Sixty three young people have been sworn in as soldiers in Birmingham. The oath is the first step in a military career.
The recruits from across the region took the oath of allegiance to Queen and Country in a ceremony at City Hall, watched by the Lord Mayor.
The nine youngest will now go on to a year’s training at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. The rest will begin phase one basic training.
It’s been a challenging year for the British Army. In June a Defence Review was announced that will see numbers cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by the end of the decade.
Last week an MOD survey found that half of serving soldiers describe morale as low.
Despite all that, and the obvious dangers, this is still a popular career choice in difficult economic times, and around a thousand Midlands teenagers sign up every year. **
The Soldiers oath in full:
"I... swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second,
Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty,
Her Heirs and Successors, in Person, Crown and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty,
Her Heirs and Successors, and of the generals and officers set over me. So help me God."