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Volunteer Coastal Patrol Uniform Cap

Date: c 1940
110 x 210 x 220 mm, 0.53 lb. (8.65 in., 0.24 kg)
Medium: Fabric
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Estate of William Maxwell Beaumont Small
Object Name: Cap
Object No: 00039870

User Terms

    A Volunteer Coastal Patrol (VCP) blue wool uniform cap with black peak and featuring VCP badge of a fouled anchor surmounted by an albatross, crown and laurel wreath.
    The cap belonged to William Maxwell B Small, who joined the Volunteer Coastal Patrol on 11 September 1939. Max Small was born on 24 October 1911 and was a company director and secretary. He is listed at number 56 on the VCP register, with the warrant number 10009. Mr Small skippered the Patrol boat MOONBI 26.
    SignificanceThe Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol (RVCP) is the oldest volunteer sea rescue organisation in Australia. It was originally formed as the Voluntary Coastal Patrol in 1937 to encourage the volunteer service of yachtsmen and to train them so they would be of value in the event of national emergencies.
    HistoryThe Volunteer Coastal Patrol, the oldest voluntary sea rescue organisation in Australia,was established on 27 March 1937. It evolved out of discussions between Royal Navy Captain Maurice Blackwood and Harold Nobbs and Bill Giles, who believed that an organisation of volunteer yachtsmen would be beneficial in a country with a12,000 nautical mile coastline. Their ideas were presented to Commander Rupert Long, Director of Naval Intelligence, who made recommendations to the Naval Board concerning the establishment of the VCP. TheNaval Board agreed to the concept and the organisation was formed from a nucleus of 12 boat owners.

    The VCP's objectives were to bring together yachtsmen and those interested in small ships and encourage them to under go a course of training so that their services would be of value to the authorities in rescue situations, and to train and educate these yachtsmen so that Australia's waterways could be made safer for those who ventured upon them in small craft.

    When World War II was declared in 1939, members of the Patrol affirmed their desire to serve their country as a volunteer service, assisting the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, Water Police and Maritime Services Board in the vital defence of Sydney Harbour. Oil depots, wharves, troopships, dockyards, the State ammunition dump in Bantry Bay and flying-boat base in Rose Bay were all patrolled by the VCP until war's end. In 1940 the Patrol had some 500 vessels and 2,000 members on its register.

    The VCP continued to operate in the post-war period in a purely voluntar capacity,
    constituting an important element in national security. Its objectives were rewritten to make the organisation of value to the country in times of emergency as well as peace, by making waterways safer for yachtsmen and by setting an example to all those on the water. In 1974 Her Majesty the Queen bestowed the 'Royal 'prefix to the Volunteer Coastal Patrol. While the VCP was originally designed to use properly equipped privately owned vessels, in the 1980s this became unfeasible and the Patrol now owns some 50 vessels.

    The meticulous records kept by the administration of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol
    throughout World War II clearly show the work undertaken and the immense savings to the country; for instance in October 1945 it was calculated that the VCP Sydney Division had travelled 154,500 miles and carried out 7,200 patrols in 84,700 ship duty hours, equating to 333,000 man hours of work performed. As such, as stated in the 2nd edition of the Handbook of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol, "It is a service which justified all the early training and organisation, which by the end of the war played no small part and earned itself a chapter in the official Naval History of the war"
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol

    Assigned title: Volunteer Coastal Patrol Uniform Cap

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