Soldiers will be told they can serve until they are 65

It’s grandad’s army! Soldiers will be told they can serve until they are 65 so defence chiefs can use their expert knowledge

  • Specialists in intelligence will be able to stay on until the normal retirement age  
  • Most soldiers left the Army after 22 years and could serve up until the age of 60
  • Both regular and Army reserves will now be able to stay until 65 in ‘niche areas’ 

Soldiers will be able serve until they are 65 as defence chiefs seek to keep hold of a ‘Grandad’s Army’ of veterans – and not lose their expert knowledge.

Specialists in intelligence, engineering, surveying and certain specialist administrative roles will be able to stay on until the normal retirement age.

Until recently most soldiers left the Army after 22 years and it was uncommon for officers to stay beyond the age of 55. 

Specialists in intelligence, engineering, surveying and certain specialist administrative roles will be able to stay on until the normal retirement age

Rules dictate that regular soldiers can re-join up until their 57th birthday and serve until the age of 60.

But service personnel, both in the regular and Army reserves, will now be able to stay in post until 65 in a ‘number of niche areas’.

An Army source said: ‘If someone wants to stay and they have a particular niche skill set then why wouldn’t we want them?’ 

Individual circumstances will be dealt with on a ‘case-by-case’ basis.

Intelligence corps analysts and aeronautical engineers are among those encouraged to stay.

Lt Col Matt Brocklesby, of the Army’s workforce policy unit, told Soldier magazine: ‘Where individuals possess specialist skills, mechanisms exist to extend them beyond the normal retirement age, up to 65.’

In 2014 the Army raised the upper age limit for former regular soldiers wanting to join the reserves from 43 to 52 in a drive to plug manpower shortages.

Specialists in intelligence, engineering, surveying and certain specialist administrative roles will be able to stay on until the normal retirement age

The age limit for civilians with specialist skills was also upped from 45 to 50, including those with language or medical backgrounds.

One serving soldier said of the new age limit: ‘The Ministry of Defence seems to have woken up to the fact that every month it loses hundreds of years of experience when soldiers regarded as too old are forced to leave when some are in their early 40s… We might end up with a Grandad’s Army but we’ll be better for it.’

An Army spokesman said: ‘We value the diverse experience and skills of all those who serve, which is why we allow those with specialist skills to extend their service.’

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