Sea Cadets date back to the Crimean War when sailors returning home from the campaign formed Naval Lads` Brigades to help those orphans, created by the conflict, who ended up on the back streets of sea ports.
The first brigade was established at Whitstable in 1854. By 1899, Sea Cadets received Royal recognition when Queen Victoria presented the Windsor unit with £10 for uniforms - an event now known as the birthday of the Sea Cadets - celebrated on June 25th.
In 1919 the Admiralty officially recognised the 34 brigades and changed the name to the Navy League Sea Cadet Corps. Lord Nuffield's (founder of Morris Motors) donation of £50,000 enabled the Sea Cadets to expand and by the outbreak of the Second World War there were 100 units around the UK supporting 10,000 cadets with training in seafaring skills. As the war took hold, the Navy League purchased an old sailing vessel TS (Training Ship) Bounty on which the 'Bounty Boys', as they became known, undertook pre-Service training with 1000's going on to active service.
In recognition of the contribution that these brave young people made to the war effort, officers of the Sea Cadets still wear the wavy lace insignia of the wartime Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.
The Admiralty was so impressed that it took over the training and in 1942, with King George VI as Admiral; the Movement adopted Sea Cadet Corps as its name. In the same year, the Girls Naval Training Corps was formed, this ceased to exist as a separate body in 1980 when the admission of girls into the Sea Cadet Corps was approved.
In 1955 a Marine Cadet section was formed within the Sea Cadet Corps. Their training, whilst essentially similar to the Sea Cadets, includes activities like camouflage and concealment.
In 2004 the Marine Society merged with the Sea Cadet Association to form the Marine Society & Sea Cadets. In 2010 the Marine Cadet Detachments, of which there are about 100 in Sea Cadet Units across the UK, were officially renamed Royal Marines Cadets, while remaining part of the Sea Cadet family.