By Cara Sulieman
FED UP ex-office workers seeking an adventure break from their day jobs were among 1,000 new army recruits unveiled at Dreghorn Barracks yesterday (Weds).
As the force celebrated a 30 per-cent enrolment boost, many of the new troops said they joined to escape the monotony of normal jobs.
Head of the recruitment drive Brigadier David Allfrey said the new soldiers had “a desire for an edgy life, to crave something exciting.”
Among them was Glasgow’s Anthony Murray, who was inspired to enlist after watching Ross Kemp in Afghanistan and seeing coffins coming back from war.
The 25-year-old left school at 16 and struggled to find a job that kept him interested.
He said: “You name a job and I’ve probably done it. I get fed up dead quick of doing the same thing every day.
“A lot of things you see in the media made me want to join. Ross Kemp in Afghanistan was a big encouragement for me and a lot of the lads I trained with.”
And he said that he wanted to target the Taliban to “even up the score” of the 237 British soldiers who have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001.
Anthony said: “I see the British soldiers getting it and want to give some back – I want to dish back out to them what they dish out to us.
“I see coffins coming back and it makes me want to go over there and even up the score.
“The only way to get this war over with is to get more men over there.”
Escaping civilian life seems to be a common theme among the fresh-faced recruits, who are looking forward to completing their training and getting out into action.
The one thousandth recruit to join since April – 26-year-old John Tennant – also joined the army as a way of injecting a little adventure into his life.
The Glasgwegian said: “Daily life for me becomes quite boring. Enlisting gives me the chance to do things I probably never would do if I didn’t join the army.
“I’ll find out how I will cope in situations I would never have the chance to be in.
“There are things about the job that people always point out – you are away for six months at a time it will be hard, especially being away from my kids.
“And soldiers do die in action but it’s part and parcel of the job.
“The soldiers go in to this kind of job knowing this is going to happen to them or someone they know. It’s a really dangerous job.
“But if anything it has made me more determined.”
And even the Commander of the 51 (Scottish) Brigade – Brigadier David Allfrey – admitted there was an element of adventure about the profession.
He said: “Young men and woman like adventure; they have a desire for an edgy life. It’s in their nature to crave something exciting.
“Risks are also less of a worry when you are young. As you become older risks become scary but when you are young you are willing to take them.
“But there is a difference between adventure and the serious business of war. We take quite a lot care to make sure the realities of their choices are known to them.
“We’re not an extreme sport or anything like that but the army does offer adventure to a certain extent.”
And he went on to say that the Scottish army instilled in its soldiers values that benefit the whole of society.
Brigadier Allfrey said: “It’s fine and honourable to be a Scottish soldier.
“We instil courage both moral and physical, discipline, respect for others, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment. All of these are part of what we all want from society.
“And we are looking for a lot more young Scottish women to join the army. They have a lot to offer and we hope to welcome more of them in the future.”
Among the recruits were two young girls – including the 1,001st new recruit, Taylor Kindred.
The 17-year-old from Kirkintilloch has joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and will go on to train as a Veterinary Technician after her basic training.
“Go for it”
Both animals and the army have always interested her, so signed up when she realised she could combine the two.
She said: “I just thought it would always be an interesting choice of career and you’d get to do things you wouldn’t normally get to do in civilian jobs.
“I have always wanted to be a vet and the army has always interested me so when I found out I could do both I thought I would go for it.
“You know the risks when you join up and you know what you’re setting yourself up for.”
He said: “I am delighted that 1,000 people in Scotland have gained permanent employment which will enhance their skills base through training and education.
“These recruits are a credit to themselves and their families and Scotland applauds their decision to serve.
“We recognise the valuable contribution to Scottish life made by members of the Armed Forces living and based in Scotland. And once they leave service, service personnel have a lot to offer beyond their Armed Forces experience.
“They have skills to offer other employers such as the police, fire services, the civil service, local authorities and the health services as well as the wider private and third sectors.”