The first Sea Cadet unit was established in 1854 at Whitstable in Kent, created by communities wanting to give young people instruction on a naval theme. Traditionally old seafarers provided training while local businessmen funded the Unit Headquarters.

The tradition of community - based Sea Cadet Units continues today with 400 across the UK each with charitable status enabling them to raise funds to meet their running costs. All Units are members of the Sea Cadet Corps and are governed by the national charity MSSC - the Marine Society & Sea Cadets.

We work partnership with the Royal Navy under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and receive corporate support from commercial shipping companies and the Maritime sector. Our core purpose is to celebrate Britain's maritime heritage and contribute to its future development by supporting young people as Sea Cadets.

Newham Unit is proud to bear the name of one of the youngest people ever to have been awarded the Victoria Cross - John Travers Cornwell, a boy seaman from Manor Park who, during the First World War, at the age of only 16 years, gave his life for his country at the Battle of Jutland.

The Unit's "TS Name," Training Ship Chester, commemorates the ship in which Jackie Cornwell was serving. He won the Victoria Cross because, after being mortally wounded, he pulled himself to his feet and waited quietly for orders by his gun as the battle continued to rage. 

All his gun's crew lay dead or dying around him. He was taken to the ship's sick bay after the battle and survived until reaching hospital ashore. But his wounds were too severe and three days later he died.

Uniquely, the Unit's Cadets do not wear "TS Chester SCC" on their cap ribbons but are granted permission to wear "JT Cornwell VC" instead, in fact this is the only authorised cap ribbon fully enrolled cadets can wear.

This very special honour was bestowed upon the Unit in perpetuity by King George VI at the time the Unit first opened in 1942.

The unit was opened in 1942 in the Vicarge Lane primary school located opposite where the current building is situated. The unit's first Commanding Officer was Lt John Sears RNVR who was tragically killed by a V2 rocket on his way home from a parade evening. He is laid to rest in a grave immediately behind that of Jackie Cornwell in Manor Park Cemetary and is remembered each year at the Jackie Cornwell VC Parade.



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Patron: HM The Queen
A charity registered in England and Wales 313013 and in Scotland SC037808