The same idea of utilizing skills applied to the professions and me and my fellow squaddies in surveying and the allied professions. The Army took pains to find those with the necessary intellect and educational attainments to master the skills and techniques required of the Surveyor RA. The test we took at the end of the surveying course was not easy and most passed. Failure resulted in you being ‘back-squadded’ to try again, or posted elsewhere. And some went on as I, to advance further in surveying. So we must have been suited to the tasks, and in that sense and in our case, the initial personnel selection process was successful.
3. Officer Selection
Officer selection in National Service did not seem to work well. If you aspired to became an National Service officer it seemed you needed to fit a profile: you spoke with the right accent, had gone to the right school and had the expected attitude toward sport and military life. War Office Selection Board’s appeared to welcome this type. Many National Service officers seemed to get through the selection process on that basis alone, with consequent mistaken ideas of their abilities and station in life.
These failures in officer selection did always not go down well with national servicemen having a sound and down to earth attitude, a middle class home, a good grammar school education background and a retained sense of school boy humor. But, It made little difference to the ill educated, working class lad who regarded all officers as “toffee nosed b….s” anyway.
Fitting into the former category, I had little respect for National Service officers. Many I experienced seemed not up to the job, only interested in themselves and the impression they made on their superiors.
4. The Call-Up.
The three aspects of this, registration, medical examination and enlistment I have covered. All I need to add is that if you failed to report you were posted as a deserter and punished accordingly.