Airdrie & Coatbridge Sea Cadets Win The THIRD Indefatigable Trophy

Steve Humphries Presentation Speech:

“Lord Lieutenant, distinguished guests, ladies, gentlemen and young cadets.

Before we move onto the most important part of the evening, the actual presentation, I would like to take a few minutes to outline to you the history of the Indefatigable, affectionately known by its members as the ‘Inde’, and the Indefatigable Old Boys Association.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the British merchant fleet was larger than the rest of the world’s merchant navies combined. This was perhaps the pinnacle of hundreds of years of British maritime tradition, when Britain really did ‘Rule the Waves’. This created a huge and constant need for young men, trained for the challenge of a rigorous life at sea. A life that was hard and required the highest standards of training, performance, leadership and personal example. This demand accelerated during the two World Wars, and the Inde like many other Training Ships existed to answer this demand, and was something special in Britain’s maritime tradition.

The Founding Fathers of the Inde were the Bibby family, owners of the Merchant Shipping Company Bibby Line. They asked the question “What is to be done about the many orphans whose only crime was that they were sons of seamen?” So in 1864 the Indefatigable was set up for “the training of orphans and boys in poor circumstances”. With much change from ship to shore, the School continued until 1995 with its self-appointed task of ‘turning boys into men’.

Founded in 1864 HMS Indefatigable was fitted out by the Bibby family. In 1914 she was replaced by HMS Phaeton, which became the second Indefatigable. She was moored close to HMS Conway off Rock Ferry Pier on the River Mersey.

The end for the ships came in 1941 when due to war time bombing, both the ‘Conway’ and the ‘Indefatigable’ were ordered to evacuate. The ship itself was renamed Carrick II and moved to here in Glasgow. The Inde boys were moved away from the Mersey and to a shore based accommodation in Plas Menai below the Britannia Bridge on the Menai Straits, Anglesey. She survived in this building, the former Marquis of Anglesey’s stately home, until 1995 when financial pressures forced her closure.

The word Indefatigable, meaning ‘never tiring’, ‘unremitting’, ‘that which cannot be wearied’, sums up very strongly the ‘Indefatigable’ efforts of our committee and membership, some that are here this evening. Currently the Old Boys membership stands at around 300, and is growing daily.

The Indefatigable Old Boys Association was founded in 1983 and we have just had our 26th AGM & Reunion on Saturday June 6th. It should be noted, that the MD of the Bibby Line Group – Sir Michael Bibby Bt, is indeed our President of the Association.

It was at a previous reunion, that our Chairman Colonel Bill O’Leary, put a proposal to the assembled members. Because of his position in the Territorial Army, he was very aware that the Sea Cadet Corps did not receive the same financial support from the Ministry of Defence that the Army and Air Force Cadets received. This of course, was due to the decision by the Navy, to allow the Sea Cadet Corps to become a registered charity some years back. Colonel Bill felt very strongly that the Cadets of the Sea Cadet Corps were in need of some financial support, and that it was incumbent upon us in the Association to give back something to the youth of today. Now, I won’t bore you with all the finer details, but suffice to say that a proposal was passed with a 100% majority, to present on an annual basis a sum of money to assist the Sea Cadet Corp, and in particular an individual unit.

After some discussion with Commodore Laurie Brokenshire at the Marine Society and Sea Cadet Corps Headquarters in London, we agreed that the monetary award would be made to the Sea Cadet Unit deemed by the Headquarters to have made the most significant improvement over the preceding 12 months.

Additionally, we agreed to present to the unit, this fine Cup, The TS Indefatigable Cup, Formally known to the Old Boys Association, as the ‘Navy League Challenge Swimming Trophy’.

So now to the highlight of the evening.

The Sea Cadet Unit, deemed by the Marine Society and Sea Cadet Corps Headquarters, to have made the most significant improvement over the preceding 12 months, is TS Enterprise, and it gives me great pleasure to present the TS Indefatigable Cup and a monetary award of £700 to TS Enterprise, for this outstanding achievement.

This is only the third time that the Cup has been awarded to the Sea Cadet Corps. The Cup now has been engraved with the Units name T.S. Enterprise 2008, alongside the other two winning Units (TS Rye 2006 & TS Pytchley 2007). As well as the Cup presentation and monetary award, we would like you to receive an inscribed IOBA Shield to keep and a few IOBA memorabilia items to remember us by, for the Unit and Cadets.

Colonel Bill O’Leary (IOBA Chairman) and Owen Sutton (IOBA Vice Chairman) regret very much that they are unable to attend tonight due to unforeseen commitments, but both pass on their regards.

Thank you and well done again.

Steve Humphries – IOBA Secretary.

On behalf of Colonel W J O’Leary TD.

Deputy Commander 145 (South) Brigade /

Chairman of the Indefatigable Old Boys Association (IOBA).”



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