Scottish forces lose fifth of soldiers

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ALMOST a fifth of the soldiers in the Army's Scottish Division quit the forces last year, according to figures from the MoD.

Figures published by ministers reveal that 17.8% of the 3,260 strength of the Scottish Division, which contains the Royal Regiment of Scotland, left the Army last year, a total of 580 soldiers.

Meanwhile, according to the information revealed in a Commons Written Answer, there were only 375 who came into the ranks.

The military have already have to make up the much of the shortfall in the Scottish battalions through recruiting soldiers from overseas, especially from Fiji.

But even with the efforts to bring in foreign soldiers along with a high-profile advertising campaign, many units are still under strength, with battalions being deployed having to borrow soldiers from each other, a practice dubbed the "Rent-a-Jock" system.

The move means that some troops who serve one tour of duty, such as Iraq, then find themselves being sent to areas like Afghanistan with other units in order to bolster the numbers.

Former army colonel Stuart Crawford, said: "The numbers are relatively speaking on the high side. Of course not all the losses are because of young soldiers deciding to pack it in, some will be down to troops retiring and so forth, and there is always a certain amount of 'churn' in the forces. But think about it this way, out of 100 squaddies who might have served in Afghanistan or Iraq last year, there are 17.8 who are not there now and are either being replaced by new soldiers or by those coming in from other units. That's quite a disruption."

No one was available for comment from the MoD.