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Guest Desmond6

Swarm of RAF recruits

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Guest Desmond6

Checking late war (December 17- until end) recruitment listings.

Find swarms of men being recruited into RAF.

Were these men deliberately being sent to RAF or was it seen as 1. A 'safer posting'. 2. More 'flash'?

I also note advertisements for general recruiting which state that 'a man cannot be transferred to the Navy or Air Force without his permission being given.'

Was there a lack of mechanics/ground crew requiring recruits from Technical Colleges etc.

I have my own thoughts but would be interested to hear if this was a similar experience elsewhere. I also realise that Ireland did not have conscription and thus the ability to choose which arm of service available here was not an option in mainland GB. All I can say is that by the lasy year of the war, significant numbers were going to RAF from Ballymena. Number recruited to army were equally significantly down.

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Tim Birch

I suspect that RAF ground crew was seen as a safer option. I am however puzzled as I thought that once Conscription was introduced the element of choice went and on reaching 18 eligible men were simply drafted to where the authorities wanted them? Or could men still volunteer to join as a Regular and not just "For the Duration"?

Tim

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Muerrisch
could men still volunteer to join as a Regular and not just "For the Duration"?

Tim

most certainly, although you do need to be careful with how you describe the matter.

Historically, the Army ALWAYS altered the terms of regular enlistment to suit its own needs, so from 1898 to 1914 there were at least four changes in the period of the contract. The one extant in 1914 for most arms of service was 7 years with the colours, and 5 on the regular reserve.

When war broke out, soldiers enlisting for '3 years or the duration' were regarded as regulars on an unusual contract, but most certainly regulars. Thus, there were only three sorts of service: regular, Special Reserve, and TF.

To the main point: the army continued to recruit for 7 and 5 throughout.

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jhill

I suspect this rush of recruits had to do with setting up the RAF (Royal Air Force), which became an independent service from 1 April, 1918. Although formed from the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) and the RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service), the RAF could not just draft the existing personnel into the new service. Enlistment to the Army or Naval has always been a solemn thing, and there was no legal method to boot someone out of the service they had joined and insert them into another. Thus existing personel all had to formally enlist in the RAF.

Of course, they all had every incentive to do this. If they declined the invitation, they were subject to immediate discharge, whence they could immediately be called up for service in, say, the infantry.

This caused some interesting problems for RFC Canada, where the situation was different, but the law made no provision for these differences.

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BeppoSapone
....I thought that once Conscription was introduced the element of choice went and on reaching 18 eligible men were simply drafted to where the authorities wanted them? Or could men still volunteer to join as a Regular and not just "For the Duration"?

Tim

The Military Service Acts did not extend to Ireland.

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Desmond7

OK. My thoughts are as follows:-

I believe a strong percentage of these young men have grown up anxious to 'be a man and do their bit'.

They had - by this time - no need to enlist in any service.

I can only assume that the fledgling RAF was seen as 'romantic and dashing' in contrast with the mud and blood of the trenches. I stress again that these men were not bound to join up, they could have stayed at home and who would have blamed them.

The era of the white feather (from my examination of late war newspapers) was long, long gone. Mothers, sisters and girls did not want to send their loved ones into the great mincing machine any-more.

Could it be argued that they saw the RAF as a 'career' rather than a duty? And were they perhaps keeping a promise to their family to join what ordinary folk would term the 'least dangerous' militaryoccupation. i.e. airfield duties?

Just my gut feeling ...

Thanks all for replies.

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Desmond7

Oh, and I probably threw some of you a bum steer by not stating clearly at outset that I was referring to recruiting in Ireland. Sorry.

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