• January 22, 2015


The Celtic League has once again written to Children Commissioners in several of the Celtic countries expressing concern about the monitoring of cadet forces.

The League had outlined concerns about the adequacy of child welfare in such bodies in early December 2014. Just two weeks later our concerns were vindicated when it was revealed (following a freedom of information request from a UK newspaper) that the Ministry of Defence had paid out over £2 million over a three year period to ‘hush up’ allegations of physical and sexual abuse in the cadet forces.

The League first raised cadet welfare and safety issues over six years ago. To date Children’s Commissioners have shown little appetite for confronting the issue overawed perhaps by the MOD!

Text of latest communication to the Commissioners below (letter is to the Scottish Commissioners but similar correspondence has gone to Wales, N. Ireland and other agencies):

“Tam Baillie
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People
Rosebery House
9 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5EZ

21st January 2015

Dear Commissioner Baillie,

I forwarded to your Office by email in early December the attached correspondence concerning the operation of military cadet forces in Scotland. The initiative was part of a general circular to Children’s Commissioner in all the Celtic countries concerning the matter.

I thank you for your recent communication in which you indicate you have noted ‘with interest’ the points we raised.

I trust that the concerns we set out below will be of equal interest and should stir some concern in your Commission. I also trust you are in a position to respond to the two questions that we pose and the end of this letter.

In the letter to you and the other Commissioners I specifically highlighted concerns about ‘child welfare’ in relation to a UN Committee on the Rights of the Child report on another jurisdiction.

Two weeks after I wrote to you, following a freedom of information request from a United Kingdom newspaper, it was revealed that the Ministry of Defence had paid out more than £2 million pounds over a 3 years period in out of court settlements to ‘hush up’ allegations of physical and sexual abuse in the cadet forces..

The link below to a news report on the issue in the authoritative Guardian newspaper contains graphic detail of the nature of the abuse young people were subjected to:


Lest you think this is a comparatively rare phenomena I would refer you to another report almost three years ago in which three adult instructors were sacked on Merseyside after it was revealed that cadets had allegedly suffered mistreatment. The link below sets out in detail the alleged mistreatment and also contains a picture of injuries sustained by one of the victims.


You will recall that in the context of the cadets and child welfare we also highlighted a number of deaths that had taken place during ‘exercises’ undertaken by cadets. Further research by the Celtic League has indentified two further instances where cadets have died one in Scotland in 2009 the other a sea cadet on a ship anchored off Gosport in Hampshire in 2010.

In view of the foregoing can we ask what steps your Commission has in place to monitor the welfare and safety of children in the cadet forces in the Scotland?

Further to this do you seek reports from them on an annual basis about any accidents, incidents or allegations of mistreatment that occur?

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”



Related links at celticleague.net archive:


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

Internet site at:



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