Volunteer Cadet Corps

The Volunteer Cadet Corps is a national youth organisation managed by the United Kingdom's Royal Navy and sponsored by the UK’s Ministry of Defence. The VCC comprises of:
The VCC is not part of the Sea Cadet Corps but exists alongside it as part of the Royal Navy's 'Navy Cadets' organization, which also includes CCF and RN Recognised Sea Scouts. 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 VCC

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 " 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. Girls were accepted and the current title was adopted by all units in the 1970s. However, RMVCC Portsmouth only accepted girls from the mid-1990s.
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. 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 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.
As of 6 July 2014, following a tri-partite RMC parade at Buckingham Palace in the presence of The Duke of Edinburgh and in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Marines, all cadets from the RMVCC, RMSCC and RMCCF can be titled as Royal Marines Cadets.
The Royal Naval Volunteer Cadet Corps was formed in 1904 when the officer in charge of HMS Victory barracks in Portsmouth, now known as HMS Nelson, requested permission from Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth to form a cadet corps unit similar to the Royal Marines Artillery Cadets in Eastney. The Admiralty granted permission and soon units were also established at HM Dockyard Devonport, HM Dockyard Chatham,, HMS Daedalus, and, as well as the three RNVCC units that still exist today. Entry was originally restricted to the sons of serving ratings but was later opened up to boys and girls from the general public. The date of the request, 29 July 1904, is regarded as the birthday of the Royal Naval Cadets.
Tragedy struck the RNVCC in 1929 when four Royal Naval Cadets were killed during the Gillingham Fair in what is now known as the Gillingham Fair fire disaster. There was equally a sad occasion in the Medway area when 24 Royal Marines Cadets from RMVCC Chatham were killed in the Gillingham bus disaster in December 1951.

Structure and Organisation

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 who report into HQVCC, led by two Executive Officers 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 Liaison 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 and Youth group under the command of the Assistant Chief of Staff who in turn reports to Flag Officer Sea Training. The support provided to the VCC is governed by a Memorandum of Arrangements 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 shares the Colonel Commandant Royal Marines Cadets, currently Brigadier Ged Salzano MBE, with the Royal Marines Cadets elements of the SCC and CCF.
In November 2019, TV celebrity and former Royal Marines Commando Ant Middleton was appointed as the first Chief Cadet in the VCC. “What a privilege and honour to be appointed Chief Cadet in the VCC. I absolutely thrive on mentoring our future generation” Ant said upon his appointment at a brief ceremony in the Wardroom at HMS Excellent.
The Motto of the RMVCC is now 'Be Worthy' and the Motto of the RNVCC and VCC overall is 'Meet The Challenge!'.


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. Adult volunteers may join from age 18 to 60 subject to application, interview, references and DBS check.

Activities and Training

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 or General Duties Training. Cadets then follow the VCC's Cadet Common Military Syllabus 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.


Royal Naval VCC Rates

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 rates:

Royal Marines VCC Ranks

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:

Adult Volunteers

All uniformed and non-uniformed staff undergo enhanced DBS 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 and previous military experience is not a basic requirement; a willingness to learn and be an example to the cadets very much is however. CFAVs follow the same ranks as cadets above Petty Officer and Sergeant respectively but with RNVCC or RMVCC after their names. Some CFAVs may be awarded a Cadet Forces Commission subject to selection and approval by the Royal Navy.
Uniformed staff may serve until their 65th birthday and non-uniformed staff may serve until their 70th birthday.