Portsmouth Division RMVCC is the oldest unit in the Volunteer Cadet Corps having ‘stood up’ on 14 February 1901 in Eastney, Portsmouth. The first commanding officer of the Division was Captain William Harkness RMA, now regarded as the ‘founding father’ of the VCC.
Having moved from Eastney Barracks in 1991 and then again from HMS Nelson in 2001, the Portsmouth Division RMVCC is now based at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, and located next to Navy Command Headquarters. The Division has over 200 personnel on its books and is the largest of the VCC units. Cadets meet on Tuesday and Friday evenings and can also attend swimming practice on Thursday evenings and shooting lessons on Saturday mornings, all without extra charge.
The cadets in Portsmouth participate in all of the usual RMC training and activities, making good use of Longmoor and Browndown training areas, as well as the New Forest and the South Downs. Our cadets will often stay out on the training areas at weekends as they are instructed in field craft, but always supervised by adults. They will learn tactics, field cooking and personal hygiene, irrespective of the weather! The cadets aren’t always in green however, and will often be looking smart on parade in their blue dress uniforms, especially in Guildhall Square on Remembrance Sunday.
Like our other RMVCC Divisions, our recruits undergo basic training for about 4 to 5 months as they are introduced to drill, map reading, navigation, first aid, field craft and Corps history. The recruits’ training finishes with a weekend exercise on Longmoor where their field skills are assessed and then a Pass Out parade in front of very proud family and friends. The top recruit is awarded the prestigious Belle Isle Award. Having ‘passed out’, our cadets can join our General Duties Training or Musical Training routes.
The Portsmouth Division has a worthy musical tradition, our Band having playing at the Royal Tournament several times with our fellow musicians from Plymouth and the now closed Royal Marines Light Infantry Cadet Marching Band in Gosport.
Our Band offers new and accomplished young musicians the chance to learn a variety of instruments including the side drum, cornet, bass drum, clarinet and flute, and they wear the same ceremonial blue uniform as adult Royal Marines musicians including.
The Band is assisted by musicians from the Royal Marines Band Service and regularly plays at ceremonial parades in the Portsmouth area. Young people who already possess excellent musical abilities may sometimes join us as Direct Entrants (subject to audition), bypassing most of their recruit training so they can concentrate on developing their musical skills further. Many of our former Band cadets have gone on to distinguished careers in the Royal Marines Band Service. The Band is available to appear at public and private events, and all we ask is a small donation to cover our costs.
The Portsmouth Division also has a Field Gun display team. A team of 20 well trained cadets compete against other cadet units, including HMS Collingwood and HMS Sultan cadets, in a 100 yard race with an original Boer War 7 pounder muzzle loading Field Gun. The gun weighs over a third of a ton and each wheel weighs about 70 pounds, the same weight as a small cadet! Having also appeared at the Royal Tournament and more recently at the Kirkcudbright Tattoo, our cadet Field Gun is an exciting display of enthusiasm, fitness, discipline and teamwork.
See more about our activities in public here or read our recruit induction guide.
For enquiries about joining as a cadet or adult volunteer, or about booking our Field Gun or Band please contact us:
- Address: Portsmouth Division RMVCC, Alamein Block, HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO2 8ER.
- Telephone: 023 9254 9475.
- Training Nights: Tuesday and Fridays 1830 to 2030, plus fitness club on Wednesday evenings, swimming on Thursday evenings and target shooting on Saturday mornings.
Our key personnel are:
- Commanding Officer: Lt Col Terry Wing RMC.
- Second-in-Command: Capt Chris Spratt RMC.
- Training Officer: WO2 Gary Langworthy RM.