During the Second World War men were called up for
military service. After the War, conscription continued
as ‘National Service’.
British soldiers were involved in 57 campaigns and
battles from 1945 until 1963 when the last of the 1.5
million National Servicemen left the Army.
For most 18 year olds it was their first time away
from home alone. They had to mix with men with different
accents and from other social classes. The ‘short
back and sides’ haircut, uniform and discipline
came as a shock to a lot of them.
Some men thought it was a complete waste of time and
hated it. Others went on to sign on as regular soldiers.
Nearly all can still remember their Army number and
the experience has remained with them through their
Since National Service was stopped in 1962, there
have been significant changes in Berlin, Cyprus, Hong
Kong and Korea, just four of the areas where many of
our veterans saw service.