Now, there are those who would entice a young man into the military by using all manner of seductive promises and half-truths. They will talk of patriotism, or seeing the world and learning a trade. They will undoubtedly highlight the comradeship and sense of belonging, and possibly even hint at the chance to actually live out some ‘Call Of Duty’ fantasy for wholesale slaughter.Should any obstinate young Lochinvar remain unconvinced, they’ll add the clincher.‘Women go crazy for men in military uniforms. . . you’ll have to fight them off.’Well, that’s what they told me, and I can remember being pretty convinced.Sadly, the truth is seldom so fanciful. The truth is, for all of the glossy brochures and whispered inducements, for all of the camaraderie of a life in the service of monarch and country, for all of the undoubted fringe benefits, the vast majority join-up for one reason and one reason only. . .

They have nowhere else to go.


They may have been friendless at school, unpopular with their peers, disliked by teachers, or unloved at home. They may have been following in the footprints of overly-demanding fathers; footprints that were always half-a-pace too wide and half-a-size too large. They may have lacked basic academic ability, or raw athletic prowess, physical appeal, or intellectual maturity. They may have had no one to care for, or no one who cared for them; or simply found themselves lost in the middle of a world that didn’t give a damn.

Or they may, like me, have been all of those things.