UK Foreign Legion

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#1
Britain has almost as many overseas volunteers serving in its armed forces as the French Foreign Legion, The Herald can reveal.

The number of soldiers from Commonwealth and other countries who enlisted in the UK's Army, Navy and RAF rose by 790 last year to 7240. By comparison, the famous Legion Etrangere has 7600 men in its ranks.

If the 3000 Gurkhas were included, Britain's foreign legion would outnumber that of France and Spain, which deliberately recruit foreigners for military service.
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The vast majority of Commonwealth volunteers have joined the Army. They include 2030 Fijians, 600 Zimbabweans and 460 from the tiny Caribbean island state of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

There are also 880 from South Africa, 140 from Kenya and 170 from Australian and New Zealand. Another 80 are from Canada. Almost one in 10 of the soldiers in the Royal Regiment of Scotland is Fijian. High unemployment at home, almost 25% in most Caribbean islands, and political or social unrest appear to be the main driving forces behind the enlistments.

The number of Caribbean volunteers has shot up, with the St Vincent contingent rising from 280 in 2006 to 460 last year. South African volunteers rose from 720 to 880, while Trindad and Tobago's contribution to British numbers increased by almost one-third from 70 to just over 100. Zimbabwe, now in economic and political meltdown, produced a 20% rise.

With almost every battalion in the Army an average of 90 men below frontline "bayonet strength", the influx of willing volunteers means there are foreigners in most units, with the highest concentration in the hard-pressed infantry.

The MoD admits the Army is 3800 men below complement, a shortfall worsened by the number of experienced soldiers of all ranks choosing to leave, largely because of the family pressures resulting from repeated combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Figures obtained by The Herald show the Royal Armoured Corps, the Army's 11 tank and reconnaissance units, are 590 men short - the equivalent of a regiment.

Even Prince Harry's unit, the Household Cavalry, are 65 troopers under-recruited. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, which is sending a 120-strong squadron to Afghanistan to support a new spring offensive against the Taliban, is 104 below its 587 "operational manpower liability".

Proposals drawn up last year by the Army general staff, headed by General Sir Richard Dannatt, are in favour of imposing a ceiling on the number of non-UK volunteers.

Senior officers are said to be worried the Army could be seen as employing too many "mercenaries" and are keen that it should reflect British "norms and values".

The MoD said a decision on limiting overseas volunteer numbers had not yet been taken. A spokesman added: "The Army has a long and successful tradition of employing and integrating overseas personnel and we have no wish to discontinue this practice."
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/new..._armed_forces_match_French_Foreign_Legion.php

Perhaps we should start a Regiment especially for foreign nationals
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#2
I thought that the RLC was that already?
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#4
I don't have a problem but it does show the problem of recruiting UK Nationals. Take away the foreigners & we would be up sh!t creek.
 
#6
tommy_cooker said:
if they're willing volunteers then whats the problem?
Because some of their views on the British army invading/peace keeping in Kenya/Zimbabwe/Fiji etc etc are rather disturbing.
 
#7
I don't have a problem but it does show the problem of recruiting UK Nationals. Take away the foreigners & we would be up sh!t creek.
So more than 9 out of 10 are UK nationals. I agree that we need these troops but I fail to see how more than 9 out of 10 is an insignificant number compared to less than 1 out of 10.

It would also be interesting to see how many other nations have foreign nationals in their ranks and what the ratios are.
 
#8
Spain has loads. The foreign legion's long gone, but now the forces actively recruit in South and Central America with citizenship as the prize. Don't know the figures but 15-20% wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.
 
#9
forgive my ignorance but will these chaps who have served have any citizenship rights?
 
#10
oldbaldy said:
Senior officers are said to be worried the Army could be seen as employing too many "mercenaries" and are keen that it should reflect British "norms and values".
My bold - and what the feck would that be?

Hoodies? Polish Immigrants doing the dirty work? Muslims on an anti-Brit campaign? Doing as little as possible and cheating as much out of the system as is possible?

This country's values have been sold out by countless politicians out to line their own pockets and left wing do-gooders who like to play the Samaritan but would baulk at the thought of the same people they are attempting to help living on their doorstep.
 
#12
This is not a uniquely UK issue. The US Army employs huge numbers of foreigners, most of whom aspire to citizenship but do not yet have it. many of them (mostly hispanic of one nationality or another) hardly speak English. Without them (actually, even with them) the US Army has serious manning issues.
 
#13
762baynet said:
forgive my ignorance but will these chaps who have served have any citizenship rights?
No more than any other run-of-the-mill immigrant.

EDITED TO ADD: Can apply for citizenship after 5 years residence in the UK.
 
#14
Aussie army recruits a few foreigners too. Poms, Kiwis, Tahitians, Fijian and many others too.

Even Yanks are coming over (there was an ex-USMC Capt in 1 Bde)

Members of the ADF are required to attain citizenship within 3 months of being eligible to do so (3 months service). Maybe the UK could get more overseas recruits if they adopted this policy....
 
#16
Bert_Preast said:
I'm amazed that citizenship isn't a given for anyone who's done say 4 years without too many fcuk ups.
What? Are you mad, man? That would risk upsetting the Daily Mail with all those brahn faces all over the place. Can't have the statistics looking bad, after all - that's much more important than mere people or principles.

I apologise, for a moment, I was thinking like a politician, there. Does anyone know where I can get my brain disinfected?
 
#17
I am on the whole anti-immigration, as I feel too many immigrants want nothing more than an easy life from the UK. Got absolutely no problem with immigrants gaining citizenship via military service, though. If they've gone through that, they've earned and proved all that's required and are quite welcome to raid my fridge and leap on my sister.
 
#18
Cant be giving them citizenship. How would we fit in all the malingering, workshy, benefits seeking parasites if we fill the country up with honest, hard working individuals?
 
#19
stacker1 said:
tommy_cooker said:
if they're willing volunteers then whats the problem?
Because some of their views on the British army invading/peace keeping in Kenya/Zimbabwe/Fiji etc etc are rather disturbing.
You'd have to balance that up against having a few chaps on hand who understand the natives. There's a cost for being risk adverse in these matters.

The 20th Century French Foreign Legion was often rather Germanic (they had to tag German recruits at 25% in 46) and later North African. It was a forward leaning policy. In general they fought very well for the Legion despite their native countries position as French opponents. Traditionally it's the French officer corps of the Legion that has given Paris gyp rather than the foreigners.

They've even hired amongst France's most traditional foe; les rostbifs. I recall 2ème Regiment Etrangère de Parachutistes being nicknamed 2ème PARA back in the 80s. Though like most plebeian things in the EU the Legion is increasingly dominated by the demographic shockwave of Eastern European migrants.

In these times I'd be actively recruiting goat loving folk whose first language was Pashtu, Parsi or Urdu. The Crown should be offering similar citizenship guarantees to the Legion particularly Français par le sang versé.
 
#20
oldbaldy said:
Britain has almost as many overseas volunteers serving in its armed forces as the French Foreign Legion, The Herald can reveal.

The number of soldiers from Commonwealth and other countries who enlisted in the UK's Army, Navy and RAF rose by 790 last year to 7240. By comparison, the famous Legion Etrangere has 7600 men in its ranks.
http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/new..._armed_forces_match_French_Foreign_Legion.php
This newspaper has compared the entire UK armed forces (admittedly not as large as they once were) with an organisation that is approx. 3 brigades large? Perhaps not a huge surprise that we have more foreigners serving than La Legion does.

Also, the article appears to assume that all members of the Legion are foreign. This is not so, although I think Frenchmen enlisting 'pretend' to be Belgian, Swiss, etc.

Lastly, the relationship between the UK and the countries supplying most of our foreign troops is friendly, and goes back in history. Aussies, for example, don't join the British Army thinking they might one day be fighting against their own country. I have no problem with such people joining UK forces, or with our people joining theirs.

It's good to highlight issues of recruitment and retainment, but this is a misleading article.
 

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