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What was National Service?

The first National Service Acts were passed during the Second World War.  However, following the war, conscription was extended as peacetime National Service.  This was due in part to an unstable international situation, as well as to Britain's responsibilities in the commonwealth and empire. The 1948 National Service Act, effective from 1 January 1949, fixed the period of National Service to eighteen months with 4 years in the reserves. In 1950, the Korean War led to a further amendment increasing the period of service to two years, with three and a half years in the reserves. Men in Northern Ireland were excluded from the National Service Act.

Bevin (or Bevan) Boys were young men who worked "in the pit" instead of serving in the armed forces as coal mining was an important "reserved occupation". The Bevin Boy scheme was set up by Ernest Bevin, the wartime Minister of Labour. Although the Bevin Boy scheme had ended by 1951, "National Service"  or the 'call-up' finally came to a halt on 31 December 1960 and the very last National servicemen left the Army in 1963.

The last National Serviceman was. Private Fred Turner (23819209) Army Catering Corps at the time attached to the 13/18 Hussars. He was discharged 7 May 1963 and had the latest number issued to a National Serviceman. However, Lieutenant Richard Vaughan, Royal Army Pay Corps, left his unit in Germany on 4 May 1963 but because he had to travel back to England was not officially discharged until 13 May 1963.

Most ex- National Service groups welcome members from the National service era 1939-1963

Ex Service Links

Various Ex-Service Organisations - Addresses & Web Sites

All Forces

Royal & Merchant Navy

Royal Air Force

British Army

Searching for lost friends?

Veterans Agency - Information on war pensions etc

British Nuclear Test Veterans Association
Just because I was there!!

If I have missed YOUR organisation please let me know!  



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