Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Why did you join the Army? Do you feel it was worth it? Where did it take you blah blah blah...

Where I lived as a young man you had 3 choices:

1. Go down the mines.
2. Join up.
3. Live on the dole, occasionally doing a bit of soul destroying warehouse work.
Not sure if it was just a Scotland thing in the 80s, my memory sucks, but just as I was leaving school to go into the army, I got a YTS (Youth Training Scheme) letter through the door telling me I'd be starting the scheme as a window fitter earning the massive amount of £25 a week. I dont remember asking, or getting a choice, plus it would have meant a life still living in Dundee. Again, I owe the army quite a lot.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
Where I lived as a young man you had 3 choices:

1. Go down the mines.
2. Join up.
3. Live on the dole, occasionally doing a bit of soul destroying warehouse work.

I joined up, and had a fantastic 25 years, traveled to the 4 corners of the earth. My salary now is just over half of my final salary in the Army, but my pension tops it up quite nicely - and it's Mo-Fri 9 to 5 which suits me.

Would I do it all again - absolutely.

MB
This. Sunderland in the 1970s? Mines or shipyards. My father nearly lost an arm miles under the North Sea in 1942 because he couldn't get out of his reserved occupation. I saw him buried on a hillside in South America in 1967, dead at 54 from cancer, either from working underground his entire life or from chain smoking when he wasn't underground.

It was a no brainer for me to join a troop of knights that cared for neither wounds nor scars.

After seven years playing with tanks (ish), I got a proper job in pay, learned a trade that translated direct to civvy street and had a good second career in IT. Not bad for a lad who visited Sunderland Poly while in the Sixth Form, played with some Heath Robinson computer one afternoon for half a term and declared it would never catch on.

It introduced me to sports I'd never otherwise have looked at, and to my wife of 37 years. There's very little I'd change and I'd do it again. But since the Blair used "his" army as his own private toy, I cannot bring myself to recommend it to a young person of today. It has to be their shout.
 
Last edited:
I suppose I was destined to become a soldier, my family had an unbroken line of service in the British Army from the 1780s, thought of nothing else since a very early age.
I wasn't disappointed, lots of travel, bags of adventure, several campaigns, lifelong friends... though my family suffered as a result of constant deployments and my putting service before them.

Divorced and in my mid 30s I decided to resign, thinking if I didn't make the break I'd be in until I was 55.
It was a wrench, though I emigrated to the USA worked like a maniac and was able to retire at 59 with a six figure pension, a 'Cadillac' medical plan and a comfortable lifestyle in a particularly pretty part of rural Connecticut.
Strange to say, despite the trappings of modest success, there was never a day went by that I didn't regret leaving the Army and now, in my early 70s, I find myself being drawn back to the UK to live in a small house I own in a seaside town - to make up for lost time with my son (who also served for a while in my old regiment), to catch up with my grandchildren, and to be able to hang out with old, and valued, friends from those halcyon Army years.

I got a lot out of the Army, the Army got a lot out of me, I'd do it all again though I wouldn't, perhaps, be such the military shit I was first time round!

XXV
 
Last edited:
i joined the TA to get some experience prior to entering as an officer, this subsequently led me going to Iraq shortly after uni and the discovery that whilst i'd wanted to be a soldier for most of my life i didnt particularly like the army* and i'm not convinced i'd have made a particularly good officer.

an Afghan tour satisfied what i realised i actually wanted (to see a war) and after that i went on my merry way. pay was never really a consideration but i'm well paid now and probably on the same money i'd be making had i made major (adjusting for allowances etc.) so from an officer perspective i'm not sure there's much in it. the officers i know who have since left dont appear to be leaps and bounds over their contemporaries and neither are they negatively affected (the initial transition may be slightly different).

personally i would say that the limited time i spent in uniform remains one of the most formative periods of my life and i would not be who i am without it.

from an other ranks point of view it's completely different. i come from a pretty typical middle class background and i never really knew guys with the types of backgrounds that i encountered in the army. the odds are stacked against a lot of these guys and the army can offer them the types of opportunity from a humble starting point that few others can.

someone on a WOII's wage may be capable of commanding a higher salary in civvy street, they may even decide to take it, but few organisations will offer a 16yo who can barely wipe his own arse the opportunities required to progress towards those levels of capabilities.



*whilst i still love the people, traditions and adventure of the army i couldnt stand the day-to-day stuff, systems/processes. this might seem daft i had long enough to get a decent look at it and it just didnt appeal.




what was the question again?
 

poo_finger

Old-Salt
It was what I’d wanted to do ever since being a young boy.
I joined at 16, 2 days before 9/11 happened. Went to AFC Harrogate and had a pretty gleaming career (not withstanding afew alcohol fuelled disciplinaries). Consistently deployed having an excellent time with blokes I hold closer than my own family.

I ended up achieving my life’s goal at a very early age, got to soldier at an extremely high level operationally and despite my leaving prematurely due to being a penarrse on the lash have no regrets.

The Army made me the man I am today, one of questionable morals with unquestionable loyalty to his country, even though it stands to apparently fall apart imminently.
The sense of belonging and importance of service it instilled in me continues to this day.

I have qualifications earned whilst serving and a military background that allowed me to walk directly into a job upon leaving and continues to provide endless opportunity, even though I left the Regular Force nearly 7 years ago.
I have been allowed to continue serving albeit in a Reservist capacity (and huge amounts of humble pie having been eaten) and continue to give to and take from a system that has always worked for me, even though at times I could have worked harder for it.

If given the chance i’d do it all again without hesitancy and change nothing.
 
I went from £60.00 a month out of which I paid rent, food etc to £74.00 a month all found.
This went up to £144.00 after passing my class 3.
Working hours went from 0600 to 2130 including travel to 0645 to 1630.
The food was excellent.
After 5 years I had (in 1979) £11,000.00 saved up that put me on the housing ladder.
Even if I had hated it, it would have been worth and for the most part it was brilliant.
And of course with my pension, state pension and 2 other private pensions I am rolling in dosh.
Recommend it to anyone.
 
Last edited:
I look at those I went to school with. There were five of us who were pretty good mates and did everything together.
One died of a drugs overdose in his 30s, another took over his Dad's business as a cobbler (this was in the 60s, by the way) and committed suicide when the business went bust.
Another started work as a bus conductor and stayed there and retired as an inspector and lives 10 miles from where he was born. The other one was lucky and got an apprenticeship (remember them?) as a carpenter and has now retired 5 streets away from where he was born.
Me? Well, joined as a youngster at 17, spent 30 years in and very rarely served in the UK. Got a BSc (not the giddy heights of MSc) paid for by the Army (I don't think I could have done that on the one day they allowed but was, luckily, a shift worker so got 2 and half days off mid week plus the day the Army gave me so could generally give 3 days a week for study).
All this gave me an excellent grounding to get a managerial job aged 47 which paid about the same as my LE Capt (and a lot more later on) pay plus I got the immediate pension and had a comparable pension scheme as well.

So I'm now an old bugger but, after tax, I get over 3 grand a month in pensions with no mortgage, no rent and very little outgoings. On top of that I have around 175k in savings (not on par with some of the multi-millionaires and square-jawed totty catchers that most on Arrse claim) but well enough to keep me comfortable, travel whenever I want and buy things without wondering where the money is coming from.

I reckon if I hadn't joined I would probably be senior checkout guy at Tesco or a head waiter (I did that going through Tech College) or something.
 
It was what I’d wanted to do ever since being a young boy.
I joined at 16, 2 days before 9/11 happened. Went to AFC Harrogate and had a pretty gleaming career (not withstanding afew alcohol fuelled disciplinaries). Consistently deployed having an excellent time with blokes I hold closer than my own family.

I ended up achieving my life’s goal at a very early age, got to soldier at an extremely high level operationally and despite my leaving prematurely due to being a penarrse on the lash have no regrets.

The Army made me the man I am today, one of questionable morals with unquestionable loyalty to his country, even though it stands to apparently fall apart imminently.
The sense of belonging and importance of service it instilled in me continues to this day.

I have qualifications earned whilst serving and a military background that allowed me to walk directly into a job upon leaving and continues to provide endless opportunity, even though I left the Regular Force nearly 7 years ago.
I have been allowed to continue serving albeit in a Reservist capacity (and huge amounts of humble pie having been eaten) and continue to give to and take from a system that has always worked for me, even though at times I could have worked harder for it.

If given the chance i’d do it all again without hesitancy and change nothing.
Harrogate for me as well, with 9 happy years with a fair few disciplinarians, but came at an earlier time in my life where I was desperate for something.

Was it worth it; Probably not. It takes too much out of you and readjusting to civvie street is a ongoing saga as, unless your an Officer or SNCO, you have a massive job to get onto the ladder and start climbing it, years behind your competitors and a heavy civilian bias against the forces, with things to square in your head.

If I could do it again, I am not sure the modern Army is for me.
 
I joined for the beer, I wasn't disappointed.
 

weegwa

Old-Salt
Joined the RM at 16 off a huge council estate up north with no quals, stupidity (at the time) got out after 11 Years after some pretty spectacular world travel. Really hated being a civvie, so joined the pongos after six months of holding down two jobs to try a match my RM wages. Had a ball in the army, beer, NI, beer, Kosovo, beer, Iraq and more beer. 10 years ago transferred into the Aussie army and loving it. Start a fabulous posting when I go back after 2 months long service leave. Currently drinking Bintang in Bali (shitehole - Costa del sol for Aussies). Still going strong after 30 years and loving it! I would recommend the forces to anyone as long as they can put up with a little dumb shit here and there and have a sense of humour.
 
I left school at 15 years of age because I wanted to join the Army ASAP. I had no educational qualifications whatsoever. I just wanted to be a soldier and still at 15 years of age, I found myself in the Junior Infantryman's Battalion at Shornecliffe for the next two years.

I passed out from the JIB and after a few weeks at the RGJ Regimental Depot at Winchester, I flew to Germany to join my battalion at Celle. They were on tour in Belfast so I was on rear party for several weeks until my 18th birthday.

I always recall that the 19th October 1973 was on a Friday because I was 18 years old on that day and in Belfast on the Monday. I phoned my dad who said to me, this phone call must be costing you a fortune from Germany son. He was a little shocked when I replied, I'm not in Germany dad, I'm in Belfast.

I was doing what I wanted to be doing since I was a lad though. I was soldiering. I stopped with 1RGJ for four and a half years and it was a fairly hectic time. After a year in Germany and a move back to Dover in the UK, I did four operational tours overall. Three across the water and one UN tour. Chuck in a brief stint on public duties and a trip to Guyana in South America and it seemed like there was always something going on.

Then I met this girl and we got married. Rather daftly, for some reason I didn't think married life would suit me in the army so I left. That's a decision I still regret especially when I look at where some of my mates ended up as they progressed their army careers. The marriage didn't work out and four years later I was single again.

Back in civvy street, I did a couple of different jobs and ended up working for my local authority. After five years there, I got involved in Trade Unions and ended up being seconded to work for a Union on a full time basis. A job I did for the next six or seven years.

I eventually decided to give up the Union work and move on. I had picked up some expertise in employment law and what was then known as compulsory competition and I was approached by a Council departmental director with a job offer. I accepted because it paid the mortgage and fed the kids. It also started me on a career track in senior management.

I was the exception in this work because unlike my colleagues, I was the person who left school at fifteen years of age with no educational qualifications. They were all very well educated, many of them with university degrees and yet surprisingly, I could runs rings around most of them where work was concerned.

Those six and a half years in the army had given me some things that they didn't have. It had given me the mindset to get on with it and get the job done regardless of whatever the problems were. It had taught me to be decisive and to be approachable if a colleague wanted advice. It had also instilled in me that good manners counted for a lot when dealing with colleagues and with the public. I was there for twenty years.

When I did eventually leave, I was in my early forties and I set up to earn my own living in the building industry. Firstly in general building and the after several years, I specialised in groundwork with my own plant. I'm not wealthy but I own my house and I have a decent pension that both pays the bills and keeps me in beer.

So for me, although I cut my army career off at a fairly early stage, my experience in uniform did give me a form of education that prepared me for getting on with it and seeing it through and that stood me in very good stead as I moved on to other things.
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
I was going to write something pithy, however...

If I hadn't joined up, I'd never have been given the opportunity to earn a shed load of money as an ARRSE moderator.
 

TheSnake

Clanker
My choice after leaving school was either turn right and join the Army, or turn left and probably end up in prison.
Oh, and having my old man as RSM of the regiment may have had a bit to do with it.....
 
Joined to do something decent with my life. Served 13 of which nearly all was overseas. My courses and experiences set me up (eventually) to do pretty well for myself. Currently earning the same as a Red Tab so can't really knock it.
 

greyfergie

MIA
Book Reviewer
I joined because my father said I couldnt hack it, I stayed three times as long as he had done. I felt it was worth it, it took me all over the place. It gave me huge confidence and taught me I could attempt [and often succeed at] anything. Oh chicks, scraps and beer obviously....
 
I left school at 15 years of age because I wanted to join the Army ASAP. I had no educational qualifications whatsoever. I just wanted to be a soldier and still at 15 years of age, I found myself in the Junior Infantryman's Battalion at Shornecliffe for the next two years.

I passed out from the JIB and after a few weeks at the RGJ Regimental Depot at Winchester, I flew to Germany to join my battalion at Celle. They were on tour in Belfast so I was on rear party for several weeks until my 18th birthday.

I always recall that the 19th October 1973 was on a Friday because I was 18 years old on that day and in Belfast on the Monday. I phoned my dad who said to me, this phone call must be costing you a fortune from Germany son. He was a little shocked when I replied, I'm not in Germany dad, I'm in Belfast.

I was doing what I wanted to be doing since I was a lad though. I was soldiering. I stopped with 1RGJ for four and a half years and it was a fairly hectic time. After a year in Germany and a move back to Dover in the UK, I did four operational tours overall. Three across the water and one UN tour. Chuck in a brief stint on public duties and a trip to Guyana in South America and it seemed like there was always something going on.

Then I met this girl and we got married. Rather daftly, for some reason I didn't think married life would suit me in the army so I left. That's a decision I still regret especially when I look at where some of my mates ended up as they progressed their army careers. The marriage didn't work out and four years later I was single again.

Back in civvy street, I did a couple of different jobs and ended up working for my local authority. After five years there, I got involved in Trade Unions and ended up being seconded to work for a Union on a full time basis. A job I did for the next six or seven years.

I eventually decided to give up the Union work and move on. I had picked up some expertise in employment law and what was then known as compulsory competition and I was approached by a Council departmental director with a job offer. I accepted because it paid the mortgage and fed the kids. It also started me on a career track in senior management.

I was the exception in this work because unlike my colleagues, I was the person who left school at fifteen years of age with no educational qualifications. They were all very well educated, many of them with university degrees and yet surprisingly, I could runs rings around most of them where work was concerned.

Those six and a half years in the army had given me some things that they didn't have. It had given me the mindset to get on with it and get the job done regardless of whatever the problems were. It had taught me to be decisive and to be approachable if a colleague wanted advice. It had also instilled in me that good manners counted for a lot when dealing with colleagues and with the public. I was there for twenty years.

When I did eventually leave, I was in my early forties and I set up to earn my own living in the building industry. Firstly in general building and the after several years, I specialised in groundwork with my own plant. I'm not wealthy but I own my house and I have a decent pension that both pays the bills and keeps me in beer.

So for me, although I cut my army career off at a fairly early stage, my experience in uniform did give me a form of education that prepared me for getting on with it and seeing it through and that stood me in very good stead as I moved on to other things.
Now , if you had joined the cavalry the outcome would have been the same but you would have had a bit more style..;) Didn't help me a lot either.:oops:
 

Latest Threads

Top