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  Links with the Sea Cadets

The Company takes great pride in being able to support the Jack Cornwall VC Sea Cadet Unit in Newham through visits, presenting prizes and donations and in the day-to-day issues which they are facing.

The first Sea Cadet unit in the UK was established in 1854 at Whitstable in Kent, created by communities wanting to give young people instruction on a naval theme. Traditionally, old seafarers provided training while local businessmen funded the Unit Headquarters.

This tradition of community-based Sea Cadet Units continues today, with 400 across the UK each with charitable status enabling them to raise funds to meet their running costs. All Units are members of the Sea Cadet Corps and are governed by the national charity: the Marine Society & Sea Cadets (MSSC).

They work in partnership with the Royal Navy under a Memorandum of Understanding and receive corporate support from commercial shipping companies and the Maritime sector. Their core purpose is to celebrate Britain's maritime heritage and contribute to its future development by supporting young people as Sea Cadets.

Newham Unit is proud to bear the name of one of the youngest people ever to have been awarded the Victoria Cross – John (Jackie) Travers Cornwell, a boy seaman from Manor Park who, during the First World War, at the age of only 16 years, gave his life for his country at the Battle of Jutland.

The Unit's 'TS Name', Training Ship Chester, commemorates the ship in which Jackie Cornwell was serving. He won the Victoria Cross because he pulled himself to his feet and waited quietly for orders by his gun as the battle continued to rage, despite being mortally wounded. All his gun's crew lay dead or dying around him. He was taken to the ship's sick bay after the battle and survived until reaching hospital ashore, but his wounds were too severe and three days later he died.

Uniquely, the Unit's Cadets do not wear 'TS Chester SCC' on their cap ribbons but are granted permission to wear 'JT Cornwell VC' instead, in fact this is the only authorised cap ribbon fully enrolled cadets can wear.

This very special honour was bestowed upon the Unit in perpetuity by King George VI at the time the Unit first opened.

The unit was opened in 1942 in the Vicarage Lane primary school located opposite the current building. The unit's first Commanding Officer was Lt John Sears RNVR who was tragically killed by a V2 rocket on his way home from a parade evening. He is laid to rest in a grave immediately behind that of Jackie Cornwell in Manor Park Cemetery and is remembered each year at the Jackie Cornwell VC Parade.

As part of our continued support, in 2016 the Company donated two dinghies to MCCS for the Newham Sea Cadets to use, and established the Endeavour Award, to be presented each year to the Cadet who has contributed most to their community.

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The WCCS Endeavour Award

The Company awards a prize annually to a Sea Cadet who had worked hardest or achieved most for his or her community, to encourage outstanding service above that normally expected from a member of that unit.

The recipient is chosen by the Unit Commanding Officer and each year the prize is presented by the Master, or one of the Court.

The prize was established in 2016, the year of 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, when sixteen year old Boy Seaman 1st class Jack Cornwell of the battle cruiser HMS Chester was awarded a posthumous VC for devotion to duty.

The first recipient of these award is:

Cadet First Class (CFC) JASPER, Kacey-Leigh

This is in recognition of her involvement in following:
• Presentation to her year at school about the Sea Cadets and how they can join
• Organising and acting as the cadet representative for our Recruitment and Open days
• Supporting the dedication of VAD Nurse Edith Munroe Ceremony at Plaistow Jewish Cemetery
• Supporting the Sea Cadet Carol Service at a local Nursing home
• Supporting the Veteran's Dinner at Millers Well in East Ham after the local Remembrance Parade
• Providing an enthusiastic voice at the Christmas Carol Service, hosted by the unit but open to the community.
• Assisting in the preparation and delivery of the Shoebox project for the local homeless shelter.This is even more amazing given that she only joined the Sea Cadets in October 2015!

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