A Load of Bull! - National Service in Post-War Britain, 1947 - 1963 - Book List


Doyle, P. & Evans, P. National Service
Oxford: Shire, 2012
(A very good, and short, introduction)

Vinen, R. National Service: Conscription in Britain, 1945 - 1963
London: Allen Lane, 2014
(Excellent! Destined to become the definitive work on the subject)

Background Reading

Broad, R. Conscription in Britain, 1939 - 1964: The Militarization of a Generation
London: Routledge, 2005

Farrar-Hockley, A. 'The Post-War Army 1945 - 1963' in Chandler, D.G. & Beckett, I. (eds.) The Oxford History of the British Army
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003 - 2nd ed.
(Useful background)

Hickman, T. The Call-Up: A History of National Service - 2nd ed.
London: Headline, 2005

Johnson, B.S. All Bull: The National Serviceman
London: Quartet Books, 1973

Kelly, J. National Service, 1950s: Lancs, Bucks, Libya
Cambridge: Oleander Press, 2003

Royle, T. The Best Years of their Lives: The National Service Experience, 1945 - 63
London: Andre Deutsch, 2011

Shindler, C. National Service: From Aldershot to Aden, Tales from the Conscripts, 1946 - 62
London: Sphere, 2012
(A collection of memoirs from ex-National Servicemen)

Thorne, T. Brasso, Blanco and Bull
London: Constable, 2012
(One man's account of his time as a National Serviceman)

National Service in Fiction

Sillitoe, A. The Key in the Door
London: W.H. Allen, 1961

Lodge, D. Ginger, You're Barmy!
London: MacGibbon & Kee, 1962

Thomas, L. The Virgin Soldiers
London: Constable, 1966

Thomas, L. Onwards Virgin Soldiers
London: Pan, 1971

Thomas, L. Stand Up Virgin Soldiers
London: Pan, 1975

National Service in Film and TV

The Army Game. A very popular ITV/Granada sitcom about National Service life broadcast between 1957 - 1961

I Only Asked! 1958. A film based on The Army Game

Carry on Sergeant, 1958. The first 'Carry On' film is a comedy about National Service life based loosely on The Army Game

Virgin Soldiers. 1969. A film set in Malaya in 1950, based on the book by Leslie Thomas

Get Some In. A BBC sitcom about a group of RAF National Servicemen, broadcast between 1975 - 1978

Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers, 1977. A sequel to the 1969 film, also by Leslie Thomas

Lads' Army. 2002. A so-called 'reality' show from ITV in which a group of young men undergo four weeks of basic training 1950s style. It then morphed into Bad Lads' Army which was rather silly!

Privates. A BBC drama series broadcast in 2013 concerning a group of National Servicemen set in 1960

Useful/Interesting Websites

British Armed Forces and National Service

National Service (RAF) Association

Britain's Small Wars Community

The Suez Canal Zone

National Service Memoirs

The Peacetime Conscripts: National Service in the Post-war Years

Andrew Lacey
January 2016

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