Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps

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Volunteer Cadet Corps
Founded 14 February 1901
Country United Kingdom
Role Volunteer Youth Organisation
Size 400-500 Cadets
Units Plymouth
HMS Excellent
HMS Collingwood
HMS Sultan
Motto(s) Meet the Challenge
Commander VCC Lt Col T E Wing RMC

The Volunteer Cadet Corps (VCC) is a national youth organisation sponsored by the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and recognized by the UK's Ministry of Defence. The VCC comprises three elements:

The Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps are part of the Royal Marines Cadets family alongside the Royal Marines Cadets of the Sea Cadet Corps and Combined Cadet Force.

History of the Royal Marines Volunteer Cadet Corps[edit]

The VCC traces its history back to the formation of the Royal Marines Artillery Cadet Corps in the Mission Hall, Prince Albert Street, Eastney on 14 February 1901. The new Cadet Corps was then based at the now closed Royal Marines Eastney Barracks in 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 RMACC was initially formed 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 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 Marine Barracks, Chatham, Deal, Kent, Forton Barracks, Gosport and Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth. 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. Cadets from the RMVCC have appeared at Navy Days and the Royal Tournament as well as in the 1955 film The Cockleshell Heroes.

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.

History of the Royal Naval Volunteer Cadet Corps[edit]

The RNVCC was formed in 1904 when the officer in charge of HMS Victory barracks in Portsmouth, now known as HMS Nelson, requested permission to form a cadet corps unit similar to the Royal Marines Artillery Cadets in Eastney. Soon units were also established at HM Dockyard Devonport, HM Dockyard Chatham, HMS Dryad, HMS Daedalus, HMS Dolphin and HMS Vernon, as well as the three RNVCC units that still exist today.

Structure and Organisation[edit]

Each VCC unit is staffed by unpaid adult volunteers, some with former military service, and sometimes with current serving personnel helping the Cadet Corps in addition to their duties. The units are under the command of their own Commanding Officers (usually a cadet force adult volunteer (CFAV) who report into HQVCC, led by two Executive Officers (one each for RNVCC and RMVCC) and a senior CFAV officer as Commander VCC. The VCC as a whole does not have charitable status but each unit is either a charity or in the process of applying.

Each VCC unit is either based within or provided support from a designated Royal Navy parent establishment. The CO of the parent establishment acts as the President of each unit and appoints a senior officer from their staff to act as the Supervising Officer to ensure that the CO is running their unit in accordance with the VCC Regulations.

Sponsorship within the Royal Navy is provided by the Cadets, Universities and Youth (CUY) group of Commander Core Training and Recruiting (COMCORE) who in turn reports to Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST). The support provided to the VCC is governed by a Memorandum of Arrangements (MOA) approved by the Second Sea Lord. The VCC does not have an associated civilian charity or association and has always been under the command of the Royal Navy. In this way the VCC is very much 'owned' by the Royal Navy.

The ceremonial head of the VCC is the Commandant VCC, currently awaiting appointment. The RMVCC also shares the Colonel Commandant Royal Marines Cadets (CCRMC), currently Colonel Paul Cautley CMG OBE DL.


The VCC receives a modest capitation grant from central government each year, but otherwise is self-funding apart from the logistical support each unit receives from their parent establishments. Additional funding is usually self-raised through events and display groups, plus donations and subscriptions/joining fees paid by the cadets.


The VCC will accept boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 17 who can serve until their 18th birthday. The VCC is not a pre-service organisation, although any older cadets who show 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.

Activities and Training[edit]

Cadets can take part in a variety of activities including:

Boys and girls join their chosen VCC unit as 'recruits' and undergo a 4 to 5 month basic training period before 'passing out' for duty during a ceremonial parade in front of family and friends. Where a unit has a band cadets can choose either to become a musician or drummer, or proceed to Naval General Training (RNVCC) or General Duties Training (RMVCC). Cadets then follow the VCC's Cadet Common Military Syllabus (CCMS) and progress through a number of phases and command courses to achieve promotion.

Each unit usually meets on two training nights per week, and some unit offer extra activities such as evening swimming lessons. There are also many weekends away and a week long annual summer camp.

The VCC also provides Display Teams that appear at public events in the South West and South East of England, and sometimes further afield. In recent times, the VCC has appeared at the Castle Combe Steam Rally, Cumbria Steam Rally, Attleborough Tattoo, Kirkcudbright Tattoo and the Battle of the Flowers in Jersey. The Display Teams generally provide a 20 to 25 minute display and are ideal for fetes, fayres, tattoos, carnivals and other such public events. A modest donation is asked for, which is put towards the cost of attending, and any funds left over are put back into the VCC to fund its other activities.

RNVCC Ranks[edit]

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.
  • Cadet.
  • Able Cadet.
  • Leading Cadet.
  • Petty Officer Cadet.
  • Chief Petty Officer Cadet.
  • Warrant Officer Cadet.

RMVCC Ranks[edit]

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.
  • Cadet.
  • Cadet Lance Corporal.
  • Cadet Corporal.
  • Cadet Sergeant.
  • Cadet Colour Sergeant.
  • Cadet Warrant Officer 2 (usually as CSM).
  • Cadet Warrant Officer 1 (usually as RSM).

CFAVs follow the same ranks above Petty Officer and Sergeant respectively but with RNC or RMC after their names. Some staff may be given an officer appointment rank (but are not deemed to be commissioned) subject to approval by the CO of the Unit's parent establishment and COMCORE having attended a promotion board.

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]