Just 14% of Military Age Brits Would Volunteer, 39% Would Dodge Draft if Another World War Came

1914: Members of the London Scottish Regiment undertake rifle drill.. The London Scottish
Getty Images

Nearly half of female Millennials would seek to dodge conscription if the United Kingdom introduced a military draft to fight a hypothetical future war, research has found, with just one-in-ten Brits willing to volunteer.

Four in ten military conscription age adults in the United Kingdom would dodge the draft if the government reintroduced conscription to provide soldiers for a third world war, according to a new poll taken to mark changes in attitudes to military service as Britain commemorates the end of the Great War in 1918.

The YouGov statistics, which come just days after the British military announced it would for the first time open all armed forces roles — including front lines fighting posts — to women, also revealed the most likely demographic to shirk duty is millennial women, of which 47 per cent would seek to “avoid being conscripted into the armed forces”.

While Millennials, who are broadly defined as young people who were born in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, were overall the demographic group most likely to try and escape military service, specifically male Millennials were also the group most likely to not try and escape conscription. Some 32 per cent of 18- to 40-year-old men said would accept being conscripted.

In the Great War, the United Kingdom did not initially practice conscription to fill its ranks, and when the regular army which had been deployed to France in 1914 as the British Expeditionary Force was all but wiped out the numbers of men in the field were sustained through large numbers of volunteers. Only in 1916 was the Military Service Act passed which began conscription.

Compared to 1914 and 1915, Britain could not rely on volunteers to fight in a major conflict in 2018, the survey suggests, as only 14 per cent would put themselves forward for military service. Willingness to voluntarily serve was more strongly influenced by political view than by age, with Conservative and Liberal Democrat voters nearly three times more likely to step up than Labour voters.

Leave voters in the 2016 EU referendum were also twice as likely to be a volunteer, and less than half as likely to avoid conscription if it came.

1918: Young female Volunteers clutching mugs man a YMCA dugout shelter open to the public in London. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

There may be some good news, however, as those surveyed also showed anticipation of another world war coming in the next 40 years has fallen compared to the last time the question was asked.

Separate research by polling firm Gallup from 2015 suggests the willingness to fight for a homeland varies significantly across the world, but with a global average of 60 per cent, a typical adult worldwide is significantly more likely to be willing than an average Briton. While the figure was low across many Western European nations it stood at 44 per cent in the United States, and 73 per cent in Turkey.

Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook


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