Local sea cadets reach milestone

Admiral Rayner inspects HMCS Rainbow cadets

RAdm. H.S. Rayner is seen here inspecting the Guard and pauses to speak to Guard Officer Lt. Hector Renton.

Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Rainbow recently turned 95 and celebrated with a special parade at Government House. The cadets were inspected by Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon and Commander Maritime Forces Pacific Rear Admiral Bill Truelove.

The Lieutenant Governor presented the band with a Drum Major’s mace and five silver bugles. In addition, 11 cadets received bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards.  

It has been 43 years since Rainbow last paraded at Government House.

95 years of training youth

Founded in 1918, Rainbow was originally called the “Boys Naval Brigade.” Many of those first sea cadets went on to join the RCN Volunteer Reserve when it started up in 1923. In that same year, the name was officially changed to the “Sea Cadet Corps.” Since the beginning, Sea Cadets have been supported by the Navy League of Canada, itself founded in 1895.

Early training was very hands on with lots of sailing, boat pulling, seamanship, camping, and of course parade-ground work.

The Sea Cadet program grew throughout the great depression and Second World War and spread across the country. In 1941, the RCN officially partnered with the Navy League to jointly support Sea Cadets, and in 1942 King George VI bestowed the honorific “Royal Canadian” to the Sea Cadet Corps and became their first Admiral.

After the war the old RN/RCN establishment at Comox was commissioned as HMCS Quadra in 1952.  Since then, tens of thousands of cadets have spent summers training at Goose Spit in Comox Harbour.

Following unification in the late 1960’s, Sea Cadet Officers were formally commissioned into the reserves as members of the Cadet Instructors List. It is now called the Cadet Instructors Cadre, and more than 7,000 officers run 1,150 Sea and Army Cadet Corps and Air Cadet Squadrons across Canada.

Since 1975, girls have been a part of the sea cadet program. Prior to that, a separate “Wrenette” corps existed. Today, boys and girls aged 12 to 18 have opportunities to learn skills such as sailing, first aid, music, seamanship, and leadership as well as participating in summer camps, HMC Ship deployments and international exchanges.

The cadet program is currently undergoing a resurgence with parents and cadets drawn to the structure, discipline, organization, and quality training.

Rainbow’s Wednesday evening training takes place at Venture, the Naval Officers Training Centre at Work Point, and at Sea Cadet Corps in Sidney, Colwood and Sooke.

RCSCC Rainbow, at age 95, has a solid record of accomplishments.  Rainbow sailors have competed nationally, and this year two cadets will travel to Florida to represent Canada at the North American U19 Regatta.

Equally impressive are the cadets’ skills in marksmanship, band, and seamanship. Above all, Sea Cadets is a fun place to learn life-long skills and build enduring friendships. As RAdm Truelove noted at the recent Government House ceremony, “It’s cool to be in cadets.”
For further information on RCSCC Rainbow visit www.victoriaseacadets.com.

-Lt(N) Jamie Webb, CO RCSCC Rainbow

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