History

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....

Training Ship Kent's origins go back to the former Naval Cadets who met in the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness in the 1930s. It was run by naval personnel but following the closure of the training establishment before the Second World War the Unit was opened up to boys from the town.

At the outbreak of the second world war the civilian instructors were appointed to ranks in the RNVR and as a result of the "Bounty Scheme" and the unit became known as the "Sheerness Sea Cadets"

Sheppey Sea Cadet Unit No 301 as we know it today was incorporated in to the Navy League Sea Cadet Corps on 29th June 1942 and first met at New Road Sheerness before moving to the present site at Barton's Point in 1954. Other headquarters prior to the R.A.B. Sports ground in New Road included HM Dockyard: The Sail-makers Loft, The Stables and HMS Wildfire, they also paraded at the Towers Hall Sheerness High Street and the Oxford Cinema Russell Street. The first RN inspection by the Royal Navy of the Unit was carried out in 1952 at the New Road Headquarters.

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