Over 14,600 people applied to join the British Army in January 2019, after the launch of the ‘Your Army Needs You’ recruiting campaign, a 105% increase compared to the previous month. 

The new campaign was launched on 13 January 2019, and was heavily criticised at the time. In an interview on Good Morning Britain, Tom Slater, editor of Spiked, said: “I’m not sure these ads are going to work. Young people identify as all sorts of things nowadays, but no one identifies as a snowflake.”

Figures obtained by the UK Defence Journal show that 14,640 people applied to become either an Army Regular or Reservist in January 2019. By comparison, the number that applied in January 2018 was 9,360.

Over the 12 month period after January 2018, over 91,700 people applied to become a full-time Regular. In that same period, just 34,000 people actually enlisted. Meanwhile, 47,335 personnel left the Army.

In separate data obtained by The Telegraph, it was revealed that over 2,700 applications were received in the five days directly after the campaign was launched.

Despite the influx in applications to join, the Army remains critically below its personnel target. As of April 2019, there are just 75,070 full-time trained personnel, well below the 82,000 target intended to be achieved by 2020.

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My nephew applied…..and was accepted. Given a choice of Regiment…. but his choice is the Household Cavalry. He starts depot late summer/early Autumn….


Good for him, well done, but……Household Cav……..er! Lol just kidding!

andy reeves

i hope he can ride a horse

Graham Moore

Not many HCav recruits can ride on joining. They get taught to ride.


So we have combat veterans and experienced personnel heading for the exit and increased numbers of self declared “snowflakes” joining ? Lets see how well they perform when their feet are held to the fire.

Robert Blay

And maybe you should have abit more faith in Army training, and the youth of today. People said the same of recruits joining in the 90s and probably the generation before them.

andy reeves

agreed, good point.


To be brutally honest having been in combat, everyone and I mean everyone starts off as a snowflake. The first time you hear that crack and whiz as a bullet flies by is bizarre and sometimes surreal. You immediately think “was that someone shooting at me?” Then s**t, cover. It’s what you do next that defines you. Some blokes I’ve seen will cower in a ball, whilst a wee lass of 5ft nothing will take control and return fire. Unfortunately, you cannot predict how people react under fire. You can only train them so much, by making exercises as realistic… Read more »

andy reeves

as an ex prison officer, i always took great pleasure in seeing a little tigerish female officer ‘taking down a big guy, and that’s what courage, belief in your training, and faith in those around you, gives you


DaveyB, remember that scenario really well, what was that then s**t cover then try to figure out what to do next. Good days those, not. Speaking about ‘snowflakes’ and such like, I found when I was in the apprentices college Harrogate something quite interesting, the lads that were the school bullies would crack, break and want to go home to mummy,whilst the lads that were bullied in school or that came from abusive homes found the discipline quite easy. As for the 5ft lass, I remember well trouble in a bar in gladbach a 5ft nothing lass MP went into… Read more »


If training is proper while you were before signing on is meaningless. The purpose of training is break and reforge to purpose. Any recruiting ad that boosts numbers is therefore not to be despised.

Daniele Mandelli

I thought the problem was not the numbers applying but the system run by Capita unable to process.

With that in place would 100,000 applying make any difference?

I guess at least the increase is a positive and that the ads had an effect.

andy reeves

sowing the seeds of a career in the forces should begin at school, when i was in my last year in school, the head took it upon himself to show the old ark royal series on the t.v in the hall at lunchtime, over 30 of us joined the R.N,the lowest years served by any of us was 12 years.

Steve Taylor

During the 1930’s the RAF had recruitment problems. Their solution? They raised the bar to entry and the problem disappeared. Raise the bar. Reform them: keep the traditions, but cut the bulldust.

And have a starting salary of £25k across the board.


“Their solution? They raised the bar to entry and the problem disappeared.”

The expression “Raise the Bar” means “to raise the standards.” By definition this would lower the number of recruits as less people would qualify or meet the requirements.

If, however, you mean to say “decrease the minimum requirements for recruitment” to help boost the numbers, then yes, that would be a good idea.

Steve Taylor

No they raised joining requirement. And more of a better group of applicants became interested in the RAF and the vacancies were filled. It is a documented.

You wouldn’t make the cut would you Captain Stupid?


Steve, thank you for the clarification. It just seemed counter-intuitive to me, but that’s just me. I can understand the draw of “Exclusivity” in that era.

I had read Saburo Sakai’s book on his experiences in WW2. Apparently the IJN had a similar “Raise the Bar” standards. Their training regimen seemed more extreme compared to their Western counterparts, and they only received an NCO rating upon graduation.


“You wouldn’t make the cut would you Captain Stupid?” “When someone resorts to insults the conversation is over because one person has quit listening and is just trying to exert control through insults and direct personal attacks on the other. It is best to walk away and leave the conversation for a later date. Think about what was said, figure out what the ‘tipping’ point was. (It is usually a hurt/fear on the other person’s part)” ~ Natalie Drummond “People who act superior by insulting or putting people down are really just showing their signs of really feeling inferior.” ~… Read more »

rob young

Well said

andy reeves

agreed the site moderator should contact that fool and tell him he, and his juvenile comments are not welcome on the site.

andy reeves

some of the t.v programmes of the last few years, showing recruits in basic training, painted an appalling picture, every episode showed a keen young man being kicked out of the navy the ugliest, fattest dyke of a wren commander, left me speechless. bring back ‘warship and H.M.S HERO!starring a beautiful leander, saving the world every week was great and a real recruitment carrott

Robert Blay

They have raised the bar as you put it, the pass mark for entry on the aptitude tests is considerable higher then it was a few years ago, and the quality of the young men and women who join today are much more educated and maybe more sensible then the generation before. Friends of mine who joined the RN in the late 90s and are still serving, say many of the new recruits would rather go to the gym then go out of the piss, and that’s probably no bad thing.

Steve Taylor

Yes there is a different culture in today’s RN. Yes they would rather go to the gym than go on a pub crawl. And they are better educated. But you have to ask why then is there a gap? The RAF back then had a clear role and purpose. What does it do today?

Robert Blay

The RAF would say it’s been its busiest period of continuous operations, its dropped more bombs on Syria and Iraq this last few years then it ever did in Afghan and Iraq against the Taliban. Operations in Eastern Europe have hotted up, QRA north & south Is as busy as it’s ever been. The RAF has a host of new equipment entering service. I think the manning problems is worst for the Army.


In peace time her Majesty’s ships were really fun!. We all used to go for a jog with the PTI when we tied up alongside and find all the bars, burger stands and knocking shops of many a foreign port. After half a dozen ales in the mess we would then troop ashore. The next day we were all lining up for defaulter’s or outside the sick bay for penicillin. Life was tough and the punishment was harsh. If you couldn’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined up lol. Nobody gave a rats arse about face book or political… Read more »

andy reeves

flying a sopwith camel wouldn’t appeal to me either, i’d prefer a return to national service as a cure for recruitment issues.


Bring back mandatory military service. The youth nowadays have it way too easy. They don’t know what the word “sacrifice” even means.


I’m not sure the army wants to be stuck with babysitting 10s of thousands of stroppy not happy to be there teenagers.

David E Flandry

Comment by a British general years ago: “National Service may have been great for the country, but it damn near ruined the Army.:

Evan P

That attitude is the reason why you don’t feel the youth have the same respect that previous generations had. If you don’t respect them, are they going to respect you? As an example, the people who ignore me most if I let them go first either driving or walking down the street are middle-aged to elderly, not the evil youngsters who some moan about.

Daniele Mandelli

I hear you Evan. Evil youngsters. Hmmm. I will moan about them, but also give credit where credit is due if you at least are one of the many well brought up who let people go first. A miracle in my eyes. My father of 82 is regularly pushed into the gutter off the pavement by teenagers walking LINE ABREAST 4 wide. Where does he go? Fly? What do they think he should do? I experience it myself, and I now take a leaf out of what he used to do before he was too old and walk straight, elbows… Read more »


All I have done since I left school mostly is work behind bars then into security, ten years of it. And without a shadow of a doubt I have seen less respect off the elderly than kids, not all but most of the rudeness, lack of respect comes from old men, even old women, last week I had an old man screaming at a young mother because of her “bad parking” I get one word questions at the door all the time with no manners from elderly people. When was the last time you pushed a pram through a town… Read more »

Robert Blay

For a change, i agree with you. ??


? Cheers Robert

andy reeves


Evan P

Don’t worry Daniele, it wasn’t a rant at all. I think the reason why it appears that youngsters are rude is because those are the ones you notice. The rest who mind their own business are easy to forget about. I know this feeling from being both a Year 7 and a 6th former, you can’t help but think that you weren’t as bad as the new lot. Therefore, I think it is just a natural effect, but one we should be aware of so that we don’t succumb to prejudice. As for your point on smacking, all the evidence… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thank you for replying Evan.

andy reeves

smacking, isn’t that illegal nowadays?i remember my dad putting me across his lap and’sorting me out’, didn’t do me any harm, i’m not disrespecting, rude, ignorant, and ungrateful for what i’ve had from a life in service of the monarch(22 years in the navy, and 24 as a prison officer as a prison officer i saw all the good and evil our society throws up, not all people can be put into categories.

The Artist formerly known as Los Pollos Chicken

Ranting is good Daniele ,nothing wrong with venting. Alas the rot started long ago each passing generation deteriorates in respect ,manners and now it seems in education and unfortunately many of these kids are now middle aged with their own offspring so I can see the point that it’s not just the young snow flakes who are an issue.I was told in the 90’s how bad my generation were compared to my parents so by 2040 be as well closing the door and switching the lights off. Put it this way 75% of everyone I’m forced to deal with are… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

My wife was a Teacher Los Pollos, and is delighted to be well out of it.

She does not need that sh*t.

I’m sad to say I agree with everything you wrote there.

andy reeves

give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. the issue for me is that if they’re not taught the ‘basics of respect for those around them, then it will come back to bite as these ‘feral’ scum infest society, and leave those who expect more /better (people like us).


I’m a teenager and I think mandatory military service should be brought back for the people who fail secondary school and would otherwise lead to them latching onto the benefit system for the rest of their lives and possibly becoming involved in criminal activities. If those people don’t want to do military service, it’s simple, do better at school! I know someone who I didn’t like very much that was to be honest a nasty piece of work. They didn’t get into college but they chose to sign up for the army. He posts regularly on his Instagram and I… Read more »


As someone serving in the Army: Please don’t bring back mandatory military service. We don’t want them. Willing volunteers wanting to make something of themselves? By all means. Unwilling conscripts? You can keep them.


Say that to a 17 year old working a part time job and studying for A Levels during exam season, whilst being a carer to their sole, sick parent? They know sacrifice, they don’t have it easy. I know people (2) like that. You’re making a dangerous and ignorant generalisation. Even myself, I work hard, I pay my way as much as a young person studying can. We all have our challenges in some way or other, lots of people make sacrifices. For you to assume that is applicable to all but younger people is silly to put it kindly,… Read more »

Robert Blay

Tell that to thousands of young sailors soldiers and airman serving around the world today, those serving in the Middle East, the Falklands, Eastern Europe. Fancy spending 3 months on patrol in a vanguard class sub? the average age of the crew will probably be about 25, if that. People said kids in the 80s and 90s where soft and had it to easy, well that generation saw more combat action then any other since WW2, and they did just amazing in Iraq/Afghan.


I had to give up my playstation 2 for 3 months during my GCSE’s to help me revise.

Was a big sacrifice and it hurt, but i rolled my sleeves up and channeled some of that famous British stiff upper lip, I kept calm and just carried on.

And I could play snake on my 3210 so that helped.

andy reeves

get the knife carrying ‘hoodies’ off the streets.

Paul A

“In that same period, just 34,000 people actually enlisted. Meanwhile, 47,335 personnel left the Army.”

I don’t know where those numbers came from, the actual numbers are here:
11,090 and 14,700 respectively, the numbers above suggest a ToS of less than 2 years which can’t be right

George Allison

A Freedom of Information request response from the MoD.

andy reeves

one of the issues that the forces have never addressed is the myth of; i can get a job in civvy street easy, and earn twice as much as i do in the forces.i heard recently of a chief petty officer, who thought he’d get a job because he’d been in the forces, having to wait over 6 months before he even got an interview anywhere.sweden has brought back national service and is reaping rewards for doing so.le scum on the streets,=less crime swedish national crime statistics , less cries of we want more police, e.t.c. a new way of… Read more »


It would be interesting to see the data on how many of these applications make it through the whole pipeline and actually get offered a start date

Ive commented on a previous post of my own experiences with the the forces recruitment process at the moment and if its still taking 18 months + to go from start to finish then i sadly think these numbers will significantly drop.

Interesting to see that these adverts are seemingly working though …

Evan P

And still people don’t understand the point of the advert. It isn’t targeting people who identify as “snowflakes”. It is targeting people who are fed up with grumpy old men accusing them of being “snowflakes”. It exploits how alienated young people feel. How is this hard to understand?

Alex T

Anyone have any comparable recruitment figure for the RN?


I applied for the army after leaving school, passsed all the tests ect, But decided not to go! One of the Biggest mistakes of my life. I’m 32 now and still really want to join but not sure if I’ll get in!.

Daniele Mandelli

Reserves first to see if it’s for you?


Yeah that’s what I was thinking, and the reserves are better trained and equipped these days. I’m not sure if the reserves still get a hard time for being reservists they should get more respect.


I’m both an ex regular and reservist. And been on Ops with regular units as a reservist. If you are typical of the modern reservist. Professional, keen to do well then you’ll be supported by your mates on tour. Most of my former colleagues have volunteered for multiple tours and performed well.


Based on my experience in the TA, no one gives them any respect, you’re a joke to the regulars and a curiosity to civvies. Anyone who is prepared to spend the weekend with no sleep and then go back to work on Monday deserves respect in my eyes. It is a good way of seeing if military life is for you and at 32 you still have 7 years left to join the reserves


Hi Cam do as Daniele and Julian say and join the reserves to try the life first. Do it now, but don’t join the infantry the training for infantry can only really be learnt full time. Try the engineers or artillery. The reserves are now deployed as individuals for a six month term . But remember what Julian said you will still be a stab


Hi it would not be good for the army or the youths of any age, joining up if they did not want to be there. It would destroy our qualitative edge. In this day and age, the drill instructers would get prosecuted when they need to thump the recruit to install some discipline, Dont forget the kray twins did national service, all that did was train them. I worked with the german army in the 80s. they were bad and sloppy then, they had conscription. If you want people to join up you need to offer more wages and an… Read more »

John Clark

I would agree with you Lee, I have a few friends who served in the 1980’s in Germany, they were shocked at the low standard of readiness etc with the West German Army!

A rather poor conscript army, with a professional core.

National Service, bad idea, we need well motivated kids to join the armed forces, they need to be paid well and given good housing, world class equipment and the very best training.

Our edge in quality has always allowed us to box well above our weight.

andy reeves

i took a stroll around the navy married quarters in rowner gosport the other day, it was appalling, i spoke to several people who likened the area to a inner city slum. if the servicemen and women’s families are treated as second class citizens, then how can we not be surprised when their spouses walk away from the services?


The Kray twins analogy is not great as they refused to soldier as Royal Fusilier recruits and were jailed in the Tower and discharged.


And yet every one of the armies that fought during both of the World Wars were based on conscription and the calling up of reserves. No professional army can sustain a long war between peers or near peers due to the inability to replace losses.
In addition I doubt anybody could really question the ability of any of the conscript armies by 42-43 as war sharpens men quicker than any peace time training can ever hope.


Hi elliot I agree with you point on sustainment , and i do not wish to take anything away from the armys of w2, my own grandfather never came back .But we are talking about quality. If you look at the German view of our w2 troops you can see my point. British line troops mediocre ( conscript ) Paratropers, Canadian, and anzac, good troops ( volunteers ). Even look at the falklands our troops were outnumbered I believe ten to one . A volunteer force verses a conscript. As I said I have personal experience of working with a… Read more »

Brett Davidson

As I understood it, the clear subtext was, “They call you useless. Prove them wrong!” This challenge is quite the opposite of “appealing to self-identified snowflakes”.

Blue Fuzz

“47,335” people left the Army in 2018 – I call bulls#*t. There is no way that more than half of serving personnel left in one year!


Fabulous stuff, now lets make sure they are fully equipped, funded and supported.
Hopefully when we leave the EU more monies will be directed to our fabulous military.
Could easily halve our foreign aid budget to really boost our military.
More surface assets, more ground kit too, let alone RAF.

Good to see an increase.

John Robinson

What does the EU have to do with our defence budget? more nonsense about how eveything will suddenly recieve more money after Brexit, why not now? whats stopping it?

andy reeves

cutting the £13.2 billion in foreign aid would do a great deal of good, especially if you google where and how much goes to countries that cannot in the eye of a simple taxpayer, whose money it is,leaves you baffled and honestly, very angry.


Out of interest does anyone know what the recruitment levels are like for the Navy, Airforce and Marines?


Numbers applying getting better , number actually managing to join not much different, this is due to bloody CAPITA and it’s incompetent system of recruitment. It will get better I am sure but only when CAPITA are chinned off.

andy reeves

capita has been allowed too near all of our public services, they administer every financial area from pay, pensions, benefits if you want to contact them for anything it’s a nightmare, pay cheap, get cheap.

andy reeves

THE ROYAL NAVY MUST follow suit’ born in carlisle ,made in the royal navy advert is a joke, and in insult to the R.N