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Sea Cadet Corps, United Kingdom

Last modified: 2007-10-28 by rob raeside
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[Sea Cadet Corps Ensign] by André Coutanche
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The Sea Cadet Corps is a voluntary youth organisation, but not a pre-service organisation, whose aims are:
1. To provide an organisation with which young people can readily identify themselves and in which, based on the high standards of the naval way of life, they can develop the qualities of self discipline, leadership and a sense of responsibility to the community.
2. To stimulate an interest and educate cadets in the importance of the sea and its use to our Nation.
3. To help and encourage those who are considering a career in the Sea Services.

André Coutanche, 21 April 2002

The blue ensign is flown at all Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) units throughout the country and worn by Navy owned vessels attached to the Corps. The SCC has its own Colour, a Union Jack defaced with the SCC badge.

The ensign was introduced in 1942 when the Admiralty took control of the SCC. Before this units had been independent or run by the Navy League. The badge was modified in 1948, and the badge on SCC websites may be based on the original 1942 design. The alteration was described as: "Lettering and star now white on T813 [intermediate blue] background. Anchor now white. White star below anchor to be six-pointed, one point vertical and in circle [illegible word] 2/3rds width of blue circle."

The badge was designed by H.Gresham Carr who edited the 1953, 1956 and 1961 editions of the book Flags of the World. The motto "Ready Aye Ready" was taken from the motto of Robert Scott the Antarctic explorer.

In 1951 the Admiralty approved the use, by officially recognised Sea Cadet units in Commonwealth of Australia, of Colours and Ensign of similar design to those of Sea Cadet units in UK.

The Combined Cadet Force (Royal Navy) had [have?] a similar ensign. The CCF units were usually organised within ordinary schools and had Army and/or Navy and/or Air Force sections depending upon the interests of the particular school. The Navy sections used a Red Ensign until 1958 when it was replaced by a Blue Ensign, similar to that of the Sea Cadets, but with the words Sea Cadet Corps replaced by Naval Section Combined Cadet Force. The first batch of flags had "Corps" instead of "Force" but were used nonetheless.

An earlier SCC ensign was introduced in 1917 for the Training Ship Stork moored on the Thames near Hammersmith Bridge and for the Liscard Training School on the Mersey. It was a Blue Ensign defaced with the badge of the Navy League; a port-bow view of a three-masted "sailing ship afloat surmounted by a cross superior on a rising sun the whole surrounded by a scroll bearing the words Sacrifice : Service, and below a scroll with the words Navy League." This ensign was cancelled in 1922 and all Navy League SC units were then entitled to use a Red Ensign with the Navy League badge in the fly. Warrant date, 15 February 1922.

In 1921 the North Irish Central Association of Sea Cadets had requested a defaced Blue Ensign. A Blue Ensign was refused but they were granted a Red Ensign defaced with "a blue medallion surmounted by a naval crown and bearing in gold letters North Irish Central Association of Sea Cadet Corps and having in the centre a Red Hand, sinister, erect, open and couped." Warrant date 28 August 1922.

David Prothero, 22 and 25 April 2002

Look what turned up today in this month's Navy News. Here is part of a photograph of the new Colour presented to Sea Cadet TS Steadfast at Kingston.

David Prothero, 26 April 2002

The setting for the anchor seems to have acquired the blue from the fly of the ensign, and - rather strangely - the circle and scroll seem to be gold, not lighter blue, and the motto seems to written in black, not white.

André Coutanche 26 April 2002

Seems to be a modification of the badge for use on the Union Jack. There is an additional scroll between the motto scroll and the bottom of the flag. I can make out the letters "gston" so it would appear to read "Kingston Unit".

David Prothero, 27 April 2002

I now have some doubts about the badge described (by me) above. It was the emblem the Navy League used on stationery, but perhaps the badge on the ensign was less elaborate? Navy League units evolved into the Sea Cadets Corps, and I wonder whether the badge on the Sea Cadet Corps ensign was a modification of an existing Navy League badge?

David Prothero, 25 August 2003

Here are some images of the Sea Cadet Corps Colours I came across in the Singapore Archives, to complement the discussion on the flags of the Sea Cadet Corps above. A Colours presentation ceremony was held on 12th December 1953 in Singapore. The Governor of Singapore, His Excellency, Sir John Nicoll presented the Colour to the Sea Cadet Corps. Two photographs (uncoloured) of the event can be seen here:

The Colour unfurled can be seen here, (uncoloured):

For this photograph, the caption read, “T S ‘Faulkner’ banner being showed by a member of the Sea Cadet Corps”. The photograph was dated 1st November 1953.
Herman FMY, 11 November 2003