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....


Dunstable Sea Cadets are based at the Old Mill, West Street, Dunstable. There has been a windmill in Dunstable since the late 1700’s, ours was built in 1839. 

The unit was set up for Sea Cadets by the late Admiral Sir Lionel Preston KCB.

The unit was set up in 1938 and provided training for young boys wishing to enter the Royal Navy during WW2. Back in the 1940’s there were approximately 80-100 cadets training at these premises, many of whom went on to join the Royal Navy. The training they received held them in good stead and on many occasions fast-tracked them into the senior service for wartime duties.

Today we offer training on land and afloat for up to 60 cadets and the unit operates at Burgee standard.

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