Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps

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Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps
Royal Marines Badge
Founded 14 February 1901
Country United Kingdom
Role Volunteer Youth Organisation
Size ~350 Cadets
Headquarters Plymouth
Patron Queen Elizabeth II
Motto Be Worthy

The Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps (RMVCC) is a national youth organisation sponsored by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and the Royal Marines. The Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps is part of the tri-partite family of 'Royal Marines Cadets' that also consists of the Royal Marines elements of the Sea Cadet Corps and the Combined Cadet Force.


The RMVCC was first formed on 14 February 1901 at the now closed Royal Marines barracks in Eastney, Portsmouth. It was formed, so the story goes, to "gainfully occupy the spare time of sons of senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs)" after an occasion when the colonel's office window was broken by a ball kicked by an SNCO's son playing outside.

The RMVCC was initially formed as the Royal Marines Artillery Cadet Corps with the motto 'Manners Maketh Man', and re-titled as the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps in the mid-20th century (sometimes also known as the RM Volunteer Boys Corps). Girl Ambulance Corps units existed alongside RMVBC units for some time, and these were merged with the RMVBC after the Second World War, with the current title being adopted by all units in the 1970s. However, RMVCC Portsmouth only accepted girls from the mid-1990s. The RMVCC is one of the UK's oldest youth organisations tracing its direct heritage back to 1901. It was also the first military cadet organisation to be titled 'Royal'; indeed, its cadets were 'Royal Marines Cadets' from the date of the organisation's formation (the Marine Cadets of the SCC and CCF have only recently been given this distinction).

Since 1901, units were also formed at the Royal Marines barracks in Chatham, Deal, Kent, Gosport, Hampshire and Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon. Later on, another unit was formed at Lympstone, Devon (Commando Training Centre Royal Marines). RMVCC Deal closed when the Royal Marines School of Music left the town and moved to HMNB Portsmouth; RMVCC Chatham transferred to the Sea Cadet Corps when Pay & Records Royal Marines left Chatham in the 1960s, and RMVCC Gosport was disbanded and then re-formed as a non-MOD cadet marching band in the 1970s following the traditions of the Royal Marines Light Infantry but sadly closed again in 2006.

The current Motto of the RMVCC is 'Be Worthy'.

As of the 6 July 2014, following a tri-partite RMC parade at Buckingham Palace in the presence of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (Captain General Royal Marines) and in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Marines, all RM cadets can be title as Her Majesty's Royal Marines Cadets.

Structure and organisation[edit]

There are currently three RMVCC units, known as 'Divisions': Portsmouth, Plymouth and Lympstone. The Portsmouth Division is based at HMS Excellent, Whale Island; the Plymouth Division is based at RM Stonehouse; and the Lympstone Division is based at the Commando Training Centre RM, near Exeter. Each Division is autonomous, there being no single RMVCC HQ. However, rules laid down by FOSNNI (see below) are followed by each Division. The RMVCC is staffed by civilian adult volunteers, some of who have previous military experience, and serving volunteers who provide support in addition to their existing duties. The Commanding Officer of each Division is usually a serving Royal Marines or Royal Navy officer from the parent establishment.

The RMVCC is sponsored by the MOD which provides some funding to each unit. The organisation is overseen by the Corps Colonel Royal Marines (in his position as SO1 RMC) and the Youth Training team of Flag Officer Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland. The ceremonial head of the RMVCC is the Colonel Commandant Royal Marines Cadets (CCRMC), currently Colonel Paul Cautley CMG DL RMR. Additional funding is usually self-raised through events and display groups, plus donations and subscriptions/joining fees paid by the cadets.

Whilst there may be variations between each Division, in general the RMVCC will accept boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 17 who can serve until their 18th birthday.

The RMVCC is not a pre-service organisation, although any cadets who shows an interest in joining any branch of HM Armed Forces will be given support and guidance. Many cadets go on to equally rewarding civilian careers.

Part of the Volunteer Cadet Corps[edit]

The RMVCC in Portsmouth is closely aligned with the Royal Naval VCC (RNVCC) units from HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan. Together, they form the Volunteer Cadet Corps (VCC) dating back to 1904 when the first RNVCC unit was formed at HMS Victory barracks (now HMS Nelson); the model of the VCC was always to be supported by parent RN or RM establishments in support of the local military and civil community, and thus VCC units have generally always been 'establishment' based rather than spread across the communities like the SCC, ACF and ATC. RNVCC units also used to exist at RN Barracks in Chatham and Devonport, as well as HMS Daedalus, HMS Dolphin, HMS Dryad, HMS Vernon. HMS Excellent RNVCC and HMS Nelson RNVCC merged with Portsmouth Division RMVCC in the 1980s and 1990s.

The VCC divisions/units often meet in sports, field gun and other competitions.

Activities and training[edit]

Cadets can take part in a variety of activities including:

Recently Portsmouth Division RMVCC has introduced the Cadet Common Military Training (CCMS) syllabus that mirrors the progression of training used by the Army Cadet Force (ACF). Promotions from Cadet to Sergeant are based on passing command courses, and subsequent promotion based on merit, interviews and additional training and assessment. Portsmouth Division RMVCC has also recently broken into the Social Media era.[1]

Each Division usually meets on two training nights per week, except leave periods in Summer and at Christmas. Also, there is usually a week-long Annual Summer Camp and many weekend activities.

RMVCC Divisions also provides Display Groups that appear at public events in the South West and South East of England and sometimes further afield. In recent times, the RMVCC has appeared at the Castle Combe Steam Rally, Cumbria Steam Rally, Attleborough Tattoo and the Battle of the Flowers in Jersey. The Display Groups generally provide a 20 to 25 minute display and are ideal for fetes, fayres, tattoos, carnivals and other such public events. A modest charge is made, which is put towards the cost of attending, and any profit is put back into the RMVCC to fund its other activities. The 2014 RMVCC Portsmouth Division Display Groups are:

  • Band and Drums - 15 minute marching display including a variety of military music played by a drum and flute band.
  • Field gun competition - 20 minute display involving a slow run followed by a timed or competitive run involving a wheel change and an 'action front'. This display can be booked along with other Field Gun crews from the VCC.


Boys and girls enter as a Recruit, and having 'passed out' at the end of their basic training become a cadet. Command Courses allow the cadets to progress up through the ranks:

  • Recruit (Rct).
  • Marine Cadet (MC or Cdt).
  • Marine Cadet 2nd Class (MC2) (not in use by the Portsmouth Division).
  • Marine Cadet 1st Class (MC1) (not in use by the Portsmouth Division).
  • Lance Corporal (LCpl).
  • Corporal (Cpl).
  • Cadet Sergeant (Cdt Sgt) (last rank available in the Royal Marines Cadets of the SCC).
  • Cadet Colour Sergeant (Cdt CSgt).
  • Cadet Warrant Officer 2 (Cdt WO2).
  • Cadet Warrant Officer 1 (Cdt WO1) (not in use by the Plymouth Division).

Ranks for uniformed adult volunteers at NCO level are:

All ranks for cadets are preceded by the word 'Cadet' (or 'Cdt') and uniformed staff have the post-nominals 'RMVCC' to ensure no confusion with serving personnel in HM Armed Forces. The most senior cadet in each Division can be appointed the Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major (Cdt RSM) if they meet and exceed minimum criteria of standards.

Adult volunteers[edit]

All uniformed and non-uniformed staff (cadet force adult volunteers or CFAVs) undergo enhanced DBS (formerly CRB) checks and a 3 to 6 month probationary period before being confirmed as a CFAV. Training is offered to all staff, including safeguarding, both locally and through RN, RM and SCC shared resources. Applications are welcomed from all walks of life (subject to intended level of involvement) and previous military experience is not a basic requirement; a willingness to learn and be an example to the cadets very much is however.

Uniformed staff may serve until their 65th birthday (with annual extensions at CO's discretion) and non-uniformed staff may serve until their 70th birthday (again, with annual extensions at CO's discretion).

See also[edit]

Elements of the Community Cadet Forces

Other MoD sponsored cadet forces

Related articles


External links[edit]

Social media