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Army of Poles could fill manpower gap in British military

Biped mentioned this interesting report in the 'Territorials ordered to fight' thread, and I thought it might be worth a thread of its own.

BAFF gets occasional enquiries from non-British citizens about joining the British armed forces, although we do try to explain the situation on our website - http://www.baff.org.uk/topics/commonwealth-personnel.htm

Incidentally, BAFF has good links with our Polish counterpart organisation, which is fully recognised by the Polish Ministry of Defence.

Anyway this is the Daily Mail story:

Army of Poles could fill manpower gap in British military
Last updated at 09:03 19 March 2008

Army recruitment officials are calling for a review of the rules on foreigners serving in the British forces after a surge of interest from Poles.

Foreigners are currently barred from joining up unless they first live here for five years and become British citizens, while those from Commonwealth countries can sign up at any time.

But with the Army struggling against a serious manpower shortage, senior officers revealed yesterday that the level of interest from Polish immigrant workers has prompted them to consider changes in the regulations.

The news emerged as the Army launched its latest £2million recruitment campaign.

It unveiled research showing nine out of ten members of the public support Britain's soldiers - although only four out of ten back the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul Meldon, head of Army recruitment in London, said a significant number of Poles had made inquiries and voiced interest in joining up.
Full article at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-537509/Army-Poles-manpower-gap-British-military.html

The article doesnt mention the Polish transport unit which existed in BAOR.
I can think of many people who would be against this, and I cant wait to see the first "Bloody Poles stealing British jobs again" line in the scum, but personally I am all for it.

Face it, the Polish are a proud people with a strong military tradition. They worked their nuts off in WW2 and if we hadn’t left them hanging after the war we would probably be the best of friends.

I would have no problem serving with Polish soldiers and I think they would fit in very well (they like a drink don’t they?)

We should take a lead from the Yanks on this. Serve and get Citizenship and everything that entails, the new educational incentives in the command paper would be a big draw I think as well.
If we are going to have a mercenary army perjaps we should just form our own version of FFL. Then at least E Europeans will not be holding up the traditions of Bunker Hill onwards.

And before anyone mentions them the Gurkas have a different history with UK forces than people from an area which started life as a trading organisation.
Just allow a few French and Germans too, perhaps the odd Dutchman then you can properly rename the British Army as the European Defence Force.
jagman said:
Just allow a few French and Germans too, perhaps the odd Dutchman then you can properly rename the British Army as the European Defence Force.
No more than we are the Fijian Defence Force or Nepalese army...

Worth looking at. Hard workers and hard drinkers.

They do the work of about two or three men.

I've worked with them for years and get on fine with them. Some of them have been in the Army at home (conscription?) but they'd love to join up with us.

I think the Polish Army are out in the sand box anyway aren't they??
Plant-Pilot said:
I do see a problem though...... Name tags aren't long enough 8O
Easy. There was a letter in yesterday's Telegraph about that.... :D

Sir – When asked for my name on the telephone, I always reply, “My surname is Polish and, as it is rather complicated, I will spell it for you.”

The reply I often receive is: “Thank you, Mr Polish.”

Alex Kwiatkowski, Brighton, East Sussex
Letters to the Telegraph


Book Reviewer
I'm all for ANYONE of ANY nationality serving in the British Army, providing some basic conditions are met:

1. They can speak the lingo.
2. They have to serve 5 years if they want citizenship.
3. They are properly vetted, despite being from for'n parts, and not accepted for entry if this cannot be done.
4. Are given exactly the same working conditions and regs as everyone else - ie: none of this positive descrimination bowlarks.
5. They serve wherever they are told to, without hesitation, without a get-out clause if they have a political agenda. If they don't, they get booted out and denied ANY citizenship - it's straight back to country of origin.
6. The like guns and green things (er, or beige).
So the basis for joining the British army is if they are hard workers and hard drimkers?

Well, I recall the Viets being hard workers, not much in the way of drinkers but formidable soldiers. Let's remember the conditions some of the Chinese soldiers endured in Korea - they must be eligible. Back to work and drink, Russians are an obvious choice - watch 9th Company.

If we are going to have a British army then let's try and compose it of British and Commonwealth nationals at least.
I'm with Biped on this one.

Lots of 2nd/3rd generation Poles here anyway.

Mind you, who can trace their family tree back withought finding immigrant or invader bloodline somewhere?
I see that the report is not new at all, but the generally favourable reactions have been interesting.

Given that this report was in March and also bearing in mind the info quoted on the BAFF webpage, I dont believe this is currently being considered.
jagman said:
Just allow a few French and Germans too, perhaps the odd Dutchman then you can properly rename the British Army as the European Defence Force.
We might see a few more in Afghanistan then eh?
It's not like we haven't used them before... WWII?

PTP raising pay is must - but I'm not sure ot will attract more of the right calibre
Maybe someone needs to conduct a survey of young folk with a simple question.

"Would you join the Army" Yes/No
"If not , why not"

Or start pumping more resources into the ACF , to encourage more towards the forces. I remember as a cold war cadet, just about everyone around me wanted to join the RAF , we did seem to get to do an awful lot of flying and lots of RAF linked activity. Then again, there was an awful lot more RAF.

How do we pay for it? Scrap the OTC's. Anyone who wants to wear Green at University can join their local TA unit as a TAPO or 'enchanced soldier'.
For once the French have shown the way - The French Foreign Legion. Why couldn't we have a regiment of soldier recruited from the loads of foreigners wanting to fight for us - A British Foreign Legion.


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