Sea Cadets helps teenagers to stretch themselves and become the best they can be. We know what that takes because we've been doing it for over 160 years.

The turbulence of youth

The pressures that young people face are ever-changing, but what remains constant is that the teenage years can be turbulent. Independence is exciting, but also daunting.

For orphans of the Crimean War, sleeping in the back streets of England’s sea ports, life looked bleak. To help them, coastal communities banded together to provide places for sailors to pass on nautical skills and training to give these destitute young people a future. This is how, in 1856, the Naval Lads’ Brigade was born.

Royal patronage

Soon, they were springing up across the country, and in 1899, Queen Victoria marked their importance to young people by becoming Patron, and giving £10 to the Windsor unit for uniforms.

Today, HM The Queen is our Patron and HRH The Prince Andrew Duke of York KG GCVO is our Admiral of the Corps.

Scroll through our gallery to learn more about our rich history....

Unit 39, a brief history

The unit was formed in 1941 at schools in Whittington Oval, Lea Hall, Birmingham and was originally named T.S. Lea Hall.

In 1943 the unit moved to a large building called Stirling House in Flaxley Road, Stechford next to the railway. Stirling House was named after a race horse (reputed to have been buried in the cellar of Stirling House) and the unit took its name from this, hence the sea horse on the unit crest.

In 1965 the unit sold the property to a brewery and it was demolished and is now the Iron Horse public house.

A new unit was then constructed in its present location in Pithall Road, Shard End. In the interim period the unit used the local church hall in Shard End for its parades.

The foundation stone was laid by the then MP for Stechford the RT Hon Roy Jenkins on 15th September 1966 and was officially opened by the Lord Bishop of Birmingham Rt. Rev J. L. Wilson CMG DD on the 28th October 1967.

The unit was awarded the Stephenson trophy for the best unit in the area in 1958, 78, 84, 85 and 86 and went on to win the Canada Trophy for best unit in the UK in 1984, 1985 and the Canada Plate in 1986.

The units Field Gun display teams ran from 1977 to 1988 and were the only Cadets display team to emulate the Royal Naval Field Gun Display appearing at major show every year with an estimated yearly audience of over 500,000. The teams also appeared on national TV several times.

Stirling is the only SCC Unit to have made an attempt on the round Britain power boat record, and had it not been for the most appalling weather for 50 years in June 1989 and 1990 would have completed the attempt in record time, but take pride in the fact that they beat the Royal Navy challenge at the time.

From 1979 to 1999 the unit has provided Communications and Public Address for events both local and national, in particular Plymouth Navy Days.

The unit received a lottery grant of £438,030 in October 2001 and the refurbished unit was reopened to cadets in April 2002.

The unit is a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Approved Training Centre.

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