National Service

Just been listening to a Radio 'phone in' on the evergreen topic of National Service, the contributors included Ann Widdecombe and Michael Hill (former deputy director of Army Public Relations), also contributing 'Stop the War Coalition', British Legion etc.

The consensus seemed to be that National Service in terms of military national service is not needed, not wanted by the services, probably expensive and unworkable, however some form of a national service was thought to be potentially beneficial.

Any thoughts, especially around what sort of national service could be devised?
Very difficult to work with people who dont want to be there.
I think it worked in the past because society was differant and personel standards of loyalty were higher towards the voice of authority.
And what is it in for the Armed force again? Train someone up and then they are off after 2 years. We got enough retaintion problem already!! Plus it is cheaper to recuit Fuijian to fill the infantry battlion up or just pay the Polish or Romanian to proivde men for ops. After all they are on "Bowman" net before us!


Kit Reviewer
How about sending some to work for science so that all products can carry the label, "This product was NOT tested on animals" ?

The MOD wouldn't need to use them as sldrs - if they were used as tgt holders on the ranges it would stop us having to cut down all those cuddly trees.

"Targets will fall when hit... then scream and flop around a bit!" :twisted:
Lance_Comical said:
I say bring back National Service.

Teach all the Chav's how to be good citizens.
NS only worked because of the organised brutality of the first few weeks. Only a small %age were even willing to be there. With today's attitude (e.g. Deepcut) it would be impossible to set them to work anywhere unless it were like some Arizona chain-gang thing. Who would train those who do not want to learn?
No - it is a zift idea.
MikeMcc said:

"Targets will fall when hit... then scream and flop around a bit!" :twisted:
What fantastic 'reality' training potential! Not only would troops learn how a really dying person behaves, but there is further training potential......................

If the person survives injury (assuming that muppets like myself may only hit, say, the foot) they could be passed to the medics to practice on. If the medics are successful the target can be re-used. If not then the medics have at least seen real blood before they go to war and will have mastered the art by the time they set off. Casualty reporting officers and pioneers could also get real hands on training too......


Peeby :twisted:
You may call it organized brutality.....I call it discipline and I'm old enough to remember National Service Bods in my unit although I was a regular myself [more cash]. Unfortunately given todays soft approach to life, one would not be able to get a grip to enforce discipline. The people you should be asking if it's a good thing or not are the guys who went through it. Most I have spoken to have said it was ok [with obvious hindsight]. Interesting question.....would it apply to women nowadays if brought back?
The idea'll never fly. You've all seen Lads' Army, or whatever it's called. That was playing, just for the telly. Imagine if they had to do it for real. They'd all need an extra locker apiece just for the shreddies they'd get through.
Now, in my time.....

Have a read of "The Call Up" by Tom Hickman.
There was a pretty good book called "Stand by your beds" by an NS RAF officer. Was actually an alright read since the author started out as an airman then went through officer selection. Made a change from the army perspective most of the books are from.
Please, no. The last thing the Army needs is press-ganged chav scum to administer and discipline. It's bad enough dealing with the volunteer chav scum we've got already.
All the arguments in favour of National Service imply that the Armed Forces need to step in and reverse Society's moral decline. Added to the long list of other f*ck-ups that we have been called in to sort out, because of failure of the political process and or civil society, ( Northern Ireland, fire strikes, foot and mouth, etc, etc) do we really need this as well?

National Service was introduced because we were fighting a war of national survival and we needed to mobilise every able-bodied man and woman, not as a means of social engineering.
It seems to me that there is very little chav element in countries that still have national service. Greece is an example, the people are polite and courteous and take care of their enviroment, as in there is little in the way of litter and graffiti.

I think perhaps it instills a sense of national pride, a sense of duty and a sense of community, all things lacking in Britain. Some assume that this is just targeted at chavs but of course it would take in all sections of the community and yes, it should apply to women as well.

Maybe it is difficult given the number of immigrants and asylum seekers - will they be willing to serve? Would we have to offer non nationals exclusion? That's pretty easy but what about those who have adopted british citizenship and how would the muslim community in general react to such a plan?

Maybe it doesn't have to be military national service. Perhaps there could be choices to serve in some form of civil service capacity, the police force or the health service?

I think the basic idea is sound and just, if it could be made workable in todays society.
In response to your actual initial comment,
I have a vague memory of speaking to either a Dutch or German civvy, and she said that all teenagers did either national service or a community service(cleaning ditches ,helping oldpeople etc).
But that was a few years ago.
Also anyone who didn't take part had punitive costs for further education , if they decided to go to university they paid through the nose for the priveldge and those that had done service whilst still paying , had a smaller fee to pay-out.
As much as I like the concept of national service I feel that it wouldn't work and would cost the services a fortune, and it is not the army's job to change the attitudes of todays society.

Bringing back the old fashioned law inforcement , Prisons and borstal's instead of the Holiday Camp Youth Custody Centres may be a better way forward, however I doubt whether anyone in the Goverment have the testicular fortitude to stand up to the liberal tree huggers, and implement less PC ways of dealing with the scum we have roaming our streets today.
National service works if you need a large conscript army at the Fag end of empire we did.
Or you have at least a notional enemy Greece vs turkey Finland vs Russia or you set up to have conscripts for years and years.
while we could use the manpower the cash would'nt be there plus you would'nt be able to use them in Iraq etc etc
If I remember correctly, Field Marshal Lord Carver said in his book The Seven Ages of the British Army:

"National service was good for the country, but it almost killed the Army."
Inf/MP said:
If I remember correctly, Field Marshal Lord Carver said in his book The Seven Ages of the British Army:

"National service was good for the country, but it almost killed the Army."
Absolutely spot on. I remember National Service and still have a couple of ex-Nashy mates from those distant days. The army improved in almost every way after National Service stopped. Fewer demob piss-ups though.

The problem we have is that we've allowed liberalism unbridled freedom without tying it to responsibility. Society doesn't hold individuals responsible for their actions. There's a whole generation out there that doesn't understand NO.

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