Midlands have historically been very good recruiters. "
Dr David Dunn
of duty - Army recruits in action in the field
The Midlands is one of the most fertile recruiting grounds for
Britain's Armed forces.
Four and a half thousand would-be soldiers sign
up every year.
Even the very real prospect of serving - and possibly dying
- in Iraq or Afghanistan isn't putting them off.
Inside Out meets some
of the newest recruits, and finds out what makes them so willing to serve their
You're in the army now...
Signaller Anthony Mullinex is
17-years-old, and has just finished his training.
Four months ago he was
working in a Birmingham call centre:
"It was a dead end
job. Going in every day, sitting behind a computer.
"That's when I
started thinking I wanted to do something different."
recruit Matthew Fieldhouse, 18, has also completed his training at Whittingdon
Barracks, near Lichfield.
Mullinex - new army recruit in full uniform|
really make it in college, so I came out, and I didn't really know what to do
"I went to the careers office and started speaking to
"I signed the forms and a month later I was here."
Birmingham's recruitment office does better than anywhere else
in the country, and expects to have recruited more than 1,200 into the regular
army by the end of the financial year.
From father to son
Dunn of Birmingham University says it's a tradition passed down through generations:
Midlands have historically been very good recruiters.
"And if your
parents, uncles or grandfathers are in the armed forces, it's much more likely
"The Midlands secondary education is also unusual in
the UK. There's a lot of separate gender education.
"In boys' schools
there's a male bonding ethos similar to the army. There are also many grammar
schools with combined cadet forces."
For the current
crop of recruits, the prospect of being sent to war is higher than it has been
In the thick of the action
Midlands - fertile army recruitment ground|
With conflict continuing
in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are more British troops out on operations than
at any time the in the last 50 years.
But it doesn't seem to be putting
Lieutenant Colonel John Moody, Commander of Regional Recruiting,
"If you join the army, you can expect
to go on operations, and there are a lot of people who are up for that challenge.
"It doesn't put a lot of them off. Indeed it has the reverse effect,
and well done them."
For some of these young recruits,
their journey could end in tragedy.
Losing a son
Hewett - died in military service in Iraq|
Sue Smith's son
Philip Hewett died in Iraq in 2005.
She doesn't regret his decision to
join the army:
"When he was a bricklayer, he got really
depressed with life. He felt there was no purpose.
"He didn't want
to be a nobody - he wanted to feel he'd accomplished something.
three years he was in the army were the best years for him.
say that now on reflection I'd do the same thing again, but he was old enough
to make that decision himself whether I agreed with it or not."
relating to this story:
The BBC is not responsible for the content
of external websites