Going against the tide

This could sound a little strange. After lurking here for a while and reading about the drain of middle ranking offrs, and keeping an eye on the UK broad-sheets and reading about the problems with life over there and the current Government, my better half and I are considering moving to your fine country and seeing if the MOD wants a sapper officer from the colonies.

It won't be sight unseen as we have lived there for a couple of years (about five years ago). I have had mixed reactions from the Brits that I have spoken to here in Australia - from it's all crap and you will live in a hovel, to you and your family will have a great time and it will be a wonderful opportunity. I am at the tipping point of making formal moves, but I would like some more feedback on the lifestyle (rather than working-got a fair handle on that) aspects of the British Army. My major concern is going over and 'landing the family in it' so to speak.
Its funny but I know a lot of people (I'm not serving so I'll be upfront about that) who are looking to do the reverse and move to Australia for a better life.

The guys and girls I know in the forces absolutely love it (which is why I'm going to join and go the officer route all things going to plan). It seems to be a lot of people who know a friend who know a friend that says its horrible.

Be interesting to see what responses you get because I would think the majority of people who post here serve, have served or are inclined to serve
This is a personal subject - every serving officer will have a different tale to tell.

Also, bear in mind that as a Capt in the RE (presuming that is where you will be put), you may end up serving in Germany, which has its own +/- points.

From my perspective as a Senior Capt (8 years service - wow!), married for 3 years and just returned to the UK from a tour in Germany, there are alot of plus points to serving. there are also negatives, but they don't come close to outweighing the good side yet, or I would have joined the masses that have signed off (and them signing off means less competition for the gucci jobs!! haha).

I would have thought the main difference between Britfor and Ausfor is the tour interval - my muckers in Aus Army had to fight tooth and nail to deploy, whereas we are away for 6 months about once every 2 years (with alot doing shorter intervals depending on jobs etc). The prospect of Op tours is obviously the biggest factor on Army life, be it UK or Germany. Family stays behind while you are away, in Germany there is more of a support network (perceived or real?) as you are already separated from your home and extended family (probably), whereas in the UK Regimental life is not as strict - most people leave it behind at the front gate, as they have family/friends to visit etc.

I hope that makes some sense - in summary, I have found service life as a married bloke excellent - medical benefits, housing, welfare, support, etc. first in Germany and now in UK.

If you want any more help then PM me.
Although I left the services a few years ago (well, 10 to be precise), 26 of my 29 years were the most fabulous time of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and, although only the last 7 years were as an officer, feel it was an absolutely brilliant experience. The only 3 bad years were those spent in UK. The rest of my time was abroad (Cyprus, Germany, Belize, Falklands, Abu Dhabi, NI and a quick excursion to the Gulf). One of the main reasons for leaving was the fact that overseas posting had dried up. Moving your family every 3 years is all well and good if you're going to move them to somewhere exotic. Catterick, Milton Keynes, Didcot and Milford Haven don't quite have the same cachet, I'm afraid.
My good days outweigh the bad days at the moment but....

The factors that seem to influence most people leaving are:

Tempo - operational tours come round every 2 years or so, when you add the training requirement the overall tempo is very high. Currently I am at regimental duty and have spent more time deployed (ops and training) then in bks;

Turmoil - the high tempo is making life difficult to manage. My programme has changed repeatedly in the last 2 years. On Friday it changed again - affecting Easter leave dates...

Resources - it is very frustrating to be under resourced, especially for training resources;

Training bureacracy - we are becoming very bureacratic, lots of 'cover the minister's arrse' hoops to be jumped through and filled;

Overall - a feeling that we are overworked and undervalued by our lords and masters (el politicos :twisted: ) and there is neither time nor stability for family life.

On the plus side - well as I said the good days still outweigh the bad. The job is fantastic and most of us joined for the jocks (Toms or whatever) and to go on operations. I cannot think of a civilian job that would come close in terms of job satisfaction. :D :D

While I am not married I do have a social life and a daughter that I do not see enough of. The job is fantastic, and I have enjoyed the vast majority of my 20 years in. My honest perception however is that most married friends are leaving because they want more time (and stability) for the family. You would need to discuss carefully with your family just what their expectations would be for family life if you came across, especially while you are filling Field Army appointments.


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Could you do an exchange or long look and come and see what you would be getting without burning your bridges down under?

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