This page takes 'National Service' as the generally understood term in 1950s Britain, meaning conscription into the armed forces for young men after World War Two. There is more explanation on the page about
Dick Hibberd's experience of National Service in the RAF, 1947-1950
After the war, when I was 18, I was conscripted for
National Service, and on examination I was told that I would be joining
the army. I was horrified, and told the examining officer my family's history
in the Royal Air Force (RAF): My father had been in the Royal Flying Corps
(RFC) in the first world war, and was in the RAF Volunteer Reserve during
the peace between the wars. On the first day of WW2, he had gone straight
back into the RAF. My sister and brother were 10 and 7 years older than
me. My sister was first to be 'called up' and went into the Women's Auxiliary
Air Force (WAAF); my brother was later 'called up', and he too went into
So I pleaded that I too should join the RAF, and furthermore that
I needed to be posted to Germany, where my parents were living. He didn't
hold much hope for either of my wishes being fulfilled, but made a note
Some days later I received my call up papers, and I
was very relieved to see that I was to join the RAF.
I was to report to the Guard House at RAF West Kirby,
on the Wirral, on December the 2nd 1947 at 09.00hrs. Enclosed with my papers
was a travel warrant.
After my 8 weeks 'square bashing' at West Kirby, I
was posted to RAF Kinloss, about as far away from my home in Germany as
was humanly possible. I was simple RAF Clerk General Duties, AC1, with
very little to command. I declined to apply for a Commission when my CO
suggested it because my brother was not an officer and as he was
everything I wanted to aspire to. Anyway it would probably also have meant that I would have had to serve another
2377035 was my service number. You never forget your
service number! When you went on Pay Parade, your name was called, and you
marched forward to the desk where the Pay Officer was seated. He or she
said your name, and you said "Sir, 035, sir" (the last three digits of your
service number). You stood to attention, saluted, and your pay was passed
to you. No number, no pay.
I managed to get myself demobbed in Germany two
years and three months after enlisting. That was in March 1950.