Rise and shine lads – it’s 6am and you’re on holiday

Victory cadets at their summer camp at Hanging Langford in the mid-1950s accompanied by some of the village girls
Victory cadets at their summer camp at Hanging Langford in the mid-1950s accompanied by some of the village girls
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

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How times change. According to the Evening News report, the lads from Victory Cadets were more than happy to rise at 6am for a two-mile run to whet their appetites for breakfast – and a possible career in the Royal Navy.

The year was probably 1955 and the boys were enjoying their annual summer camp at Hanging Langford beside the River Wylye, near Salisbury.

The picture was sent to me by John Porter, of Windsor Road, Waterlooville, in response to various cadets’ features in Remember When recently.

John wonders if readers are aware just how many sea cadets groups there were back in the 1950s and ’60s.

He says: ‘Every establishment in the Portsmouth command had between 60 and 70 boys in attendance usually on two evenings a week.’

And he recalls the highlight of the year was always the summer camp.

‘It was every mother’s dream come true – three weeks away in the school holidays all for the sum of £3.’

John was a member of Victory cadets from 1951 to 1955 when, he says, they won almost every sporting event they entered.

He adds: ‘The team that drove us on to winning was senior commissioned gunner Mr Rose, CGI Spilstead and PTI Bland of the Portsmouth Command boxing team.

‘One of our most famous cadets in the boxing team was Brian Sandy who became well known through the Amateur Boxing Association.’

John says that Mr Rose, who went on to become a lieutenant, served in HMS Belfast in the Arctic convoys and during the D-Day landings of June 1944.

He continues: ‘Mrs Rose kindly lent me these pictures. She’s in her 90s now and lives at Southsea and can still remember some of us cadets.’

John says the ‘team’ photograph (below, right) was taken at Hanging Langford before the lads were marched off to church about a mile away in the next village.

‘We were all invited to sign the visitors’ book.

‘I wish I’d been a bit more sensible in those days... I think I signed myself Roy Rogers.’