Leeds nostalgia: Leeds national service recruits ‘not up to scratch’ in 1953

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This story appeared on June 20, 1956. Colonel Lang chats with Thomas Myers, 18, of Dewsbury, and Ernest Carter, 20), of Methley, as they enlist for three years’ service at the Army Recruiting Office in Leeds today.

The article read: “Although recruiting to the Regular Army has shown a healthy increase since the new pay rates were announced from April 1, a large number of applicants do not measure up to the necessary standard.

“This was stated in Leeds today by Colonel D. B. Lang, Assistant Adjutant-General to the War Office, who is on a tour of recruiting offices in Northern Command.”

Colonel Lang said: “The number of men we lose because they do not measure up to Regular Army standards required for medical, morals and education is appalling. the chief reasons are usually medical and education.”

In Leeds the number of ‘unsuitables’ is as high as 25 per cent. out of about 40 applicants each week. This percentage is general all over the country, said Colonel Lang, who added: “I have talked to doctors and Ministry of Labour officials everywhere and it is very serious. It is really staggering in these days of better education and medical attention. We have tests and they just don’t measure up to them.”

But even though the Regular Army will not accept this type of recruit. National Service will. On recruiting, Colonel Lang said that the number of National Service men singing on for three years’ regular service provided the majority of the increase since April. Of the total who signed on from “civvy street“ about 12 per cent. were for durations of six to nine years. The weakest spot was provided by National Servicemen already in the Army. These were not signing on. Although recruiting was “quite good.“

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