By Oliver Farrimond
NATIONAL Service should be brought back as the answer to Britain’s worsening yob culture, according to a new poll.
Almost three-quarters of Brits want to see compulsory military service, which was banned in 1960, re-instated for young people.
And amongst those who had actually experienced National Service, almost 90% think that it would restore the values of respect and hard work in Britain’s youth.
Glasgow-born Peter Wilson, 81, fondly remembers his days travelling the world with the RAF, and said that the service had taught him valuable lessons.
He said: “I had tried to sign up for the RAF when I was 17 but my father refused to sign the papers, so soon as I was 18 I was off.
“It certainly didn’t do us any harm way back then. I think it definitely help curb the bad behaviour we hear so much about today.
“I will always be glad I did my National Service as apart from the freedom it gave, it was all new, interesting people, travel and a sense of purpose.”
National Service provided many with the opportunity to learn new skills and form close bonds with other young men from diverse backgrounds.
Until it’s dissolution in 1960, over one million were conscripted into National Service and many were thrust into dangerous warzones in such places as Korea, Malaya and the Suez.
Joe Parker, now 88, received a knock on the door early on 23rd August 1939 and immediately knew what it meant.
Joe, from Ayrshire, battled German bombers over the Edinburgh and the Lothians during the war, and said that the experience of service taught him important values.
He said: “National Service and being in the Armed Forces taught you discipline and taught you to respect.
“That is something that is long gone, and most young people do not respect policemen, ministers or doctors.
“We are going through a period of recession and even before that young people were coming out of schools and colleges and there is nothing to offer them.
“At least with National Service they would be able to learn a trade or pursue a career.”
The poll, commissioned by veterans’ charity Erskine, also found that a shocking 86 per cent of people are worried about Britain’s youth culture, with 14 per cent believing youngsters get involved in knife crime because there is nothing else for them to do.
And perhaps worst of all, a quarter of all Britons know a child who has an ASBO or an electronic tag, has carried out a spell of community service or spent time in a young offenders institution.
Major Jim Panton, chief executive of Erskine, said: ‘’National Service always evokes different opinions but this poll suggests that the majority of Britons would like to see compulsory military service reinstated.
‘’Many people think that reintroducing National Service would stop the crime levels in this country and that appears to be the main reason for wanting it brought back.
“It’s understandable how many of the older generation believe it’s the answer to all the country’s problems as many feel the strict regime would knock the rough edges off many troublesome youngsters.”