Date of publication: May 2012
The period of National Service is sometimes portrayed as a long-running and monumental waste of time, a period of 'bull' and 'blanco' of 'jankers' and 'whitewashing', yet emerging from the harsh reality of the Second World War and into the new dawn of the Cold War, it was clear that Britain would have to face new threats from old allies, and to meet considerable overseas obligations from its vestiges of Empire. During a period of often-brutal basic training, the raw recruits would, in the main, be turned into soldiers and airmen - the navy required more specialist skills and took only a small number of men. The new servicemen would be posted to dreary bases up and down the country, subject to the mercies of iron-hard NCOs.
The 'call-up' finally came to a halt on 31 December 1960 and the very last National servicemen left the Army in 1963. The National Serviceman will explore all aspects of the life of the post-war conscripts.