing the same premises with local Units.
The Navy League was renamed the Sea Cadet Association
since support of the Sea Cadets and Girls’
Nautical Training Corps had become its sole aims.
The admission of girls into the Sea Cadet Corps
was approved and the Girls’ Nautical Training
Corps ceased to exist as a separate body.
In November the Sea Cadet Association merged with
the Marine Society to form a new charity ‘The
Marine Society & Sea Cadets’.
Tel: 0161 308 4252
Images from Years Gone By
A Brief History Of Tameside Sea CadetsVENTS