I, TOO, was in National Service in the Fifties. Peter Melton (Letters), who thinks it would be crazy to go back to that system, mentions the arts of the military such as using knives or guns and asks whether it would be at all wise to teach them to all and sundry.
Yet he neglected to mention the key word 'discipline'. For example, to be trained how to stab someone in a controlled military environment is vastly different to a random stabbing carried out in anger in the street in peacetime.
A barrack room of 30 men sleeping and eating together will rapidly bring to heel any 'bad ones' among them. They would simply be 'tamed' by the remaining 29 to become an efficient tool at the disposal of the military. Unity in the military is absolutely vital to all concerned especially in severe adversity.
The majority of National Servicemen learned valuable lessons, not least tolerance, from mixing with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Many National Servicemen also died doing their duty in places such as Korea, Malaya, and other countries. …