World War I: British School Cadet Program

Figure 1.--Here we see school cadets at a summer camp in Doncaster. I think the photograph was taken during World war I. I canít make out the cap badge.

The War Office took control of all independent Cadet units (1914). They became the Army Cadet Force (ACF) and a source of officers during World War I. We have only limited information on school cadet program during the War. Many of the first schools to have cadet programs were the public schools (private secondary) schools. The English program was functioning in England during World War I (1914-18). Presumably it was the genesis for cadet program in colonial countries like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The cadet programs were organized a both public (pribate secondary) and grammar (Selective secondary schools). The age range at these schools varied, but were for boys from about 12-13 to 18 years of age. That meant that most of the boys at the school in 1914 would eventually be involved in the War. We do not have much information at this time about the cadet program during the War. There were probably cadet programs at most public (privatesecondary) schools. I'm less sure about the grammar (state secondary) schools. There were probably once a week cadet days. Here there would have been inspections and a range of exercizes. There was also some classroom work and a summer camp. I'm not sure how popular the program was during the War and how that may have changed as the War progressed. These schools still have prominently placed scrolls and other memorials listing the boys that fell in the War. We have archived several cadets on HBC. One cadet was J. Hewey at Barnasrd Castle School.


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Created: 3:28 AM 12/3/2006
Last updated: 8:18 AM 3/27/2010