National Service could enrich lives of teens who have missed growing up due to Covid, WW2 vets say

NATIONAL Service could help teenagers who have missed “months of growing up” due to Covid.

Veterans called up after World War Two suggest a new version of conscription could allow young people to gain skills and “enrich their lives”, just as it did for them.

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From 1949 to 1960, all fit males aged 17 to 21 had to serve for 18 months.

Marking the National Service Remembered project, veteran Elwyn Davies, 83, said: “Young people have been particularly restricted over the last twelve months and have lost months of growing up and maturing.

“Times have changed so much over the last sixty years that young people would find it difficult to accept the discipline involved in National Service.

“We were aware that we had no choice and there was no alternative but to make the best of things.

“A voluntary scheme would work and a posting abroad would broaden their outlook and enrich their lives. It would also assist with the serious unemployment situation that is approaching.

Veterans called up after World War Two suggest a new version of conscription could allow young people to gain skills and 'enrich their lives', just as it did for them

“I’m sure National Service would help the young people today – it certainly helped me," Elwyn said.

“We were all very young going into it but we came out as men.

“I came from a small town and National Service was a shock to the system which opened my eyes to the world.”

Retired music teacher Ken Grain, 89, spent two years in Singapore as part of his National Service and called the moment in his life a “great help” but stressed “times have changed considerably since 1950” and he doubts it would be possible now.

Ken told The Sun: “My schooling had been hard during the war – we had to make it to school if we could or sometimes we were taught at the teacher’s house.

“I was evacuated to Oxfordshire and missed some schooling, like the youngsters are missing school now.

“I left school at 16 and didn’t go on to higher education so National Service came at a good time for me.

“Coming from growing up in wartime Britain it was a real eyeopener.”

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