On Saturday 12th May, Sea Cadets provided uniformed support and Guard of Honour at Chatham Historic Dockyard to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Launch of HMS Oscelot. The last Royal Navy Ship to be built and launched at Chatham.
The event was very high profile with three Royal Naval Admirals present as well as Two Commodores, MPs and other local dignitaries such as the Mayor and Mayoress of Medway.
The day started with a Church Service in the Royal Dockyard Church. From there a parade marched down to HMS Oscelot which is now on permanent display in dry dock next HMS Cavalier. The parade was led by the band of the Royal Marines (Lympstone) with a division of veteran’s standards, one of Royal Naval Reserve and Sea Cadets from Chatham Royal Marine Cadet Unit, Medway Towns, Maidstone and Dartford.
Later that evening at close of festivities a ceremonial sunset was held, with Bands from Royal Marines (Lympstone, Rochester Pipe Band and the band of the Duke of Yorks School (CCF) unit. A ceremonial Guard and Colour were provided by the West Kent Sea Cadets again made up of cadets from Medway Towns, Dartford and Maidstone. A colour party from Chatham Royal Marine Cadets had the honour of lowering the Admirals Flag at Sunset.
Guest of honour on the day was Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE who has a historic link with HMS Oscelot as her captain from 1987 to 1990. Many of the older cadets and staff will remember him on his visits to the Medway as Captain of HMS Chatham in 1997 and 1998. Admiral Soar commended the Sea Cadets for their “seamanlike bearing and professional attitude during the day”.
Senior Sea Cadet Officer on the day Lt Cdr Steve Small said “The Cadets and adult staff were a credit to their units and the Sea Cadets as a whole. Many of them were recently at National Drill Competition with Dartford coming 4th and Medway Towns 2nd in their specific disciplines”. He added “We are all proud of the effort they put in and standards they achieve, but they should be proud of themselves for such an excellent performance”.
Officer of the Colour and Commanding Officer of Maidstone Sea Cadets Sub Lt Nick Gilks said. “It was an honour for us to take part today and to work alongside the Royal Marines Band is something the Cadets will remember for the rest of their lives”.
The Sea Cadets will be returning to Chatham Historic Dockyard in force on Sunday 9th September 2012 for the Southern Area Band Contest, which will sea bands and soloists from as far away as Southampton, Pool and Oxford, as well as the locals from Herne Bay and Tunbridge Wells.
They can also be seen on many weekend manning HMS Cavalier as they stay on board for training events