“And then I realized adventures are the best way to learn.”
The brief history of our training ships in commission:
TS Woltemade – Cape Town
This training ship was originally started in 1905. In 1968 after the defence force closed the school naval cadets, the training ship changed its name to TS Woltemade. A point of interest of this unit was that in 1920 a contingent of 20 cadets and one officer travelled to England to form part of the crew bringing HMS Thames back to South Africa and which became the SATS General Botha. In 1968 the name TS Woltemade was adopted and set the pattern for all the other units in South Africa. This unit has the distinction of having produced no less than four senior officers, Captain DD Gordon-Davis, Captain P Smith, Captain RGF Toms and Captain AP Blake, indeed an exceptional record. The unit has been one of the larger units and has a great sufficiency of funds as it draws donations from the Sailors Home and various bequests.
TS Tiburon – Durban
Started in 1916. It paraded for many years in SAS Inkonkoni until the South African Navy closed reserve bases. It then moved to its property at Bayhead, adjacent to the Bluff Yacht Club. Parades are held on Sundays. The unit has good boating water up the Bluff Channel.
TS Springs – Springs
TS Springs was started in 1916. For many years the unit paraded on its own piece of ground in Springs. This piece of ground which was very large, also contained a smouldering ash dump of some 3500 tons of ash. In 2004 the Executive of the Sea Cadet Corps decided to sell the piece of ground because the hazardous nature and environmental problem of the ash dump would involve the Sea Cadets in expenditure they could not afford. The unit then relocated to Brakpan, retaining its name as TS Springs and is currently housed in Regiment Oos Transvaal, courtesy of the Officer Commanding the Regiment.
TS Lanherne – Port Elizabeth
Started in 1935 and celebrated its 75th birthday in 2010. It originally paraded in the RNVR Drill Hall, as the Port Elizabeth Sea Cadets, until it moved into SAS Donkin. In 1979 the then OC Naval Base Port Elizabeth, Cdr D Gordon-Davis, gave notice to the unit that it had to find alternative accommodation because there simply was no room for the unit, as the South African Navy personnel and the marines were crowded into SAS Donkin. In 1980 the unit moved into the current building and took the name of the building as the unit name. The building, Lanherne, was built in 1894 for the resident engineer and general manager – Mr R H Hammersley-Heenan and is today a national monument. Since 1980 the unit has been both the largest and second largest in the Sea Cadets. This unit has produced two senior officer Sea Cadets, Captain D Brown and Captain W M Bartie, as well as a Captain of the 84 000 ton Jewel-of-the-Seas (Royal Caribbean) – Captain M Fane also ex South African Navy. The unit is leased from the city council. It currently houses over 150 cadets.
TS Bounty – Vereeniging
TS Bounty opened in 1949 on the banks of the Vaal River. The early commanding officer was Lt Cdr John Smit, a product of the early Naval Gymnasium. The unit has its own swimming bath and lends itself to many group activities in Gauteng. Its boat house often becomes submerged during floods in the Vaal river and it has been suggested that they receive a special submariners badge for the number of times it have been under water! The piece of ground has been donated to the Sea Cadets by Anglo Coal and is indeed the last 600 meters of prime river frontage!
TS Fearless – Centurion
TS Fearless was started in 1987. The unit started life as a division of TS Endeavour in 1983 but because the division's cadets came mainly from Centurion, the division broke away from TS Endeavour in 1987 and formed its own training ship. Its home was the local commando unit until that was closed down. It then moved to the Voortrekker's Hall. It has now relocated to a building in Valhalla. This unit is also responsible for TS Arethusa. TS Arethusa is located at Haartebeestpoort Dam on the last piece of water frontage on its side of the dam. TS Arethusa originally belonged to TS Devonport in Pretoria but when the unit closed, TS Fearless offered to take over the unit. TS Arethusa has no cadets as it is merely a training facility for Fearless or whoever else requires the use of water training.
TS Knysna – Knysna
TS Knysna was started in 1989 when Chief of the South African Navy officiated at the opening during the Knysna Oyster Festival of that year. This unit houses the third largest contingent of cadets. It has many boats of all shapes and sizes. Of all the training ships, TS Knysna is probably the well known to the local municipaliy due to the untiring efforts of Lt Cdr Steve Eriksen. This unit was used as the base for the centenary celebrations in 2005 when the town council accorded the South African Sea Cadets the freedom of the town in recognition of the work done amongst the youth. Vice Admiral J Mudimu, Chief of the South African Navy, reviewed a parade of over 160 cadets from all the Units in South Africa during this celebration.
TS Kromme – St Francis Bay
Open in early in 2002. The Sea Cadets received a call from the Old Bill of the St Francis MOTH Shellhole, Moth Oliver Holmes. Moth Oliver Holmes, a Major General SAAF (Ret) former IG Airforce came to see the Corps Administrator in Port Elizabeth and said his Shellhole wished to start a Sea Scout Troop for the sons of the fishermen of St Francis Bay. When he left the meeting he was convinced the he had to open a Sea Cadet unit as it would cater for the boys and girls and offered maritime instruction. He had the will and initiative to make the unit function. Recently the Freemasons of Humansdorp made a donation for the purchase of uniform for the cadets. The National Sea Rescue Institute donated a four meter rubber duck complete with motor and trailer to the unit.
TS Outeniqua - Mossel Bay
Opened in 1985. This unit utilised the Mossel Bay High School buildings and the National Sea Rescue Institute buildings. The unit produced a the Cadet of the Year in 1989, now Captain Theo Stokes of the South African Navy. The unit has been through difficult times, however due to the concerted efforts of Lt Cdr (SCC) W Maritz and Mr P Vieira of SAMSA the unit was once again resuscitated in 2013 and flourishes.
TS Rook – Krugersdorp
Opened in 2015. The brain child of a Krugersdorp City Councillor, Mr M van Tonder. He transferred to Potchefstroom and Lt Lisa Spencer, a former Sea Cadet of the Year, took over command. Still a very young training ship.
TS Owl – Potchestroom
Open in 2016. Started when Mr van Tonder went to live in Potchefstroom. He is now a Sub Lt and Officer Commanding the Training Ship. There is a dam in the town for sailing. Still a very young training ship.
TS Attakwa – Oudtshoorn
Opened in 2017. Started by a cadet officer from TS Outeniqua who moved to Oudtshoorn. Still a very young training ship.
TS Arethusa – Haartebeestpoort Dam (No ships crest)
TS Arethusa is a training facility which was developed by the Pretoria unit, TS Devonport, for the specific use of getting their cadets onto the water. When TS Devonport closed down the custodianship of TS Arethusa was transferred to TS Fearless. It forms part of the Gauteng training facilities for all the training ships in that area.
The brief history of our training ships out of commission:
TS iNyathi – East London
Opened in 1922. It was for many years housed in SAS Port Rex until Port Rex was closed down at which stage it relocated to the Buffalo Volunteer Rifles [BVR]. It struggled to stay alive. In early days cadets used to be fetched and carried in military transport. The training ship closed in 2004.
TS Immortelle – Johannesburg
Opened in 1916. After world war two the Navy League Branch in Johannesburg, leased a piece of ground on Wemmer Pan and built a base building for the cadet unit. This building was later sold to the Public Works Department and housed SAS Rand, a South African Navy reserve base. A new base was built for the Sea Cadets. The training ship closed in 2011.
TS Devonport – Pretoria
Opened in 1925. The training ship closed in 1996.
TS Assegai – Pietermaritzburg
Opened in 1947. Boating was done at the Albert Falls Dam. When their home base reverted to the owner of the property, the unit moved to the military reserve base in Pietermaritzburg until it closed down in 1997.
TS Zwartkops – Port Elizabeth
Opened in 1973. Started as a division of the Port Elizabeth Unit and broke away in 1973 to form its own Unit. In 1992 it was absorbed back into TS Lanherne.
TS Kingfisher – Durban
Opened in 1982. This unit paraded at SAS Salisbury Island until the South African Navy brought about changes on the Island. The training ship closed in 2002.
TS Endeavour – Midrand (No ships crest)
Opened in 1983. This unit paraded at the Leeukop Prison. It was very successful, however had to close down when the prison changed their policy regaring cadets using the premises. The training ship closed in 1997.
TS William Weller – Port Elizabeth
A steam pilot boat built in Italy in 1952. It was acquired by Quarry Sales in Port Elizabeth for R1 000 from Portnet and donated to the then Port Elizabeth Sea Cadets to be used for sea training. In 1992 a marine survey revealed a number of major problems which would cost in the region of R2M to repair. She was decommissioned and finally broken up on the slip in Port Elizabeth Harbour.
TS Pelikaan – Walvis Bay (No ships crest)
1986 – 1990. Closed when South West Africa became independent as Namibia.
TS Middelburg – Saldanha (No ships crest)
Opened in 1991. The training ship closed in 1992.
TS Excalibur – Springs
Opened in 1992. Paraded at the Springs High School and was very successful. The training ship closed in 1999.
TS Prince Alfred - Port Alfred (No ships crest)
Opened in 1993. The unit was started after Mr Keith Adams and Captain Waldie Bartie addressed the citizens of Port Alfred. Professor J C Milln became its first commanding officer. The training ship closed in 1998.
TS Bonaventure – Unitie (No ships crest)
Opened in 1994. The brain child of an ex-Gauteng cadet officer who had relocated to Cape Town. The parades took place every Friday evening at SAS Unitie. The training ship closed in 1997.
TS iNkwazi – Richards Bay (No ships crest)
Opened in 1994. Paraded at the John Ross College in Richards Bay but was not linked to the College. The training ship closed in 2003.
TS Mashihlanganeni – Brakpan (No ships crest)
Opened in 1997. Was started by the same officer who ran TS Excalibur, Lt Norval. The training ship closed in 1999.
TS Eagle – George
Opened in 1997. The training ship closed in 2005.
TS Drongo – Sedgefield
Opened in 2006. Started by a retired South African Navy Warrant Officer, Barry Carol. The training ship closed in 2010.
TS Pelican – Cape Town (No ships crest)
Opened in 2008. Operated at the Milnerton Yacht Club. The training ship closed in 2009.
W M Bartie
Executive Director: Captain (SCC)
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