This article is dedicated to answering some of the top searched questions regarding the British Army.
Some readers might see this as basic information but for many who have never served, this guide will be a helpful resource.
Let’s get started.
What Is The Initial Contract Length For Serving In The British Army?
For anyone aged over 18, the minimum length of service in the British Army is 4 years.
You have to have served those 4 years in order to leave.
There are cases of early discharge typically when soldiers have mental / physical health issues or soldiers that are just too much trouble for their Commanding Officer but they usually end up in MCTC Colchester.
The Minimum Length Of Service Across All Branches
- Army (over 18s): Four years
- Army (under 18s): Until 22nd birthday
- Navy: Three and a half years after completion of training or four years’ service, whichever is longer
- Air force: Three years after completion of training or four years’ service whichever is longer
When did the minimum service length increase?
In 1999 the British Army increased the minimum length of service from 3 years to 4 years.
Can under 18’s join the Military?
Yes, under 18’s can join the Military.
The UK is the only country within the continent of Europe that actively recruits under-18’s.
Recruits can join from the age of 16 and typically stay in AFC Harrogate until they complete their 23-week or 49-week course.
AFC Harrogate Courses
The 23-week course in AFC Harrogate is for those looking to join the following: Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Engineers, Royal Signals, Adjutant General’s Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Army Air Corps and some Royal Logistic Corps roles.
The 49-week AFC Harrogate course is for those joining the following: infantry, Royal Armoured Corps/Household Cavalry, Royal Artillery and some Royal Logistic Corps roles.
Typically under-18 recruits cannot sign off until their 22nd birthday.
What is the notice period for leaving the Armed Forces?
The minimum notice period for leaving (signing off) the British Army is 12 months.
The process can seem overwhelming or straightforward depending on your Chain of Command (CofC).
To simplify the process for this article, you need to speak to your CofC, have an interview about why you want to leave and then apply to leave through JPA.
Once approved, you’ll have to serve 12 months until your end date.
What is DOAR in the UK Military?
DOAR stands for Discharge As Of Right.
All British Army recruits have the right to sign off early during the beginning of their military career.
In fact, recruits are given 14 days’ notice for their DOAR.
Recruits are able to exercise their DOAR during the following:
- Army (over 18): DAOR after 28 days’ service, but before three months’ service
- Army (under 18): DAOR after 28 days’ service but before six months’ service
- Navy and air force: DAOR after 28 days’ service but before six months’ service
Do I Lose My Human Rights If I Join The British Army?
This is often a question of debate.
Members of the British Forces are not permitted to join a trade union or a political organisation, to speak to the media or in public without permission or to stand for elected office and can be criminalised, and even imprisoned, for relatively minor acts of personal expression.
You don’t give up all of your human rights when joining however you might argue that these are still very important rights.
It’s often seen as unfair that other professions paid for by the tax payer can go on strike or join unions whilst members of the Armed Forces cannot.
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