The history of National Cadet Corps dates as far back as May 1901 when C M Philips, the acting principal of Raffles Institution formed a cadet corps unit composed of existing and ex-Rafflesians. By 1905, Raffles Institution Cadet Corps was formed. This was followed by the creation of the St Joseph’s Institution Cadet Corps in 1906.
The Cadet Corps in Singapore during those early years was aimed more at training the youths for the Singapore Volunteer Corps rather than making it a youth organization. The interest level and enthusiasm, however, began to wane during World War 1 and by the end of 1916, the membership had diminished.
In 1917, steps were taken by the Education authorities to revive the Cadet Corps on a new basis. It was decided that six schools (Raffles Institution, StJoseph ‘s Institution, Anglo-Chinese School, St Andrew’s School, Outram Road School, and Victoria Bridge School ) should each form a Cadet Unit. This time, the Cadet Corps in school would be entirely separated from that of the Volunteer Corps. The aim of the movement was to improve the physique and discipline of the boys, and to inspire them with ideals of esprit-de-corps and patriotism.
In 1918, all the six selected schools formed their Cadet Units under the command of their own Cadet Officers. Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) from various military regiments in Singapore and Wardens from the Prisons helped in the training of the school unit, which included squad drill, recognition of the different parts of a riffle, fields signals and military games.
The usefulness of the military training became apparent during the outbreak of the Second World War. A large number of cadets from St Joseph’s Institution, St Patrick’s School and Raffles Institution joined the Singapore Volunteer Corp (SVC) and fought against the Japanese troops in the defence of Singapore. In light of their role in the defence of Singapore, the Japanese banned the Cadet Corps in schools.
The Cadet Corps movement was eventually revived in the post-war years with the end of the Japanese Occupation.
The Singapore Sea Cadet Corps was started in 1948 with the formation of a unit from the Junior Technical School. With its training syllabus based on the UK Sea Cadet Corps programme, the corps soon expanded to include five more school units and two open units by 1951. The Sea Cadet Corps HQ was a converted Japanese Patrol Craft moored in Kallang Basin. It later shifted to a Public Work Department office, then to a petrol kiosk. The Governor of Singapore presented the Sea Cadets with their Colours in a formal parade.
The Air Cadet Training Corps was officially recognised on 14 July 1949, when the Singapore Legislative Assembly passed the “MATC Ordinance 1949 Bill” whereby all administration and training of the corps were governed by this Ordinance under the control of the Defence Ministry. This jurisdiction was transferred to the Education Ministry in 1963.
In 1965, the Ministry of Education launched its Cadet Corps expansion programme. The programme was launched by the Ministry to meet the demands of the Republic in preparation for National Service in 1967.
In 1967, the first girls’ unit—Raffles Girls’ School, was formed in single gender (female) and mixed secondary schools.
In 1969, the land, sea, air and the police cadets were integrated under one organisation – the National Cadet Corps.
The year 1969 also saw the establishment of the NCC Headquarters which is responsible for the training, discipline and welfare of the cadet movements. In 1970, the Police arm left the NCC to form the NPCC under the Ministry of Home Affairs whereas NCC continued under the Ministry of Defence. This occurred when the then Ministry of Interior and Defence was re-organised to form two separate ministries: Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
By 1971, there were 82 Land (Boys) units, 52 Land (Girls) units, 3 Sea Training Centres and an Air Training Centre.
In 1972, the NCC Council was formed as the highest policy making body and the NCC Act was promulgated in 1973.
1984 saw the first recruitment of girls into our NCC Sea and Air units.
Prior to 2001, NCC Headquarters was dispersed into 4 separate camps namely Springleaf Camp, Haig Road Camp, Pasir Panjang Camp and Jalan Teck Whye Camp. HQ NCC was not centralised until the year 2001, with the opening of a single NCC Campus at Amoy Quee Camp, on 30 May.
The year 2001 was a significant one for NCC as it marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the elite organisation.
2006 – 105th Anniversary Dinner and Award Presentation and the opening of the Motivation Hall by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister of Defence, on 9 September.
Today the National Cadet Corps (NCC) is one of the biggest UGs in the MOE family of Uniformed Groups with a wide variety of programmes. The NCC syllabus not only consists of adventure training and also the chance to participate in the many overseas trips. NCC cadets actively participate in the International Cadet Exchange Program (ICEP) which allows them to visit countries like Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States. They can also embark on experiential learning through Service Learning projects in China and Indonesia.
2011 – The year 2011 marks the 110th anniversary of NCC which culminates in a 110th Parade in July presided by the President of Singapore, S.R. Nathan.
2014 – In an unprecedented move, our cadets from NCC performed in the show segment in the 2014 National Day Parade, showcasing their flair and discipline as they wowed Singapore with their flag drill performance.
2016 – NCC had the opportunity to showcase some of their programmes during the 1st Uniformed Groups Carnival at Ngee Ann City Plaza. They also organised the biennial 14th National Camp where all Uniformed Groups came together to experience outdoor activities, and to bond with members of other Uniformed Groups.
2017 – NCC introduced the Cadet Strong framework and piloted with nine NCC units. The framework is centred on developing a Strong Body, a Resilient Mind, and a Committed Heart in every NCC cadet. Fitness Challenge and Road Relay were initiated to improve cadets’ fitness and build a sense of commitment to their unit.
2018 – NCC rolled out the Cadet Strong framework to all units. Land Expedition was initiated for NCC land cadets. The objectives of the expedition were to develop cadets’ body, mind and heart.