Recruiting at 26 and joining a cavalry regiment



Dear all,

I am just finishing a Ph.D., which puts me at the upper end of officer recruiting age. I've had a nagging desire to pursue a career as an officer in the Army for quite some time, but for a couple of reasons have not followed through on this. Anyway, I believe the time has come to go for it - at least I can then say I have tried rather than moping for ever about not going for something that I actually really wanted.

Clearly, I am 'getting on a bit' in Army recruitment terms now, and wonder how that really affects one's recruitment chances into the combat arms. I find myself gravitating towards the cavalry regiments (in particular, the Household Cavalry). I will, of course, organise fam visits to other regiments / specialties, but it doesn't hurt to have a strong aim to start with. I would welcome any informed advice on this; I have used the search and what I can find is fairly vague and patchy.

Crack on. Clearly combat arms are going to be concerned about the verve and robustness of someone who is a bit older than university-leavers, but if it is clear that you are just as fit and strong as the whippersnappers a few years younger than you (frankly more a perceived than real problem, in my view) there should be no trouble.
The other thing that might concern them is how you would fit into the mess or feel about living in a mess with everyone a bit younger. Again, shouldn't be a problem, but if you are married and expect to live out that could mark you down a bit. However you may still rank above everyone else and it won't be an issue.
'Getting into' a regiment can be broadly summarised thus: are you good enough and do they want you to live and work with them? As such there are no hard and fast rules such as age, race, religion, marital status, pft time, weight, height etc etc.
As you say, if you don't try before it's too late you'll never know! You may not like it anyway!


Thank you for that. I had thought that the fitness / robustness difference could be a potential issue. I agree that it is somewhat perceived; you are as fit as you are, and that is that really. Luckily, I'm the fittest I have ever been at the moment, and working regularly to increase that both actively and through my sporting activities.

I hadn't thought about the mess issue, although I really don't see that as a problem (not married, have lived in mixed-age shared houses for years, high tolerance for things which annoy me, etc!).

Would you advise that the best way to kick-start this would be to drop into an AFCO cold, or write to potential regiments asking for their assistance?
The careers office at your university should be able to put you in touch with the relevant 'officer recruiting officer'. Also exploit some personal contacts to get to know a few current officers to pump them for information so you're not just getting the party line. Good luck.


Again thank you. A close relative is a senior infantry officer, so I will of course use that connection (although, not sure how much he'd like to put me in touch with cavalry types!). Time to crack on, methinks.
TenaciousDave said:
Crack on. Clearly combat arms are going to be concerned about the verve and robustness of someone who is a bit older than university-leavers, but if it is clear that you are just as fit and strong as the whippersnappers a few years younger than you (frankly more a perceived than real problem, in my view) !
I really don't understand this argument, in pure fitness and strength terms in the various sports teams I play in or have played in I've found guys in their mid 20's tend to be stronger and fitter than guys in their early twenties.

I accept that as you get older recovery time and resistance to injury etc does deteriorate but it's not like international rugby players etc don't keep getting stronger and fitter as they go into their mid twenties.


Yes, I agree - I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been (although not enough - more PT for me!). However, I think that's more due to my more active lifestyle of the past four years, and no undergraduate-style boozing, rather than some superman-esque mid 20s fitness spurt.

If I may ask if anybody can help with the following, with apologies for cross-posting to the RAC forum; I think this one gets more traffic. After trawling around the Army web site, I found the email address, to which I have written an introductory letter (well, email in the form of), requesting advice as to the process to follow to arrange a visit, and to obtain (hopefully) regimental sponsorship. In terms of getting to be known by your favoured regiment, friends and relatives have been from pillar to post going down the standard AFCO route so I am keen to get in touch personally as well.

As the email address I found was buried deeply in some obscure page, I am not at all confident it will get through. With the naive assumption that the Royal Mail are more reliable, I would like to follow this up with a letter and / or a polite phone call. If anybody could give me the details of the Regimental Recruiting Officer for the HCR or RHG/D if they have their own, and if possible a phone number, then I would be most grateful. On the web I can only find phone numbers for the NAAFI, Regimental Archive, and forces housing association at Combermere Barracks.

Many thanks again to all.
Just get in touch with your ACA asap, he or she will get the ball rolling from there. It's a lenghty process at the best of times so you will have plenty of time to go on as many visits as you can handle from your first contact to your Main board. Don't let the age factor deter you from anything, some regiments might take issue with others don't, just go for it.


Kit Reviewer
Good Luck. When you step through the hallowed portals of Fort Doom do take time to really enjoy First Encounter, its a special moment. Re the Donkey Wallopers. A couple of them can be a bit funny about who they allow into their Regiment. Owning a shoot wouldn't hurt, a brace of Ponies a Bonus, and your house should not, under any circumstances have a number on it when filling in the application form before you reach the post code. How loud can you shout "FORM"? There's always the Chav Cav if you don't tick these boxes.


Thanks all for the advice. Will get things rolling ASAP. With regards to the 'type of person' comments, searching for the 1,000,000 times that has been raised indicates to me that it's a non-issue. I'm not going to go into my credentials here; I'll roll with the 'if the face fits...' approach.

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