It is in my own opinion, that I think all ex-national Servicemen have been shabbily treated, since conscription was abolished. Not one mention of gratitude from successive governments was forthcoming. It is 74 years ago, since due to the second World war that an act of parliament brought national service into being. At that perilous time, it was a just act and for that there is no argument. When victory came in 1945 a new parliament act was brought in making all able bodied male, liable for conscription into one of the services. If one did not have a trade they went in the forces at 18 years of age. The men who had an apprenticeship or went to University were called up when they had finished their learning etc. Usually their ages on conscription were 21 or 22 years old, but the odd one escaped the net through faking medical problems etc.
Due to the Korean War, where many National servicemen served, the length of service was increased from 18 months to 2 years. One must remember, they were not volunteers like the regular army. The national servicemen served and fought shoulder to shoulder with the regular servicemen throughout the world, until call up was abolished in late 1960. Most of the last National servicemen were demobbed in 1962 There were some of the late call up men, that had to serve an extra six months, if they were stationed in Germany and were therefore demobbed early 1963. I believe it broke a few hearts, when they learned that they had to serve an extra 6 months as one can imagine. For all National Servicemen to be called up, to serve 2 years in what was termed the best years of their lives. One has to remember the pay in the forces for a National serviceman was in present day money £1.50 pence, a complete pittance. Can anyone imagine the youngsters of today, enduring that weekly wage for two years? I am not going into all the ins and outs of time served in the forces, because national service turned boys into men and made them stand on their own two feet and be counted.
The brave men who fought in Burma during WW2 were once called the forgotten army. I believe National Servicemen have been put in that category by successive governments. The youngest of these ex-servicemen are now over 72 years of age and as you are aware in the twilight of their lives. Surely it is not too late for a government to say some form of thank you, for what you all did so long ago.