National Service

#61
Speaking as a total outsider I'd much prefer the people who defend my country to be willing, professional volunteers rather than a ragbag army of conscripts who are there because of the faulty memories of people who think they remembered what happened 60 years ago.
So would I and would not for a moment consider reinstating NS, but have you read some of the whingeing stuff posted by the currently serving about how they are dicked about? The faulty memories are from those after NS who don't seem to remember the non-jobs from BAOR right up to the present day.

The money does not exist to keep professional soldiers putting rounds down the range, training in strange climates, running tanks all over, all year, every year. The non-jobs fill the time in between. They have since before Kipling, they will till infinity. NS soldiers did exactly the same as their Regular equivalents, no more, no less.
 
#63
The Best Years of Their Lives by Trevor Royle would be one source. Although some former NS men would cite the comradeship and meeting people from other walks of life and for a few, travel to parts of the world that they would not otherwise have seen as plus points, for most it was considered an irksome waste of two years, where 'the skive' was counted as a victory against the system.
The trouble with written history is that people writing it almost always have an agenda. Think about how colonial history was once always positive, now almost always negative.

I have read probably a dozen books about NS, some looking for negatives, some looking for positives, some individual, trying to be honest accounts of their own time in, but when they mix their cap-badges up, I wonder. Possibly two of those were thoroughly objective and really attempting to write the story as they encountered it, but even then they constantly quote maybe five or six people they have interviewed.

I sometimes wish I had had the forethought to give informal exit interviews to all the stars and plonkers I knew over my time in the army. I could have written the definitive histories of the back end of NS, retreat from the colonies and 'BAOR before the Turdis'! Some historian who had never been there would still refute everything I wrote.
 
#64
I think that everyone is thinking inside the box a little here.

In my mind, National Service doesn't have to be military service, but instead, you could suddenly have a large "force" of available labour aged 18-20 (or similar) for all sorts of projects. They could be employed in clearing rubbish from the streets, clearing away graffiti or things like planting new woodland for National Parks and the like.

I might be naive, but I could see it being a triple win of cleaning things up a little, giving people a bit of pride back in their communities and also lowering unemployment amongst youngsters.
Civilian versions of RE and RLC perhaps.

Build and maintain social housing, maintain nationalised railways and other infrastructure, cook for the elderly, etc.

No drill, no bullshit. Come out the other end with a trade after spending some time in another part of the country.
 
#65
Speaking as a total outsider I'd much prefer the people who defend my country to be willing, professional volunteers rather than a ragbag army of conscripts who are there because of the faulty memories of people who think they remembered what happened 60 years ago.

..and how many Bods who were in the British Army in WW2 were not conscripted after the Regs got put in the bag or their arrses kicked? ....as you say, you're a total outsider so unless you had a father and/or countless Uncles who 'got some in' like most of us of a certain age had, your opinion on this is worth what exactly? Anyhoo, National Service does not have to be in a Military/warfighting setting as already mentioned in previous posts.

There's untold other functions and roles that require unwilling, self obsessed lightweight, jack cnuts who may benefit from being forced to do something for others for once.
 
#66
Times have changed considerably since it was considered acceptable to beast recruits or put people in the 'glasshouse'. If the government wanted to introduce compulsory National Armed Forces Service they would have to dial back on 'human rights'. Kids at school know their 'human rights', so do generation snowflake. You couldn't make them do anything they didn't want to, being shouted at they'd ignore. Told to do press up's they'd tell you to do one. Being banged up in a cell wouldn't be considered a punishment.
You cannot motivate, through threat of the stick those that don't want to be motivated.
 
#67
i don’t necessarily agree that conscription is required. It is arguable more to do with youth employment and crime than increased defence capability (depending on the model used).

If you want it to increase defence capability to need them to be recalled to the colours annually for refresher training, keep sufficient equipment etc etc.

If we want to improve our community you need compulsory national service in other forms, ie community service.
 
#68
If you want to instil loyalty, social cohesion and all that stuff then you do it in schools. But good luck reforming the education system to do that job. Anyone who thinks that a spell in the army will straighten out a budding criminal should remember that the Krays did national service, mostly in various prisons including the Tower of London.

Conscription is a tool during a large scale war so the country doesn't allow all the lads that build ships and mine coal to go off and get killed on the Western Front. It was also used in peacetime to build a large body of men with some military training who can then be called up for service in time of war. A modern large scale war would probably be over before the reservists get their call-up email.
 
#69
......If we want to improve our community you need compulsory national service in other forms, ie community service.
I'm with you on that one. Ireland is turning out thousands of graduates every year, many of whom are on the plane to Australia, the Gulf States or the US as soon as they get their degree in their sweaty little hands. They should either serve some time repaying the taxpayer's investment in their education or reimburse the taxpayer before emigrating.
 
#70
"Bad Lads Army" sounds a fun idea but when they tried something similar on thugs in borstals all it produced was thugs who were more confident and who were now fit enough to outrun police.
People tend to forget that, Borstal just produced lots of harder and fitter young criminals.
And bearing in mind the endemic gang violence and stabbings on the streets of the UK, what could possibly go wrong with training a generation of 18 year olds in proper skirmishing and hand to hand fighting skills?
I suggest some of the misty eyed look at the quasi-paramilitary gangs you got on the continent.
 
#73
........it took two years to train an ASOp (Aerospace Systems Operator) in the RAF to be fully qualified to NATO/ADGE standards, and that's creaming off the top of the recruitment pool - just how long would NS last? So a NS man/woman would be considered fully operational the day before they left - good use of training and resources and not a waste of everyone's time.

We had some YTS when that was all the rage.......poor sods, badly paid, expected to do the same work as us 'regulars' - not far off conscription by the back-door, it was crap scheme and fell apart fairly rapidly
 
#74
The trouble with written history is that people writing it almost always have an agenda. Think about how colonial history was once always positive, now almost always negative.

I have read probably a dozen books about NS, some looking for negatives, some looking for positives, some individual, trying to be honest accounts of their own time in, but when they mix their cap-badges up, I wonder. Possibly two of those were thoroughly objective and really attempting to write the story as they encountered it, but even then they constantly quote maybe five or six people they have interviewed.

I sometimes wish I had had the forethought to give informal exit interviews to all the stars and plonkers I knew over my time in the army. I could have written the definitive histories of the back end of NS, retreat from the colonies and 'BAOR before the Turdis'! Some historian who had never been there would still refute everything I wrote.
I think that the real test of how popular National Service was with those who were inducted is how many opted to sign on for regular service. There were strong incentives to do so. Higher pay and status, enhanced training, career and promotion prospects etc. Few opted to do so. Most got their heads down, did what was required and then got out.

There was no opportunity for the NS man to decide what arm of the forces he was to serve in. Even less choice as to the branch or trade. Little heed was paid to selecting the right man for the job or utilising what skills an individual may have already acquired in civilian life. Similarly, any skills that might have been acquired by the NS man during his service were rarely the kind of skills transferable into civvy street, even less likely that they would be useful to a man in his previous civilian trade or calling to which he had returned.

I understand that one of the few exceptions to the neglect of the 'right man for the job' rule would have been in the case of linguists, where very specific requirements had to be met. Those with higher levels of education would have been identified in the early days of service and found themseves spirited off to Bodmin, Coulsdon or Craill.

National Service was not incepted to provide a career for conscripted men or even to consider his aptitudes for best employment while serving. It was there only to fulfil the high manpower requirements of the retreat from empire. It was all about bums on seats and all too often, the wrong bums on the wrong seats.

It is relatively easy for some old NS men to become misty-eyed about their time once they had come out, but it has to be considered why it was that they did their time and came out. There was every opportunity to do otherwise.

Neither was there any spirited fight from the armed forces for the retention of National Service.
 
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ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
#76
Many people seem to forget that one reason for the military National Service in UK was because within living memory two large wars had been fought and although technology was changing and advancing very quickly the concept was always labour intensive (as was shown in the Korean conflict). Even the "colonial" troubles required a lot of people to police and it was then relatively simple to train military personnel to a suitable standard for what was required. Many National Servicemen were slightly older having been deferred due to apprenticeships/university and possibly slightly more mature but those with me tried very hard to be the soldiers they did not really want to be - and succeeded. There was also the problem that National Servicemen only did a couple of years (less at one time) whereas the regular serviceman was spending some 2.5 to 3 years on a tour. This didn't really help the individual or the system because (relatively) no sooner had they arrived than they were leaving.

Now, military conscription would be a waste of time because, as someone wrote earlier, it would all be over before they had finished basic. However, I feel there are many really good systems such as the Voluntary Service and Duke of Edinburgh Awards which could be adapted and rolled into one programme to provide a form of obligatory service which could not only benefit the country but also the conscripts themselves.
 
#77
Questions, questions, questions........

1. What would this be for - is there a single aim or range of defined aims?
2. Are they other ways of achieving this?
3. What are the costs (£££) and who is paying?
 
#78
People tend to forget that, Borstal just produced lots of harder and fitter young criminals.
And bearing in mind the endemic gang violence and stabbings on the streets of the UK, what could possibly go wrong with training a generation of 18 year olds in proper skirmishing and hand to hand fighting skills?
I suggest some of the misty eyed look at the quasi-paramilitary gangs you got on the continent.

But NS doesn't have to be Military based does it? - as mentioned , ooh, shit loads of times already Trigger..
 
#79
........but then if it's just to do the gash jobs in civilian society it will destroy the jobs of those already doing them, why pay minimum wage for workers when you can draft in a bunch of 'free' workers?
 
#80
........but then if it's just to do the gash jobs in civilian society it will destroy the jobs of those already doing them, why pay minimum wage for workers when you can draft in a bunch of 'free' workers?
So you can spend the money saved improving the training and thus the prospects of those minimum wage workers?
 

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