Feeling Homesick - A word of warning

#1
I thought I'd post this here to help anyone who may be feeling homesick during their Basic Training.

I joined the Army Apprentice College at Harrogate back in 91 as an Apprentice Signalman and it was the first time I'd been away from home. I didn't think I'd be affected by homesickness when I enlisted but I got it pretty bad. I certainly wasn't a Mummy's boy, but during the evenings during basic training I missed my home environment so much. I guess this is when they sort the men from the boys.

In fact I got it that bad that I stupidly decided to hand in letter requesting a Discharge As Of Right (I think it was Discharge Statutory Period) back then. I did this shortly upon my return after a weekend back at home with my parents having just capbadged.

I did have a couple of conversations with the permanent staff at the College about staying but at 17 I let my heart rule my head and decided to quit. I left the College one day before my passing off parade knowing that I only had to pass off, go home for two weeks and then come back and then decide if I wanted to leave whilst doing my apprenticeship there for two years.

Regrettably with clouded judgement I stuck by my decision to leave.

After a few weeks back home, I'd realised I'd made the worst decision of my life.

I did re-apply to join back up but soon after that I'd met a girl who I then went on to marry. Before I knew it I had two children, a decent job and a mortgage and I couldn't afford to re-apply as it would have meant taking a big pay cut.

For the last 28 years I've lived in regret of my decision to leave and watching the Junior Soldiers (Raw Recruits) programme recently has been quite a painful watch for me. I wish the permanent staff could/would have done more to keep me there.

I recall my Grandad saying to me shortly after I quit "Nevermind Lad, couldn't hack it hey" and those words really hurt but he was right and those words have haunted me ever since.

I hope this post will serve to warn anyone who is thinking of quiting basic training to think very carefully as it may well eat away at you for years to come if you decide to leave.
 
#2
Homesickness was a thing I never suffered from and at 15 as a boy soldier I was more interested in getting my own stuff sorted than to notice others if they were suffering.
However, later during my career I spent 2 years at Catterick as an Inst'r and was shocked to find out how debilitating it can be. I quickly realised that rather than being a bit of a "pussy" some of the young lads were really suffering and rather than being treated as a softie they needed serious help.
I would hope that as the years have gone on help is now there for the young men and women that do experience it in a bad way, if not, like the OP they may end up making a decision they will regret for the rest of their lives.
 
#3
I thought I'd post this here to help anyone who may be feeling homesick during their Basic Training.

I joined the Army Apprentice College at Harrogate back in 91 as an Apprentice Signalman and it was the first time I'd been away from home. I didn't think I'd be affected by homesickness when I enlisted but I got it pretty bad. I certainly wasn't a Mummy's boy, but during the evenings during basic training I missed my home environment so much. I guess this is when they sort the men from the boys.

In fact I got it that bad that I stupidly decided to hand in letter requesting a Discharge As Of Right (I think it was Discharge Statutory Period) back then. I did this shortly upon my return after a weekend back at home with my parents having just capbadged.

I did have a couple of conversations with the permanent staff at the College about staying but at 17 I let my heart rule my head and decided to quit. I left the College one day before my passing off parade knowing that I only had to pass off, go home for two weeks and then come back and then decide if I wanted to leave whilst doing my apprenticeship there for two years.

Regrettably with clouded judgement I stuck by my decision to leave.

After a few weeks back home, I'd realised I'd made the worst decision of my life.

I did re-apply to join back up but soon after that I'd met a girl who I then went on to marry. Before I knew it I had two children, a decent job and a mortgage and I couldn't afford to re-apply as it would have meant taking a big pay cut.

For the last 28 years I've lived in regret of my decision to leave and watching the Junior Soldiers (Raw Recruits) programme recently has been quite a painful watch for me. I wish the permanent staff could/would have done more to keep me there.

I recall my Grandad saying to me shortly after I quit "Nevermind Lad, couldn't hack it hey" and those words really hurt but he was right and those words have haunted me ever since.

I hope this post will serve to warn anyone who is thinking of quiting basic training to think very carefully as it may well eat away at you for years to come if you decide to leave.
Don't regret your life on a decision you made as a 17 year old. You met and married, had two bairns, good job, and on the housing ladder. Don't knock it. If you'd joined up would you have met the same lass and everything else that followed? No way of knowing because you went a different way. You can't change the past so no use thinking what if. Enjoy the here and now.

Your Grandad obviously hurt you, but you've got to remember he was two generations before you. I'm in my mid seventies, and both my parents were not into hugging/cuddling us when we were young. Don't take what he said to heart, easy for me to say I know. After nearly 30 years let it go. Bring it back when one of your youngsters need a bit of encouragement, and you can chose your words with a bit more care. Look to the future, it's all that any of us can do. Keep smiling. :)
 

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#4
Interestingly, this is a common thing with anything that involves first-time from home training experiences.

When I moved over to the police, there were people in there as well on the 12 week residential course at the Scottish Police College who were homesick and quit mid-way through training. Grown adults mind, who just couldn't hack being away from home even though they got to go home every weekend!

It affects people differently, some not at all, some very seriously.

Worth looking out for the signs and addressing where possible with advice and guidance.
 
#5
I went to boarding school as a weekly boarder aged 8. Sometimes it felt shít on a Monday, but by Wednesday I'd got on with it.

There was another lad of 12 who was a weekly boarder who was in floods of tears on a Monday. Yes, we did take the piss, but it goes to show, really.
 
#6
I went to a full boarding school when I was 6 in 1970 ( it beggars belief now, my wife is horrified) and I only saw my siblings and parents in Africa 3 times a year until I was 18.

I went to Catterick when I was 20 and I couldn’t tell the difference between basic and school.

Some of the blokes I was with in barrack blocks clearly couldn’t hack the lack of privacy and personal choice but I don’t remember anyone wanting to Jack it in.
 
#7
No matter how many times I've been away, no matter how many places I've travelled, I've always felt homesick on the first night. The cure - go drinking in the nearest bar on the first night, swallow my knob and crack on with the job instead of taking the easy option. If it's on basic, the chances are some poor bugger in the room is feeling it a lot worse than you.
 
#8
I did boarding school from 11, lived in london was in the grim north west, missed home.
the first week back was hell and you got on with it, it made me realize get your head down and crack on.
doing military course's was the same but with a better outcome, never jack it in or you don't get asked again.

civy street is not all roses, less mates, no cheap beer and less local garrison bikes to ride who like a uniform.
 
#9
I joined in 87, after the first 6 weeks I handed my letter in. Can't remember what it was called back then. But thankfully I had a great Tp Comd. She was RAEC, she took my letter and found 1 spelling mistake, so I had to rewrite it. Submitted it again, then she found some other mistake, rewrite, and so on. In the end she sat me down and had these wise words. You failed to write a proper letter, so with a bit of practice you have now managed it and I'll accept it. The rest of your career will be the same, being bad at something but with practice you wil get better at it. Went through the process and had a CO's interview. His words, go home on leave and if when you come back you still want to leave you can. But when you are home have a look at your mates and see how they are living, how much cash they had and how they acted.
I came back after a week and withdrew my letter, went on to serve for 24 yrs. Had a great time.
 

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