Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Whiskybreath, May 30, 2005.

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  1. All for them, apart from the sod who beat me up during a milling contest. Apparently we need another hundred (Telegraph article today: Clergy seeking adventure: the Army needs you). Fine.

    What I didn't like about the article was the quote from the Comd 39 Inf Bde, Brig Richard Barrons: "He described a soldier, "warts and all", as someone who might have a reading age of 11 and whose main interests were drinking lager, eating chips and chasing girls".

    There may be a grain or two of truth in there, but you don't get more patronising than that.
  2. Better than the description of a Brig

    "genital warts and all", as someone whose main interests were drinking shandy, eating chips and chasing eleven year old boys"
  3. Unfortunately, collectiveley as British soldiers our average reading age is 11. This is a proven fact and one of the drivers behind the various Basic Skills and personal development initiatives.

    Lager is the most consumed beverage in NAAFI's around the world.

    Chips are about the most popular item on cookhouse menus.

    The majority of soldiers are heterosexual and by deduction chase girls.

    I do all of the above as does virtually every soldier I know. Take a good look in the mirror Maltbreath...unless you are a Walt!

  4. I can see that you fit the description, but don't see at all why a denigrating reference such as this should be made in the Telegraph's columns by a serving officer. It hardly promotes a positive image of the 'average' British soldier. More seriously, he may have thought it was an endearing image, but there are many, particularly those who write for the Guardian and form the influential heart of the New Labour Project who will use those words to conclusively reinforce their own stereotypes, to the disadvantage of the Forces as a whole.
  5. Patronise the troops - it does them good to see themselves described in print - if we lived in the 1800s! Sure squaddies love chips, beer etc etc. So does half the population plus in the UK. Tosser! Apart from one or two blokes, a reading age of 11 was unheard of in the places I served. A letter to the Torygraph (my paper anyway) to complain I think - harrumph!
  6. Zofo,

    I don't know where you served or when you served but unfortunately the 11 year old statistic still stands. As for Maltyhallitosis, your grauniad writer's need only pop out to a garrison town on a friday night and they can have their stereotypes conclusively reinforced in person!

  7. By a Commanding Brigadier?
  8. Is there any chance you can point me in the direction of the 11 year old reading age statisitcs?

    I suspect for it to be valid, a large proportion of the army must be to illiterate to have filled in the enlistment forms.

    When I was an instructor at the ATR we did have a few problem children who found some reading and writing difficult. I suspect they were around the 10 - 11 year old level. However, as they were very much in the minority I cant see how the average is so low. I had one intake form up with 45 AMS recruits - most of whom were very, very well educated and very literate. Even giving them a reading age of (say) 16 would imply that to keep the average at 11, 65 other "retards" had to enlist.

    Over the two year period, I was involved in the training of approximately 320 soldiers. Out of those 320, I think 20 were poor enough at english and maths to require remedial training and another 30 or so were not very "literate" (by my subjective standards). Conversely, 40 were already trained nurses and another 40 already had degrees (or equivalent). To maintain an army wide average reading age of 11, you can see there would have to be a massive amount of functional retards going around.

    For reference, the capbadges I trained were AMS, RAC, AGC (SPS&RMP), AAC with a token smattering of RSigs and Int Corps.

    Before people go off accusing the Infantry of being the home of these reading age 2 soldiers - most infantry soldiers I have met have actually been fairly intelligent. :)
  9. R. Sigs, '84-'91 - we had all sorts of tradesbods from EW to combat siggy though there were some educationally borderline blokes, the vast majority were not dimwits , could read and debate. If the stats stand then that is a dire reflection on the education programme in the UK.
  10. Gentlemen, by your own admission your experience is with soldiers from Corps that recruit from the highest GTI brackets, so your experience is hardly typical and and probably a little out of date.

    The 11 year old reading age has been quite widely reported. I was briefed on it recently in a Personal Development Brief given by the Royal Artillery Personal Development Centre.

    I think you are too sensitive over the Brigadier's comments. There is far more positive PR emanating from Iraq endorsing our soldiers as first class operators. Everyone knows that soldiers enjoy a beer and chasing lasses - as do all young men. I do not think he spoke out of turn.

  11. I've searched the various sites and can't find such a reference (your link doesn't work). If you can find one that does work, grateful you post it. Not that its' particularly relevant. Everyone knows that downtown Aldershot or Plymouth or wherever on a Friday evening can be a showground for the primal urges of our youth, whether serving or not.

    And I've no doubt that the state schools are letting our children down in all sorts of ways (although mine is at a truly excellent one), but somehow doubt that the average Army recruit is so much lower down the scale than the average school leaver who does not enter the Forces. If our national average is at the level of ability you claim, we're in serious trouble. And yet in my Corps I hear that entrants with first degrees are a common feature now (it wasn't when I was serving), and I expect that's true for, as you say, the rest of the technical and specialised Corps.

    But it is, in fact, irrelevant. The Comd 39 Bde made a statement to the press which will register with those who may wish to use it against the Army, and it was, to my eyes, patronising. He is in a key post; he is likely to be very much in line for higher responsibilities, yet this was, in my opinion, an irresponsible statement.

    You may remember Gerald Ratner's infamous speech when he hoped to win his audience with a version of what he saw as a self-evident truth relating to his product, and the consequences.
  12. I posted something in the infantry forum a few months back:

    Illiterate Infantry Recruits
  13. Percy - thank you!

    Badbreath - Jamie oliver slated Turkey Twizzlers in his School Dinners programme, but the sales still went up. Ratner had a crap product, but ours is a world leader.

  14. That reference from the Telegraph is shocking (here) and in fact is worse than you'd think from that first statistic; over 70% are at or below that level, it seems, although they do refer only to the infantry.

    The saving grace I suppose is the quote "from a senior Army officer":