The National Army Cadet Force Museum – Official Opening

The National Army Cadet Force Museum – Official Opening

16 September 2023

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

Victoria Cross winner, WO2 Johnson Beharry opened the National Army Cadet Force Museum in Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House, Wisbech on 11th Sept 2023 to mark Octavia’s legacy from 1889, when she established the first Independent Army Cadet Unit.

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WO2 Beharry VC (centre) and guests.

Octavia Hill’s pioneering work in Southwark, London with youngsters in 1889 lead the way to the modern day Army Cadet Force as we know it today. Octavia Hill was a well known social reformer, one of the three founders of the National Trust, and a campaigner for open spaces, but her work with the Army Cadets is today often overlooked.

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Johnson Beharry VC with the museum's founders.

Guests at the opening included: Brigadier Tim Seal, (Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire) Dr. Bharatkumar Narshidas Khetani (High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire), Colonel Ashley Fulford, (National Colonel Cadets at Regional Command) Brigadier Richard Lyne, (Royal Anglian Regt), The Mayor and Mayoress of Wisbech, and veterans from Wisbech Royal British Legion.

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The Octavia Hill Bithplace House, Wisbech.

The Vice Lord Lieutenant read out a letter received from Buckingham Place acknowledging the new National Army Cadet Force Museum and Octavia’s pioneering work with the Cadets.

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Some of the museum's exhibits.

Brigadier Richard Lyne, Regimental Colonel Cadets, spoke to all the Wisbech Detachment cadets who were proudly wearing the Royal Anglian cap badge. They spoke well and gave an account of their recent annual camp and cadet life post covid. After the opening, WO2 Beharry gave a truly amazing talk on how he won the Victoria Cross.

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Cadets at the museum.

Local cadets from Wisbech Detachment and children from nearby Cambian Wisbech School had the opportunity to meet WO2 Johnson Beharry VC COG, and help him plant a tree on Centenary Green to commemorate the occasion.

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Johnson Beharry VC helps with the tree planting.

The ACF Museum displays a range of uniforms, traces the ACF time line from 1889 to the present day, manuals, and a “touch screen” for videos, photographs and YouTube links. A virtual tour with information points has been created for cadets unable to visit the museum in person via the Octavia Hill Birthplace House website below.


The National Museum idea was first created by Colour Sgt Tim Scargill, Sussex ACF, but Covid prevented its implementation until Wisbech born, Col (Retired) Mark Knight MBE DL, joined Tim in delivering and completing the project.

WO2 Johnson Beharry VC COG is a keen supporter of the Army Cadet Force, and its aims of providing opportunities for teenagers to better themselves, become good citizens and steer them away from getting into trouble.

Text by Col (retd) Mark Knight MBE DL. Photos by SI Doug Stuart.