This article covers the terms and conditions of armed forces enlistment as a common tri-service process.

Arms Forces Recruitment

Armed Forces Enlistment is the process through which enables a member of the public to progress from an initial enquiry to enlistment as a member of the armed forces.

Following an initial enquiry (where there is no commitment from the candidate), the potential recruit will contact an Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO link) for an armed forces careers enquiry meeting. If the candidate is still interested in joining the armed forces following the initial meeting, they will complete and submit an application form (normally online).

Applicants will be informed, before the application form is completed, that if accepted for service in the armed forces, they will be required to swear an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, and will become subject to Service law.

During the arms force’s recruitment process, the applicant will undergo various recruiting tests and selection interviews. Each Service has a different procedure, which are lengthy and involve many stages.

At the end of the recruiting process, the candidate will be issued with an enlistment notice and paper and asked to provide written answers to the questions in the enlistment paper.

Armed Forces Recruiting Officer

An armed forces recruiting officer is a person who is appointed for the purpose of enlisting persons in the regular forces.  A recruiting officer enlists a recruit into the armed forces by conducting the procedure leading to the validity of the enlistment.

Armed forces recruiting officers are appointed by the Naval Secretary, Military Secretary and Air Secretary or any officer on their staffs not below the rank of naval captain, colonel, or group captain.

Recruiting officers will relinquish their status as recruiting officers on being appointed to another post or on leaving the Service, whichever is applicable.  No Service person other than a recruiting officer as defined in the regulations may enlist an individual in the armed forces.

Armed Forces Enlistment Procedure

On successful completion of the recruitment process, a candidate undergoes the enlistment procedure.

At the point of enlistment, the legal status of the recruit will alter, making the person subject to Service law and is, therefore, a significant stage in a person’s life.

A recruiting officer will conduct this procedure and attest to its validity.

The enlistment notice sets down the general terms and conditions of enlistment and service and the enlistment paper contains the questions to be answered, the declaration by the person offering to enlist, and the attestation by the recruiting officer.

As terms of engagement vary within and between the Services, the enlistment notice and paper provide for additional details to be added, particular to the recruit and to the engagement for which they are offering to enlist.  At enlistment, the following procedure will be followed:

  • The recruiting officer warn the person who is to be enlisted that if any false answer is made to the questions put to him during the enlistment procedure, the person will be liable to proceedings for an offence
  • The recruiting officer will read to the person wishing to be enlisted, the questions that are set out in the enlistment paper. Recruiting officers must satisfy themselves that the person understands each question and ensure that the person’s answer to each question is recorded
  • The recruiting officer will then ask the person to make and sign the declaration in the enlistment paper that the answers given are true.
  • The person will be enlisted into the relevant Service once he has signed the declaration.
  • The recruiting officer must then attest to the validity of the enlistment of the person and confirm that all required procedures have been complied with, by signing the attestation in the enlistment paper. The recruiting officer must then deliver the duly completed enlistment paper to the approving officer
  • When the person is finally approved for service, the approving officer must provide the person with a certified copy of the enlistment paper, if the person requests it.

Armed Forces Oath of Allegiance

Whilst the signed declaration made at enlistment is a legal matter, the oath of allegiance has an educational, symbolic, and solemn purpose.  The swearing may be conducted during the first day of training or if considered more appropriate, at another suitable point, at the convenience of the single-Service.

Enlistment for General or Corps Service (Army)

Although recruits entering service with the RN, RM and the RAF are enlisted into general service, those entering service in the Army will be enlisted into a specific Corps.  If a soldier is recruited into general service, he should be appointed to a corps as soon as reasonably practicable.  Soldiers may also be transferred between corps, at their own request, to meet the Army’s manning requirements or when a call-out for national danger is in force.

Armed Forces Basic Training Kit

Following your Armed Forces Enlistment your first activity will be basic or initial training with you chosen branch of the armed forces.

You can get prepared for armed forces basic training by purchasing your kit from Supply Drop, at heavily discounted prices, before leaving home.