In 1943, Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth was bombed. It moved to Eaton Hall, Chester, where it continued to train Regular Officers for the Royal Navy until 1946. Between 1946 and 1958 mainly Infantry National Service officers were trained.
National Service continued after the war and hundreds of officers were needed for the Army. Lt Gen Sir Brian Horrocks commanding Western Command in Chester recognised the potential of the then vacant estate of the Duke of Westminster, and with the Duke’s agreement moved 164 Officer Cadet Training Unit to Eaton Hall.
It became well known to thousands of young men in National Service days as ‘Eaton Hall’. It primarily trained officers for the Infantry though other Corps were also trained there, notably for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
Some 15000 Officer Cadets were trained there between 1946 and 1958 when due to the phasing out of National Service it was merged with the primarily Cavalry Officer Cadet School at Mons Barracks, Aldershot.
The 15 week training course was tough and aimed at preparing a Cadet to command a platoon on operations. Many of them did just that in Korea, Malaya, Suez, Kenya, Cyprus and other trouble spots during those years.
They wore their own Regiment’s uniform in training and could be identified as Officer Cadets by the white gorget tabs worn on the collar of their battledress.