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The Girls’ Nautical Training Corps (GNTC) was set up in 1942 to provide girls with the same experiences as boys in the Sea Cadets. That year retired Royal Naval Commander Claude Woollar and his wife Cecile set up a branch in Bromley.
In 1946 Claude and Cecile went on to establish the English Rose Training Scheme for Girls in Poole, acquiring an ocean-going yacht named English Rose. Although they only ran the school until 1961, almost 3000 girls went through the scheme and were able to gain vast amounts of practical experience sailing the yacht around the English Channel.
They were passionate about giving girls equal opportunities to boys, encouraging them to learn nautical skills, and opening doors to the girls pursuing careers at sea.
The Girls’ Nautical Training Corps was finally merged with the Sea Cadets Corps in 1992.
The cap ribbon shown above was worn by one of the English Rose cadets. It is part of the Maritime History collection at Merseyside Maritime Museum and isn’t currently on display.
The photograph of the figurehead of the English Rose training ship is courtesy of Poole Museum.
- Cap ribbon accession number 1961.292.2