Drop in young navy recruits

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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JUST ten 16-year-olds signed up for the Royal Navy last year, Ministry of Defence figures have revealed.

The number of school-leavers joining the senior service has fallen sharply since 585 joined in 2003.

It’s been suggested that the drop in recruitment of youngsters is a sign of disillusionment with the forces at a time of severe cut-backs.

The government’s 2010 defence review axed 10 ships and 5,000 sailors.

But the MoD yesterday denied the cuts have had a direct impact on recruitment.

A spokesman said: ‘It would be completely misleading to make assumptions about the popularity of our armed forces based on the recruitment of 16-year-olds.

‘As we reconfigure our armed forces to become a more balanced, capable and adaptable military power, slowing recruitment is just one of the ways to reach our required manning numbers.

‘There is also a wider government push for young people to stay in education until they are 18 which has raised the average age at which people join the services.’