What prompted you to join what and why?

I served from 1959, the day after my 15th Birthday until my Birthday in 1975.I wanted to go on but had a wife and family. I wanted to be a solicitor when I was at school but no money in the family to pay for articles, so then the police but a slight eye defect so that was out. but I was quite happy to join the Army and served as best I could.
I am now almost 70 and still miss aspects of it. Most of you on ARRSE are of different ages from different backgrounds and a different time socially. Why did you join what did you join and what do you think of the experience?
Genuinely Interested
I should also have asked "Would you do it again or what would you change?"
Spotty littlle just turned 17 year old, strolls onto army recruiting building. A CPL on top balcony yells at me "there's a fine strapping lad, get up here now and you'll be in the army in two weeks time."

You know what, he was right.
I wanted to blow shit up and slay evil doers.

Didn't do much of either really, but had a marvellous time along the way regardless; what with all the parachuting and carrying enormous loads in miserable weather over the mountains of the world and shagging nannies and traveling and pissing off paddies etc. I would have stayed in if I didn't have to work for some real ********* for utterly, utterly crap pay and bennies.
How many years did they use that line for. I almost ended in the Welsh Guards for fcuks sake.
How many years did they use that line for. I almost ended in the Welsh Guards for fcuks sake.
WTF are you talking about? Over....
@ Canadar well whats changed the pay is still crap thats for sure and now they are promising a place on the waiting list or a preferential mortgage which you probably still cant afford. Cant mention Paddies any more (not PC) but the nanny shagging and the travel as long as you pay your own fare are still possible until the nannies find out how much you earn of course then they are off. One time I can remember that the only thing I had to wear was No. 2 dress. Of course we use to spend a lot on booze
Thought haircuts were free. Was sold a pup and no Boston neck either.

I heard the "I'm your mother now son" line and thought cool at least I'll have one, turned out to be bloke who was averse to cuddles..


Best mate joined the RM. Came home on his first leave, gave me all the bollocks,sounds good thinks I. Off to the RN recruiting office on the Centre in Bristol, did all the quizzes and stuff, "Ok, you can join, come back in a fortnight" or thereabouts.
Drove back at the appointed time, had to park up behind the Colston Hall, opposite which was the Army recruiting office, I'll have a look in there I thinks to myself. Big pictures of Centurions. They looked cool, and I didn't like swimming much anyway. Bimbled in, big Jock recruiting sgt told me, after training, I would be playing rugby all the time.Sold, off I went to the Elephants Arse. He lied, but I had a cracking time.
Yes,I'd do it all again, maybe with a little less grog and brawling.
where I lived the choice came down to pits,steelworks, or forces, I enquired about the Navy first but the minimum enlistment time was too long, so the army it was ,I passed the REME entrance as it was in those days and my mate failed so he said both of you can go to RASC and stay together,..on arrival at training we were split up at the railway stn and our paths differed from then on in....wtf was that all about?
I suppose the recruiting staff tell the truth these days?


My step-father. He refused to allow me to stay at home any longer after getting my O-levels, scuppering my chances of going on and getting the A-levels that would have made getting into the RAF so much easier. I had to take Mother with me to the ACIO as I was under-age on the pretext of nipping into town to buy her a coffee. Two weeks later I was off to Lichfield, then Middle Wallop, followed by three weeks leave waiting for a slot at Catterick. Made my step-father buy the beers down t'Legion every night for those three weeks.

I left after 18 years. The local TA rang asking if I'd like to join them. Quite how they thought an ex-Lynx pilot with shagged knees would cope with the LI was a bit baffling, so I just told them that I'd rather not have people pointing at me in the street and laughing, unless I could skip the pointless shit and get straight to the drinking.

Would I do it again? Not ******* likely.
Sheffield in the sixties was dire. I had a shit job with low pay. I was sitting in the top deck of a bus bound for the grimy factory where I worked. It was February and the weather was crap, blustery rain. The top deck of the bus smelled of wet gaberdine and farts. Due to the lurching movement of the bus combined with my age I had a hard on - a phenomenon which, I was later to learn, was called convoy cock.

The bus stopped right outside the army recruiting office near Fitzalan square.

I remember thinking "do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? How to escape?"

I got off the bus and went into the ARO. I was in the army 4 weeks later and stayed for 22 years.
My brother joined after seeing my passing off the square parade. So took him to the recruiting office, where he promptly joined a different regiment and lost me the £20 recruitment payment. Still owes me that money.
2007 Aged 20

Went to join when I was 17 but got warned off to have a few years on civy street getting stuff out of my system. Alwayws wanted to join one of the several uniformed service, walked into Chatham AFCO and the RAF and Navy desks had people sitting at em, so army it was :)
Joined aged 18 as there was **** all around my area and most of my mates were getting locked up for being knobs/robbing/drugs etc.

Never regretted it for one minute.
My brother joined after seeing my passing off the square parade. So took him to the recruiting office, where he promptly joined a different regiment and lost me the £20 recruitment payment. Still owes me that money.

Did get him back though. Got an invite to his Corporals mess and started a fight amongst them, while I slid out the door.


Well 1981 is was join Mmaggies Army or join Maggies army, not much choice really, rather enjoyed my army education instead of the alternative which was tech or 6th Form!
I thought it would be a great way to meet and shag women. Had a fantastic time when based in Woolwich. used to get the train into the city and go up the West End. If I wasn't up there then the Rugby Club and NAFFI disco were a guaranteed shagging platz at the QEMH (Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital) just down the road from the RA Depot. No internet in those days you just brought her a drink if you wanted to go out with her !
From a coal-mining, power station and farming spot. Went to university and had 3 years with the OTC. Lots of shooting, Cambrian march and,er, drinking and dancing. So had plans to do a short service commission with the RE.

However I wanted to join a unit with a county identity and the SO2 starting the Cambrian March each day had a cap-badge with Yorkshire written on it. So I joined and stayed for 22 years. Been out since 2000 but the other half is still stagging on.
Funny how there are some ARRSE-ers who go on about personal sacrifice, lack of money, deserving everything from the Govt for 'serving' their country when, if the above is a fair cross-section of reasons for joining up, it was a lack of credible alternative and a chance to shag their dicks off and drink their livers to 3 times their natural size :) Sensible reasons for sure but not much sign of patriotism there ;-)

And for the record, I was persuaded to join up (as a STAB) with promises of lots of adventurous training for which I would be paid rather than up to then self funded. They never told me what I would have to do to get it though ! Mind, as a poor student when I joined, the extra money was useful. Serving my country was far from my mind too. As a STAB, the craic was less than as a reg' (I had mates and a life outside ), but so was the petty bullshit and waiting around and twat empire builders a couple of mates who did go reg told me about.
That said, if I was 20 now I'd be signing up as a reg but it's a very different Army now to the late 70's and early 80's. Back then i was getting a grant to study for an Engineering degree. I would not be able to afford to do that now.


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