Solihull veterans shares memories of National Service - The Solihull Observer

Solihull veterans shares memories of National Service

Solihull Editorial 31st May, 2023   0

A SOLIHULL veteran has shared his memories of National Service ahead of the 60th anniversary.

Stan, who lives at Royal Star and Garter care home, signed up to join the Army in 1949, serving in the Royal Signals for his service.

He was speaking as part of a series at the charity, which cares for veterans and their loved ones with dementia and/or disability, that marks the end of compulsory National Service in 1963.

At the age of 18 he initially signed up for 18 months, but ended up staying two years.

During this time, he served in Germany, where he helped Western Allies overcome the Soviets’ Berlin Blockade.

Stan, who still has his National Service Enlistment Notice and Discharge Form, said: “We were in the Air Formation Signals, and we were putting lines of airfields for the Berlin Airlift.”

He also clearly remembers the damage the Second World War Allied bombings caused the country: “The first place I went to in Germany was an airfield in Uetersen, which was a few miles out of Hamburg. When you drove into Hamburg you saw it was flattened and full of rubble. It was terrible.”

The post-Second World War National Service conscription was introduced in 1947 and ran until May 1963, when the last men were demobbed.

More than two million men were conscripted through National Service, with 395 killed.

An event to mark the service and sacrifice of this generation took place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire earlier this month.

Royal Star and Garter chief executive, Andy Cole, said: “National Service came so soon after the end of the Second World War, it is perhaps easy to forget the vital role played by these members of the Armed Forces across the world.

“These men made sacrifices to serve and protect their country, whether stationed here in the UK or abroad.

“As proud members of our nation’s military family, it is a privilege to care for them and their partners at Royal Star and Garter.”

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