Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets

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Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets
The Girls Venture Corps Badge
Active1940 - Present
RoleVolunteer Youth Organisation
Corps CommandantYvonne McCarthy

The Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets (GVCAC) is a voluntary uniformed youth organisation in the United Kingdom for girls aged between 11 and 20. It is a registered charity,[1] and a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).[2] The current Corps Director is Brenda Layne, MBE, and the Corps Commandant is Yvonne McCarthy. The GVCAC receives no funding from the Ministry of Defence (MoD). All adult staff members are subject to security and Criminal Records Bureau checks.[3]


The GVC has its origins in 1940 as part of the National Association of Training Corps for Girls. This umbrella organisation was responsible for the Girls' Training Corps (GTC), Girls' Nautical Training Corps (GNTC) and Women's Junior Air Corps (WJAC).[3]

First woman to break sound barrier[edit]

Diana Barnato Walker climbing into the cockpit of a Spitfire whilst serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary

Former Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, Diana Barnato Walker, became a pilot for the Women's Junior Air Corps (WJAC) shortly after the war, giving cadets training and air-experience flights to air-minded teenage girls to encourage them to enter the aviation industry. In July 1948, an aircraft that she was flying caught fire near White Waltham. Rather than bale out and lose the WJAC’s aircraft, she switched off the fuel and glided the aircraft back. In 1963 she undertook a flight in an English Electric Lightning, attaining 1,262 mph (Mach 1.65) in a two-seat T.4 trainer and thus became the first British woman to exceed the speed of sound.[4][5]

Girls Venture Corps[edit]

In 1964 the Girls Venture Corps replaced both the GTC and WJAC. The previous year, the Girls' Nautical Training Corps became more closely involved with the Sea Cadet Corps[3] and in 1980 became an integral part of the Sea Cadets and ceased to be a separate organisation.[6] The Girls Venture Corps had two wings corresponding to the former GTC and WJAC; it was common at this time for former GTC units to share premises with Army Cadet Force units and for former WJAC units to share premises with Air Training Corps units. From 1983, girls were accepted into the ACF and ATC, which caused many GVC cadets to transfer to their respective counterparts.[7] It was decided that the GVC would focus on air activities and in 1987 the organisation was renamed 'Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets'.



Duke of Edinburgh Award[edit]

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities for young people aged 14 to 25. The Award programme has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, and Cadets are often encouraged to achieve these awards as they progress through their cadet careers. The Award is widely recognised by employers as it helps demonstrate that holders are keen to take on new challenges, have a higher level of self-confidence than their counterparts, and have leadership qualities with experience of teamwork.

Until 2008, some cadets aged 16 or over participated in the Duke of Edinburgh's Millennium Volunteers Award.

Aviation awards[edit]

There is opportunity for all Cadets to undertake practical gliding and powered flying,[8] underpinned by training courses in aviation subjects.

To gain this qualification a single specialist subject is studied:

Challenge Award[edit]

The Challenge Award has drill and etiquette, service to the community, life skills, outdoor/adventure activities, interests/skills, and physical recreation sections.

Drill and etiquette[edit]

The GVCAC, as a uniformed youth organization, sets itself and its members very high standards, including dress and behaviour. Drill (marching) is a vital part of encouraging teamwork, discipline, co-operation and self-confidence. Practicing drill is a means of instilling discipline and teamwork; it is also used in formal parades, for moving around military bases and moving cadets in a smart and orderly fashion. The Corps instills good manners and customs (etiquette) into cadets' behaviours; this transfers into having respect for each other, their family and is often well received by prospective employers.

Other activities[edit]

GVCAC Cadets can also take part in the International Air Cadet Exchange (I.A.C.E), and Nijmegen Marches.

Flying and Gliding Scholarships[edit]

RAFA Flying Scholarship[edit]

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six at Kemble Airfield, Gloucestershire

The Royal Air Force Association each year invites applications from both the ATC and GVCAC for a limited number of flying scholarships.[9]

Ducat-Amos Gliding Scholarships[edit]

In 2007 six grants were awarded to GVCAC Cadets which enabled attendance on a weekend course at a local gliding club. The scholarships were named after Air Commandant Barbara Ducat-Amos CB RRC (1921–2008), Director of the Royal Air Force Nursing Service.[10]


The headquarters is in Tinsley, South Yorkshire, east of the Tinsley Viaduct at junction 34 of the M1 motorway, off the Tinsley Roundabout at the start of the A631. The Meadowhall Centre is nearby to the west.


Cadet ranks[edit]

As well as learning new skills by working through the GVCAC syllabus, experienced cadets can be awarded a rank. The GVCAC allows its cadets to take on responsibility and leadership as non-commissioned Officers or NCOs.

Cadet Ranks and Insignia
Officers Commanding Cadets Senior Cadets Junior Cadets Recruits
GVC paintshop pro 40241.jpg
Girls Venture
Corps Air Cadets

GVCAC Officer Cadet.png GVCAC Unit Sergeant.png GVCAC Sergeant.png GVCAC Corporal.png GVCAC Lance Corporal.png GVCAC Leading Cadet.png No Insignia No Insignia
Officer Cadet No Equivalent Cadet Unit
Cadet Lance Corporal Leading Cadet Cadet Recruit

Staff ranks[edit]

Insignia GVCAC Section Officer.png GVCAC Section Officer.png GVCAC Assistant Unit Officer.png GVCAC Unit Officer.png GVCAC Senior Officer.png GVCAC Honorary Corps Commandant.png
Rank Potential/Acting Section Officer Section Officer Assistant Unit Officer Unit Officer Senior Officer Honorary Corps Commandant


  • Unit
    • Cap
    • Black tie
    • Blue shirt
    • Blue RAF jumper
    • Brassard
    • Lightweight green trousers
    • Black shoes
    • Stable belt
  • Formal (As above but with)
    • RAF skirt
  • Camp uniform
    • Blue shirt or polo shirt
    • Navy blue sweatshirt
    • Lightweight green trousers
    • Black trainers

Unit locations[edit]

Region 1 Region 7 Region 9 Region 11 Region 12 Region 18 Region 25
South Shields (Tyne & Wear) Huntingdon (Cambridge) Culver (Isle of Wight) RAF Marham (King's Lynn, Norfolk) Feltham (Middlesex) Hednesford (Staffordshire) Ollerton (Nottinghamshire)
Gateshead (Tyne & Wear) St Ives (Cambridge) Ryde (Isle of Wight) King's Lynn (Norfolk) Greenford (Middlesex) Smethwick (Oldbury, West Midlands) Rotherham (South Yorkshire)
Wisbech (Cambridge) Newport (temporarily Closed) Southend (Leigh on Sea, Essex) Stafford (Staffordshire) Sheffield (South Yorkshire)
Yaxley (Cambridge) Walsall (West Midlands) Wigston (Leicestershire)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Full list of NCVYS members Archived 12 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c GVCAC HQ website. "The Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets". Retrieved 28 September 2008.
  4. ^ The Independent website (9 May 2008). "The Independent Obituaries, Diana Barnato Walker". London. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  5. ^ Rennell, Tony (6 May 2008). "She flew Spitfires and was the first woman to break the sound barrier - the very racy life of the original fast lady". Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Aviation". Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  9. ^
  10. ^