An Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) took either civilians or other ranks and trained them to be officers. The majority of infantry officers would have been trained through the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, which became the Royal Military Academy in 1947. However, during wartime, Sandhurst did not have the capacity to train all of the officers required. Therefore, specialist OCTUs were established and supplied officers to distinct arms of service, including machine gun battalions as a separate specialism to the infantry.
Second World War
As of October, 1942, the 162 Officer Cadet Training Unit was in existence at Lanark, Scotland, to train officers for the Machine Gun Battalions. By November, it is recorded as part of the York OCTU (previously No. 103) training both Motor Battalions and Machine Gun Battalions.
This OCTU is recorded in 1942 as providing ‘general service training’ for officers, including a proportion to be sent to Infantry Machine Gun Battalions. It was located at Dunbar.
As of June, 1940, the 170 Officer Cadet Training Unit was in existence at Aldershot, Hampshire, to train officers for the Machine Gun Battalions.
- National Archives: WO 365/150; WO 365/163.