“Benbow” Mitcham Sea Cadet Corps (No. 243 Unit)

From the Mitcham Youth Handbook of 1949

The “Benbow” Mitcham Sea Cadet Corps started in 1932 as the Streatham Sea Cadet Corps under S.C.-Lieut. J. Taylor, at Sunnyhill Road School, Streatham. During 1937 command passed toS.C.-Lieut. H. Hedges, and the Unit was re-named the Streatham and Mitcham Sea Cadet Corps.

During 1942 the Unit was divided, and a new Unit was formed back in Streatham. The original Streatham Unit from 1942 onwards was called “Benbow” Mitcham Sea Cadet Corps.

At the outbreak of war, most of its Officers were called up for service in the Royal Navy, and owing to the heavy barrage over London and the Unit Headquarters being taken for the Local Food Office, the numbers were reduced to 16. But they still carried on and were the backbone of the Unit as it is today. Quite a number of Sea Cadets were called up for Service, and it is with deep regret, also gratitude and pride, that the Unit records that one officer and many Cadets died in the service of their country.

In pre-war days Cadets spent happy times at various camps:-

1. Annual ;sea-going’ fortnight in the old 74-Gun Ship Implacable, at Portsmouth.
2. On the Norfolk Broads at Potter Heigham,
3. Aboard the Ethel Edith, at Pinmill, which during the war had to be blown up as a block ship and sadly ended her days, which had, in earlier times, defrauded His Majesty’s Customs by her smuggler crew.

All camps are organised on strict naval lines, which comprise Cadets joining the H.M. ships in home waters and serving as crew, namely, in destroyers, frigates, aircraft carriers and submarines. Certain Cadets who are keen on flying join Fleet Air Arm bases and get considerable experience in flying and the complicated mechanism of naval aircraft.

Merchant shipping affords one of the many attractions, and a number of the main shipping companies will take Sea Cadets on their vessels as fas as Scandinavia and the Baltic, Holland, Denmark and the Mediterranean, according to the time at the disposal of the Cadet. These trips also afford means of practising the many years of training put in at the Unit’s own boats lying in the Thames, where anything from boat handling to combined operations are practised. Needless to say, the Regatta is the highlight of the Unit’s year.

To be a Sea Cadet does not mean that a lad will eventually take up a maritime career. The object of the Corps has always been to teach discipline, loyalty, manliness and self-reliance, apart from nautical matters, i.e., seamanship, elementary navigation and pilotage, swimming, etc., and, in short, join that great Brotherhood of the Sea.

Application for entry into the Sea Cadets must be made in writing to the Commanding Officer, and selected candidates are required to pass a standard test. Further information can be obtained on application from the Commanding Officer, Lieut. D.G. Morris, R.N.V.R., Unit Headquarters, Lower Mitcham Primary Schools, Benedict Rd., Church Rd., Mitcham.

Parade times: Sunday, 1030-1230; Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays 1930-2130.

Source: Local Studies Centre, Morden Library, Civic Centre, Morden.
Reference: L2 (369) MIT

Merton Memories Photos

1953 Mayor E.E. Mount inspects the Benbow Sea Cadets during the coronation celebrations for
Queen Elizabeth II.

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