As Britain emerged from the Second World War, the armed forces desperately needed extra manpower to face new threats from old allies and to meet the considerable obligations of its Empire. Between 1947 and 1960, more than 1.1 million men were conscripted for a oneor two-year stint as national servicemen to help the Army, RAF, and, to a lesser extent, the Navy, cope with the demands placed on them. After basic training of bull, blanco and square-bashing, recruits would quickly be turned into soldiers, airmen and sailors and posted all over the globe – many of them to fight guerillas, cope with riots and civil war, or even serve on the front line in such theatres as Korea, Malaya, Suez and Aden. Peter Doyle and Paul Evans here explain what life was like for these recruits, from training to demob, and how they were affected by their experiences.
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