image

Should the maximum age to join the Reserves be above or below 50?

The maximum age for some part-time soldiers to join the reserves has been raised to over 50

Over fifties will now be able to sign up as part-time soldiers after the Government raised the maximum allowable age to join, it was disclosed.

The moves comes as Army reservist recruitment figures were attacked as “shocking” and “embarrassing” after the ranks of part-time soldiers grew by just 20 in the past year, despite a Government drive to sign up thousands.

Julian Brazier, Minister for Reserves rejected claims that lifting the upper age limit from 43 to 52 for former regular soldiers wanting to join the reserves was a sign of desperation to meet recruitment targets.

 

Should the maximum age to join the Reserves be above or below 50?

5082 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Below 50 Above 50

What are your views on this?

We'd love to hear your comments

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password
rocket5539
12th Mar 2017
0
Thanks for voting!
Reading the responses to this article it is clear there are many good, valid points for and against. My own view is that the max age should be above 50.

If I could give my own example of why I feel this. I previously served as an Infantry Soldier 1987 - 1991. After this I joined the NHS as a Paramedic, taking extra skills and working in many different environments.

At 51 I worked for 3 months in West Africa, Sierra Leone as a volunteer in an Ebola Treatment Centre.

Recently I was at a conference and saw some Soldiers who were recruiting for Paramedics to join the army medical reserves.
I enquired and spoke to a great guy, who was very passionate about what he does and on hearing I was an ex-squaddie and a Paramedic said I could apply as my skills and prior military experience would be valuable, and the upper age limit of 49 would not apply.

Although I keep myself fit running 10 k sub 50 mins and enjoy time in the gym, it would be fair to say for a long time I have been looking for something meaningful to get involved with. In my career I have always gone the extra mile and stepped outside of the box, wanting to do the best for my patients and help my colleagues.

I have a great family and enjoy time with my lady and the kids, but need something else. I completed my infantry training at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall back in the day. I now live in York and my kids have grown up on Strensall Common reliving my army days and having some great adventures with their crazy Dad.

Having spoken to the army recruiter, I discussed with my long suffering partner and she agreed it would be perfect for me, she gave her full support.

I completed the application, attended an open day at the now Strensall Army Medical Training Unit. Then I didn't hear anything I contacted York who said my application had been turned down because I was too old.

He said I could appeal, so I did and last week was contacted to be told I was too old and there had to be a cut of age and that’s that. I tried to sound not bothered, but being told I am too old and the door was closed was like being hit in the face.

Yes it is clear there needs to be a system in place but that system needs to be flexible enough to take on a holistic approach and be able to look at the whole person.

I say this because not all people are the same, not all 52 year olds are the same. In my case at the very least with my prior military service to queen and country and NHS service around 26 + years, a face to face interview and physical assessment and then to know that I failed a test, well it would have been a fairer way to treat a person than simply being told I am too old!

The news, is full of the increasing mental health problems in the UK, not just with returning soldiers having made the ultimate sacrifice for queen and country, battle scarred, wounded some having life changing injuries, some suffering with PTSD, but with the modern challenges our communities face and a growing ageing population some with multiple medical conditions mental health reaches far and wide.

Worrying still it is clear we do not have the resources to successfully mange and treat these people.
For me and I suspect many others to be allowed to do something they are interested in and enjoy which will help keep older men and women fit, active and make a valued contribution to society can only be a good thing.

To simply say you are too old is I feel unacceptable. And can also have some negative effects on a person’s self-esteem.
But this is just my opinion, the ramblings of a man is “too old”!
Graham1363
29th May 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
In both world wars the age limit for recruits was raised to 51 and that was 100 and 70 years ago respectively
As an Army reservist and former regular soldier myself most people i know at 50 in the reserves are very fit guys.
Doing the 1.5 mile run a lot of 20 year olds fail ive seen it so many times..Stating comments that how many people over 50 will join maybe unless they have previous service probably not many.In saying that the Army have to have a point where they have to draw the line,I think certain trades ie chef,driver ,clerical and medical and general support is ok up to 60 but that's it you have to be realistic..A 50 year old in a lot of ways is more beneficial experience,wise than an 18 year old would be but only in the short time as a young soldier will gain and learn from his older comrades.
Grimengineer
20th May 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
I am 59 years of age and I can still outrun, outwork some young people who are half of my age. It is sad and short sited to place an age restriction on reserves, a lot of them are older and fitter than me.
ConcernedYorkie
25th Feb 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
It's skills and experience that the 50s+ bring to the party which will be a crucial asset requirement for the Reserves to meet this increasing threat from both areas in the East !!
DJSwaithe
25th Feb 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
There should be no concerns with Reserves over 50 doing clerical work, storekeepers etc.
Dal
20th Feb 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
Should be possibility for people of over 50 to join the Reserves. Reserves are part of our community and if person is fit enough or is ready to be fit nothing should stop him/her to join. I felt a bit ignored when was told that I was to old to do anything with military. I thing is not right. I believe the Reserves need changes too-all country need to be ready to serve if its need to do so.
2348cotte
16th Feb 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
This issue is very individual when it comes to selection for people
of this age group but as an ex regular soldier who is the same weight as when I got demobbed in 1959 and played sport all my life I feel selection should be strictly controlled as some of my army colleges are 15-18 stone and not very physically capable so individual selection in my opinion is paramount because I believe in the main being in the reserves is about physical capability.

Regards
2348cotte
carmanchris
9th Jan 2015
3
Thanks for voting!
Putting any form of age limit is always difficult. I have seen 60 year old,s who can put 18 year old's to shame. Having said that I think you have to put some of cut off and I would suggest 55 is a good compromise.
compo1
6th Jan 2015
4
Thanks for voting!
Having served with the TA for 12 years, I would jump at the chance to serve again, although I'm not as fit as I once was I'm sure there would be a role I could undertake, be it cook, driver, admin, medic, or just about anything that could free up others more able. I have fired a gun, square bashed & drove just about every vehicle that my old unit had.
alan43
2nd Jan 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
The people voting for over 50s have probably never been near a gun or in HMF, how many voting for over 50s will join up ?.
kaiafire
22nd Jan 2015
1
Thanks for voting!
I am over 50 my service no started with 239 back in the 60's
chuckster
1st Jan 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
If the purpose of the reserve is to back up the regulars, those who are required should be admitted upon the passing of a strict Physical and mental examination. In time of war we know full well that all foxholes, all billets on ships and whatever they do in the RAF will be filled regardless.
jmd5757
1st Jan 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
As a MoD civil servant who has never worn a uniform and has served 6 deployments in war zones in recent years under military command. I would love the opportunity to join the reserves. I tried when I was 50 to be told that the RAF only accepted up to the age of 50 eg:49. Military entrance should be strictly fitness and education. This has repercussions for office training within the UK forces, it was solved during the first world war when specialist tunnel digging units were formed from experienced miners so could be solved today.
magusrelax
1st Jan 2015
2
Thanks for voting!
all these young fit, intelligent and willing people wanting to join up and serve the country. all the government wants is experience and training on the cheap. thats why they have reduced the regular army to a token force, they hope to make it up with "volunteers". they will also be able to cop out of the responsibility of looking after injured soldiers by saying they were too old and unfit for duty. every comment made at the moment is about the "elderly" and their abilities to function. cannon fodder i believe is the phrase?
2
Thanks for voting!
Julian Brazier knows what he is talking about.
He served as an Officer with 10th Battalion Para.Para .Regt HSF (Home Service Force ) which enrolled over fifties and was a very efficient unit.
acker
22nd Dec 2014
2
Thanks for voting!
The armed regular and reserve Forces have always practised age discrimination, as a basic criteria or means, to get rid or not to recruit, in their opinion, undesirables. Also helps to achieve their preconceived vision of what a new (recruit) soldier, airman of sailor should be.

This is generalisation from my experience.
.
The Army ideal was "young fit active, sporty, person, rushing about enthusiastically discharging orders with out question."

The RAF ideal was "a more mature, technically inclined individual, who was also "sporty."

The Navy ideal was a "physically tough person who was not over sensitive to arduous sea going conditions."

Recruiting mature recruits with or with out experience, would require a senior ranks rethink about what they think a "senior recruit should be." Taking into account specific duties, level of fitness and conditions of service that would be physically acceptable, for effective discharge of duties.
stevesails54
22nd Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
I'm ex-RAF, 60 now and of course not as fit as I once was. However, I worked as Logistician at a high level in various HQs. I see no reason why I could not do the same job now releasing someone younger to carry out a more physically demanding role.
jeffasthejoiner
21st Dec 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
I would be very happy to serve again! Currently employed in the NHS Ambulance Service on the front line every day and in my mid fifties. Still hold HGV licence with varied knowledge, qualifications and experience to offer? Ageism is the problem not the people who want to make a difference and feel they still have much to offer the UK. Many people who are above fifty can certainly do the job! It's time the MOD caught up with reality and accepted the views of those who have a much to offer.
frank60
18th Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
it would be fantastic to be able to serve again you don't have to be 18 or 24 to drive a truck or fire a gun you just have to be fit and many off us veterans are still out walking up hills and swimming and most off all have the heart and mind to do a good job for our country just give us the chance .
exarmyvet
16th Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
Having come across this issue of ageism that exists in our Armed Forces, I relish the opportunity to add my voice to something that has been an ongoing issue of comprehension for me.
As an ex Army Veteran, of the mid sixties, and early 70s, a time which I look back fondly on, due mainly to the life skills that i developed as a serving Soldier, first in the Regular Army, and then in the territorial reserve Forces.
During which time i learned to drive a vehicle, and learn Cooking Skills in the Army Catering Corps, best of all it was the self discipline, and the strength, of character that i came away with, which I can definitevly say has stood me in good stead in all my choices of occupation to this day.
As of now I am retired following a 30 year + career in the NHS as a Mental health nurse Practitioner.
So here i am with a wealth of skills, and experience, which I believe all are easily transferable, and would be beneficial to an institution such as our Armed forces, with the minimum cost, and outlay concerning Training needs, and conversion programmes.
I would even go so far as to say that personally i would not object to sharing some of those costs myself.
So there it is, i suppose its the old adage, about old soldiers never dying, nor fading away for that matter, rather living to fight another day.
Thank you for looking.
Kayball
13th Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
Over 50 is not a problem, providing you are fit. As mentioned by another poster, age should not be a criteria; Health and fitness should. I served 24 years in the RAF and came out in my 40's to start another career. I am now 78 and definitely out of touch with my RAF trade (Avionics) and would have grave trouble marching at above 60 paces per min. It really would be Dad's Army.
The cost of NS would be prohibitive but would it stop the rush of people trying to get into the UK for residence? I suspect it might when the their time for NS became near!
cliffwilly
12th Dec 2014
6
Thanks for voting!
I got demobbed in 1959 after doing 3 years and really enjoyed my time in fact I am still in contact mostly by email with pal's I served with.
Although we are all now in our 70's I am shaw we could man a pill box in a defensive roll somewhere along the coast.
archie.mckinnon
11th Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
Yes the age limit should be well over 50,I have just turned 50 & I would love the chance to join up again,used to be in T.A for 4 years & I miss it like hell,would love to get back in uniform & feel needed once more, there's a lot of things older folk can do,home defence for one,it'll let the younger ones to go over seas.
RISKMAN
11th Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
Whilst I am no longer, health wise, fit enough to serve I can only think that there are more than sufficient former service personnel out there who are fit enough and, more importantly, willing to serve their country in some small way.

The main problem besetting the Armed Forces today is that their requirements are run by Civil Servants, who have NEVER served anyone except themselves!!

We should staff the MoD with former servicemen and women, who understand the needs of the Military having served thus we would not see a return to the latest round of military disasters being caused because some number cruncher who is only looking to draw his vastly inflated pension and never once considering what the soldier on the ground, airman in the air or sailor at sea actually NEEDS to perform effectively.

Ask yourselves this, how many service personnel, who gave their lives in recent conflicts, would still be alive today if they had the equipment they needed?

Current claims to fame by the Civil Service have to be:

Aircraft Carriers - oops no planes
Anti-submarine detection - oops no fixed wing search aircraft!!
Soldiers on the ground facing the enemy - oops not enough Flak Jackets (Bullet Proof Vests)

The list is endless
Leslie James
30th Nov 2014
7
Thanks for voting!
Some years ago I enlisted in the HSF (Home Defence Force). There was no lower age limiet but entry qualifications included previous regular service in Her Majesties Forces, the Police or Merchant Marine. I have to hand some comments written by by high authority on the effectivness of this force and in every case performance exceeded even the most optimistic forecasts even when put up against some elite regular units. In my own platoon we had ex itelligence officers (including operators from Field Units from N. Ireland), ex SAS. ex RAF, ex Sappers, infantry, recce units from various Regiments two ex-paras. As a unit in being we got some tremendous respect from the Regulars (but less so from our TA parent units) and were oftten called in to provide Blue Force Irregulars. We trained with R.M units (our CSM being an ex RSM from the Commandos and a but of a legend, an ex RSM Strathdee as I remember.
The RAF Regiment accept Reserve Service beyond 50 years and the oldest other rank to be KIA in Afghanistan was a 52 year old Senior Aircraftsman from the RAF Regiment reserve.
In many area it is experience, especially the collective experience of such as the HSF that is far more important than age or even outstanding physical fitness and we had a certain ''survivability'' that was sometimes missing in other TA Units. I learnt an awful lot and trained as, amongst other things as an HGV driver, a Combat Pioneer, a unit cook, minor unit signals, fieldcraft, bomb and UXD vehicle and building search. Battlefield First Aid and even FIBUA. Michael Hesletine was a very keen supporter of the HSF when at the MoD HSF whilst at the MoD and considered it to be the most cost effective unit in being in the Armed Forces
boss
29th Nov 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
I am 62 would love to get in the Reserves did some time back in the 1970s with the green jackets and could still have a go at any baddies why not have a dads army for the not so active side then the younger ones could get on with the rest i would love it
archie.mckinnon
11th Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
Yes,we could do the home defence,let the young ones go over seas.Im 50.
LR1ten
29th Nov 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
The government should stop mucking about, and bring back NATIONAL SERVICE, (NS). From leaving full time education, and from the age of 18 to 35, all residents of the UK should do at least 2 years service. It would reduce the "dole queues", may bring pack a "sense of pride" and respect in individuals, and respect of others, people and property, that is greatly lacking in todays society. I served, voluntarily, 22 years in the Royal Air Force. An NS person could remain within the UK and allow regular volunteer personnel to go overseas, ie, conflict zones, though an NS person, volunteering, may be allowed to go to a conflict zone, also.
MrFred
30th Nov 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
With all due respect, you served 22 years out of choice as it was a path that suited your chosen path in life.

My son started his own business at 28. If he had been pulled up for national service his business would have collapsed and his family would have suffered.

The majority of young people already have respect for others and are NOT on the dole queues despite the propaganda youay have consumed.

If there is no reason for forced conscript (outbrake of war that threatens our nation) why should our nation force 2 years of our youths lives into an area that is not of their choosing - and at such an important developmental part of their lives too.

National service would not prepare our youth for the biggest employment sectors. I think it could be a massive hindrance for their chosen employment paths, pulling them out and telling them to train in a war machine for 2 years rather than persuing their own dreams.
LR1ten
30th Nov 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
Fair comment, but you omit to say what your son was doing from age 18 to 28 or after finishing full time education?
MrFred
30th Nov 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
Hi LR1ten,

I can't reply to your latest reply, so i'm replying here instead!

That's the beauty of debate. It's always a good thing to be able to air ideas and opinions to hear how they are received by others. I'm thankful we live in a democratic nation, and I have enjoyed debating this topic with you.

I think apprenticeships should be more available to people in this situation. Maybe they could be applied as mandatory, alongside Army, Navy and RAF schemes for those who have claimed Job Seekers allowance (I would not target disability benefits) for more than 18 months. I certainly think that people claiming Job Seekers, and associated benefit,s when fit to work should be more vigorously encouraged to put back into the system after a prolonged period. I also think this would be an incredibly hard scheme to manage in an effective way!
MrFred
30th Nov 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
Hi LR1ten,

my son left full time education and worked for a number of media agencies, learning skills and honing a sense of what he wanted to do, discovering the niche of work that made him happy and that he exelled at. With some luck and a lot of hard work he found himself in a position where he could become self employed, and soon started a business.

Dont get me wrong, I have huge admiration for our brave servicemen and women, but I do believe in the freedom to pursue your own path as long as it does not negativly impact on others (like career dole dossing - which in fairness is the very small group of people I guess your comment was targeting).
LR1ten
30th Nov 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
Hi MrFred,

I knew my statement to bring back NS would provoke interesting conversation. I appreciate, that it would not suit everyone, but a variation on the original concept, could be accommodated, ie, those that left full time education and aged between 18 and 35, and not going into a job, might benefit by a stint in the armed forces, however, those that went into employment, might be exempted. It is just my view, and I honestly doubt if the government would bring it back. We all hear, through the media, that many leaving full time education are unable to find a job.
Wilf
29th Nov 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
I totally agree with this it would put some disipline back into society and also teach youngsters a trade or skills that would help them in their futures
grumpy73
27th Nov 2014
7
Thanks for voting!
I am 73 not as fit be but can hold my own I would love the chance
mrwk1954
26th Nov 2014
6
Thanks for voting!
If there was a Dads Army tomorrow I would be there... no questions. I know of many hundreds of my fellow Veterans would do their bit as well. The question is often asked on various Veteran facebook pages and always gets loads of responses and all of which are 100% positive.
R.Hook
21st Nov 2014
8
Thanks for voting!
I'd love the opportunity to put on the uniform again...so I'm nearly sixty so what, I'm not dead yet.
Pete2210
21st Nov 2014
9
Thanks for voting!
Although in my mid-sixties I'm still fairly fit and would be proud to serve in the reserves if possible
Rob60
18th Nov 2014
9
Thanks for voting!
It should be based on fitness and mental aptitude. If you are deemed suitable by way of standardised testing, both physical and mental - I see no reason why age should be a qualifying factor.
Herbert
18th Nov 2014
-1
Thanks for voting!
Its got to be below 50 or we will have Captain Mannering and his band of merry men as our front line of defence-"You stupid boy Pike!"

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!