A History of the V.I. Cadet Corps
Extracted and modified from the 1946 Victorian
n 1900, when the Rev. Knight-Clarke was the acting Headmaster of the V.I. in the absence of Mr B.E. Shaw, one of the masters, Mr A. C. J. Towers, started the St. Mary’s Boys’ Brigade. When Shaw returned from leave in England in 1901, this was renamed the Victoria Institution Cadet Corps. It was the first Cadet Corps to be founded in Malaya. Capt. J. A. Tyte succeeded as Officer Commanding when Capt. Towers left the V.I. and gave up the teaching profession in 1902 (although he never gave up his very keen interest in the Corps for the next forty years). The V.I.C.C. was then a company of eighty cadets and was affiliated to the newly-formed Malay States Volunteer Rifles. Capt. P. A. Wood became O.C. in 1903 and was succeeded by Capt. Phillips in 1904.
The Corps made steady progress for the next few years and in 1909 Mr. Bennett Shaw founded a Drum and Fife Band, with Mr. Proudlock as Band Instructor. In 1910 Capt. W. C. A. Dainton became O.C. and his successors were Capt. M. Wheatley (1912), and Capt. G. Barber (1914). In 1915, bugles were added to the Band with Mr. M. A. Akbar as instructor, while Mr. Chan Hung Chin took over the Drum and Fife Band. Three of the European officers left to join the Forces in 1914 and Mr. Shaw himself assumed command of the Corps. Greater interest was taken in the war-time training and the Corps took part in many tactical schemes and exercises in conjunction with the M.S.V.R. and the newly-formed Malayan Volunteer Infantry.
The first annual Cadet Camp was held in l920 at Port Dickson with Capt. G. Ambler M.C. in charge. The next camp was also at Port Dickson in 1923 when two other Selangor School Cadet Corps took part with Capt. Ambler commanding the Selangor Cadet Battalion. In 1924 Capt. Ambler went on leave and Capt. F. C. Barraclough acted as O.C., V.I.C.C. Another Battalion Camp was held in 1924.
In 1925, the Leslie Shield was presented for annual competition among the Cadets of Malaya by Lt. Col. Leslie, Staff Officer, Local Forces, and the V.I.C.C. were the first winners.
In 1928 the late K. Thambirajah achieved the distinction of being the first Cadet to become an Under-Officer in the V.I.C.C. Under Lieutenants Redfearn and N. S. Rajalu musketry reached a very high standard in the Corps. In this year for the first time the government voted money for the Cadet Camp which became an annual feature of the Corps training programme.
In addition to those mentioned above, the following masters held commissions in the Corps before the School was transferred to its present building - R. Thambipillay, Wong Fook Yew, Ng Seo Buck, John Hugh, V. K. Chinniah, McHeyzer, A. R. England, K. A. A. Toft, Choon Wing Hong, Alimat Kiman, S. R. Sabapathy, and M. C. Strahan. Mr. Tay Lian Hee was in charge of the Fife Band.
Soon after the move to Petaling Hill, Capt. Barraclough went on leave and Lt. A. C. Strahan acted as O.C. until Capt. F. Daniel assumed command early in 1930 and continued as O.C. for the next twelve years - for a much longer period than any of his predecessors. When Capt. Daniel took over in 1930 the strength of the Corps was 145 Cadets (45 of whom were recruits); by 1941 there were over 300 V.1. Cadets organised as a battalion of three Companies.
At the beginning of 1930, Mr. A. C. J. Towers presented the Towers Challenge Shield for Inter-Section Competition (later changed to Inter-Platoon Competition). From 1930, N.C.O's of the Corps were prepared for the Local Forces Proficiency (Certificate Examination (corresponding to Certificate "A" of Officers Training Corps). Lt. G. G. L. McLeod joined the Corps during the year.
As a result of their success in the 1930 Proficiency Certificate Examination C. S. M. Yunus bin Talib, Sgt. Bahaudin bin Yacob and Sgt. Lim Kim Chong were granted Commissions as Under-Officers in the Corps with permission to wear Badges as Second-Lieutenants.
In 1931 the Corps provided a Guard-of-Honour on the occasion of the Unofficial Communities’ Farewell to the British Resident, Mr. James Lornie, and on Empire Day there was the usual inspection of the Corps by the new British Resident, Mr. Andrew Caldecott. The Corps also supplied a contingent for the King's Birthday Parade and took part in the Armistice Day Ceremony at the K.L. Cenotaph. To mark the 30th birthday and to express its appreciation of the continued interest of its first O.C., V.I.C.C., an inscribed photograph of the Corps was presented to Mr. A. C. J. Towers, who said that when he opened the parcel he received "one of the pleasantest surprises of his life."
At the end of 1931 the Corps lost one of its best officers when Mr. V. K. Chinniah was transferred to Klang. Before he left, however, Lt. Chinniah had the satisfaction of seeing his platoon (Platoon I) win the Towers Shield. The "Victorian" presented the Corps with a silver bugle for the use of the C.O.’s Bugler to be chosen by annual competition. L/Cpl Peters was the first winner. At the Annual Inspection, on 30th November 1931, the Inspecting Officer, Capt. J. G. Wylde, said, "The turn-out was excellent and I was particularly pleased to see the confidence shown and the good words of command given by the Under-Officers who were outstanding".
In 1932, the weekly C.O.’s Parade was changed to Saturday mornings at 7.30 a.m., an admirable arrangement which became a permanent feature of the Corps for the next ten years. C. S. M. Hoh Ah Lang received an Under-Officer's Commission in May, 1933. A contingent of Officers and Senior N.C.O's attended a Drill, Tactics and Weapon Training Course at Port Dickson at Easter. The usual Empire Day Parade was held and this was Lt. R. Thampipillay's last Parade after 30 years active connection with the V.I.C.C. – a record for any Cadet Officer in Malaya. C. S. M. Haidzir bin Mohd. Isa, was granted a Commission. On 14th November, the Corps presented a Guard-of-Honour of three Officers and 100 Other Ranks, with the Band, for the British Resident, Mr. T. S. Adams, on the occasion of the presentation of the Imperial Service Medal to Lt. R. Thampipillay. During 1934 the Corps took part in the King's Birthday Parade, the presentation of Colours to the Selangor Battalion of the F.M.S.V.F., the Armistice Day Celebrations and provided the "Enemy Force" during the G.O.C's Inspection of the F.M.S.V.F. Five N.C.O's passed the 1933 Proficiency Certificate Examination. Lt. N. S. Buck retired from the Corps in 1934.
1935 was a particularly busy and successful year for the Corps and on 6th May the entire Corps and Band, 150 strong, took a leading part in the King George V Silver Jubilee Parade on the Selangor Club Padang. The Corps attracted very flattering remarks from the spectators and the Press and after the Parade the British Resident expressed his appreciation of the smart turn-out and bearing of the V.I.C.C. Other ceremonial Parades were carried out on Empire Day, the King's Birthday, for H.E. the High Commissioner, Sir Shenton Thomas, and on the occasion of a visit from Mr. A. C. J. Towers, who had been the first O.C., V.I.C.C., thirty five years earlier. The Band had a particularly good year under Drum Major Hui Kwan Lun. 1935 was also outstanding in that every single cadet completed the Annual Musketry Course at the Rifle Range and no less than 118 cadets qualified as "Empire Shots". The best All-Round Platoon, which won the Towers Shield, was Platoon III.
By 1936 the strength of the Corps had increased to over 250 cadets. Under-Officer Kwok Koon Sun made the record score of 115 points out of a possible of 120 and won the Silver Challenge Cup for the second time. Lt. G. C. Tacchi joined the Corps in 1937.
On July 1st, 1939, Mr. A. C. J. Towers paid the Corps another visit on the occasion of the fortieth birthday of the V.I.C.C., the oldest Cadet Corps in Malaya and he presented the Band with a magnificent silver-mounted Drum Major's staff. Later, on the same day, the Corps was shocked by the sudden death of Gunner Muncha Singh, 45, formerly of the Indian Army, who had done excellent work as armourer for many years. He had joined the Indian Army at the age of 20 and was on active duty in the Great War, serving in France, East Africa and the Middle East. He had received the 1914-1915 Star, the War Medal and the Victory Medal. Muncha Singh joined the V.I. in 1929 from the F.M.S.V.F. Headquarters. His dignified yet soldierly bearing, his sterling character and his loyal and devoted service to the Corps were appreciated and admired by all ranks and the whole School mourned his death.
At the beginning of 1940 the Corps was reorganised as a Battalion with three companies and the Band. Each company consisted of three Platoons, each Platoon of three Sections, and each Section of eight Cadets. "A" Company contained the oldest and most experienced Cadets and was equipped with service rifles. "B" Company contained the remainder of the previous year's cadets together with the most promising recruits, while "C" Company was a recruit company. S. Ratnam became the first Regimental-Sergeant Major of the V.I.C.C. and filled the new post with credit. In 1940, too, soft khaki service caps were introduced for all early morning parades and khaki stockings and ankle-puttees were substituted for full-length puttees and hose-tops.
In 1941 the Corps increased its strength still further and reached still higher standards of smartness in turn-out and bearing and of steadiness on parade. On Speech Day, the Corps provided a Guard-of-Honour of two Officers and 100 Other Ranks to receive H.H. the Sultan of Selangor. The Guard was mounted on the Padang, in front of the Pavilion and the rest of the Battalion - 200 Cadets - kept the ground, being posted at intervals of four paces right round the edge of the Padang. It was generally agreed that this was the most impressive ceremonial parade ever carried out by the Corps. During the year 30 Malay ex-Cadets volunteered to form a complete Malay Platoon in the F.M.S.V.F. and quickly established a reputation for smartness and efficiency. When the Selangor Local Defence Corps was formed and an appeal was made for Asiatic volunteers, the first forty men to be enrolled were also ex-Cadets of the V.I.C.C. The V.I.C.C. also supplied from its well-stocked cadet store, a great deal of equipment for the L.D.C. - service rifles, 0.22 rifles, rifle slings, webbing belts, khaki drill and twill, Gurkha hats, puttees, hose-tops, training manuals, targets, whistles and lanyards and much training equipment which was of great assistance to the L.D.C. In connection with the Cadet Store, no account of the V.I.C.C. would be complete without mention of the splendid work of Che Ahmad bin Haji Osman, its storekeeper after the 1930 reorganisation. He made it possible to equip twice as many Cadets twice as well without any extra expense. It is also a great pleasure to mention Hoong Heng, the V.I.C.C. tailor, who made our uniforms for over forty years and made them better and smarter year by year.
Capt. Daniel went on leave in July, l941, and Lt. T. L. White acted as O.C., V.I.C.C. until the end of the year.
The last parade of the Corps was the 1941 Annual Inspection, just before the Japanese launched their attack in Malaya, so there have been no parades for exactly five years. But the V.I.C.C. spirit still lives, its traditions are undimmed, and the School is anxiously waiting for the authorities to say the word and looking forward to the day when the V.I.C.C. will be enthusiastically revived.
Last update on 23 November 2003.
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