Leeds nostalgia: Why was army recruitment so woeful in Leeds in the 1950s...?

June 1956, Leeds... and 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.

Monday, 2nd July 2018, 8:02 pm

Although recruiting to the Regular Army had shown a healthy increase since new pay rates were announced from April 1, a large number of applicants did not measure up to the necessary standard.

This was stated in Leeds by Colonel D. B. Lang, Assistant Adjutant-General to the War Office, who was 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.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In Leeds the number of “unsuitables” was as high as 25 per cent out of about 40 applicants each week.

This percentage was 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 would not accept them, National Service would.

On recruiting, Colonel Lang said 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. Colonel Lang added: “What we need is an increase in the number of long term soldiers.”