Suffolk/Essex: Armed Forces recruits nearly double in three years

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The number of men and women from Suffolk and Essex joining the Army has nearly doubled in the past three years, new figures have revealed.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Defence under the Freedom of Information Act show that 141 people recruited in 2010/11 while 260 signed up in 2012/13.

A total of 649 people have joined the Army since 2010/11 at ACIO Chelmsford, Colchester FOB, AFCO Southend-on-Sea and ACIO Ipswich.

Of those joining the Army, only 48 were women compared to 601 men.

The most popular age to sign up is aged 18-23 with 379 people enlisting over the three years while those aged under 18 accounted for 140 recruits.

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said: “The recruiting of the Royal Anglians is very successful and we can take great pride in that but of course plenty of our young men and women join other aspects of the Armed Forces with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (RAF).

“There are clear structures in all three forces for our young men and women across East Anglia.”

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A total of 187 people from Suffolk and Essex have joined the Royal Navy and Royal Marines over the past three years, with nine of those women compared to 178 men.

Sir Bob added: “It has always been an attractive role.

“The Army, Navy and RAF not only train young men and women with the necessary skills, but a range of crafts that can be utilised later in civilian life.

“We have just completed an inquiry into the education of children of military personnel and of military personnel themselves.

“The Armed Forces provide a whole range of further education courses not just applicable to the requirements of their discipline but in other fields as well.

“Signallers can work in telecommunications in the civilian world while chefs, engineers and medics have other career pathways.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The Armed Forces must continue to recruit to ensure we have enough quality junior ranks and young officers to promote up through the organisation and keep it ready for the challenges of the future.

“We pride ourselves on recruiting individuals who demonstrate talent and promise, and then provide them with all the training and development opportunities they need.”

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