We saw little army crime in my Troop and I managed to avoid it. The same was true of the others.
Later in life when I was Valuer-in-Charge of a busy professional office and responsible for getting complex tasks done in a timely manner I found that young men and others who had not done National Service showed amongst other things a lack of respect for authority. Without that taste of military discipline, many having only been to university and direct from school treated matters,treated my orders as a subject of discussion before a given task was started. And then when they deigned to comply it was at their own pace. This stood in stark contrast to my way of tacking assigned tasks. I had been taught to do what I was told, and get on with it. The Army reinforced that learning; but maybe I’m also a little autocratic by nature.
17. Further Service.
When released from whole time serviceors the National Serviceman got no medal, got no gratuity, got no benefits, nor received a pension. But he could get his old job back.
Nor was this release complete. Further service was required either in the Territorial Army or with the Army Emergency Reserve. The former requiring spare time training and an annual 15 day camp, the latter just a camp. The service was obligatory and no more easily avoided than full-time service. If you failed to attend you were penalized. The Army did not let go easily.
Toward the end of National Service one was approached to “sign-on” as a Regular soldier, as I certainly was. The pitch included inducements. I had better things to do, and a career to follow as did many others. Very few National Servicemen enlisted.
19. The Truth of the Others’s Assessments of National Service
I have read the following offered as positive aspects of National Service:
2. The opportunity for travel.
3. Meeting others from all classes of society.
Like all generalizations these positive aspects of National Service are only partially true. Perhaps most would agree, but not in every respect. For example, most would agree about comradeship. However, not every squaddy had the opportunity to travel; one of my acquaintances spent his entire National Service at an infantry training center, Catterick Camp, up on the bleak Yorkshire moors, another in the Pay Corps outside Manchester. Of two others, one was posted to Kenya, another to Malaya. In all these postings, like mine to Hong Kong, I do not know of any ‘opportunity’ to travel, one traveled to where one was posted. There was no choice.