Hard on the heels of my recent article about the Royal Marine Volunteer Cadet Corps and its field gun crew, comes Jim Spurrier’s plea for memories of another navy-based organisation for youngsters.
Jim’s two sons, Terry and David, were members of the HMS Victory (now HMS Nelson) Naval Cadets from 1967-1974. He says they both had the time of their lives.
He says David, his younger son, was in the cadets for a long time and ‘reached the dizzying heights of CPO’. He received his Long Service Good Conduct medal from the Commodore of the HMS Victory, then the RN barracks before it was renamed to avoid confusion with Nelson’s flagship.
Jim, of Mallard Road, Milton, Portsmouth, says Terry now lives in Australia, but is seeking information about the cadets during his time with them to publish in the Coast Guard magazine and Returned and Services League publication. He is a member of both.
Jim adds: ‘My family would like to thank all the instructors and their families for making the cadet force a place for young people to get to know what makes the Royal Navy tick.’
He pays tribute to PO Bill Henderson, his wife, and two sons who were also in the force; CPO GI Bob Twyman and Leading Hand Bob Carr.
‘My two sons joined the cadets while living at Milton along with a few more Milton lads: Steven Meade, Andrew Kercher, Roy Cheatham and Gerald Cook. There was a Milton girl who also joined. She was Andrew Kercher’s sister Gillian who became a Petty Officer.
‘The field gun crews used to compete against other naval establishments for the Brickwoods trophy,’ he recalls.
Jim also remembers that Mr Henderson was responsible for getting David, a keen footballer, a trial with Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers.
‘Although he did not take up football, he would never have had the chance if he had not been in the cadet force.
‘We just wanted to give credit to everyone who gave up their free time to make the cadet force such a memorable place.’