According to Freedom of Information requests made by BBC’s Panorama, in the last five years 363 sexual abuse allegations – both historical and current – have been made across the UK in relation to the Cadets. Some 282 cases have been referred to the police and 99 volunteers have been dismissed.

Overseen by the Ministry of Defence, the Cadets, consisting of the Army, Air and Sea Cadets, are one of the UK’s largest youth bodies with 130,000 members.

Despite allegations made to senior Cadet Officers by children and their parents, a commanding officer at Cheshunt Sea Cadets in Hertfordshire, Alan Waters, continued to work with children despite reassurances given that he would be prevented from doing so again. Waters was later promoted and moved to a division in North London where he was in charge of 10 Sea Cadet units.

Waters was later convicted for separate child abuse offences in India in 2006 and placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

Further allegations were made about Commanding Officer, John Fitzpatrick who would invite cadets to his flat, ply them with alcohol and show pornographic films to the boys. On four occasions, one of Fitzpatrick’s victims woke up to find he was being sexually assaulted by Fitzpatrick.

When allegations were made to the police, the case went to trial but Fitzpatrick was found “not proven”. He continued to work for the Cadets. However, in 2016 Fitzpatrick was charged with lewd and libidinous behaviour against four individuals. This time, the case was proven and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

The Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) apologised unreservedly for any hurt in regard to the case of Alan Waters and said what had happened was “not reflective of our organisation today”.

If you or your child has been abused, or you suspect an officer, instructor or anyone in a position of responsibility in the Cadets is abusing children, you should report this to the police immediately. Trained child protection police officers can visit you at home.

Jordans represent individuals who suffered abuse during their time in the Cadets. Where a person abuses their position of trust and commits an act of assault a claim may be possible.


Our Child Abuse Lawyers are here to provide support and guidance at a very difficult time. Please contact the Abuse Team on our dedicated Freephone number 0800 9555 094 or request a call back and one of our specialist Child Abuse Lawyers will be happy to discuss your situation in confidence.

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