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Junior Leaders was the name given to training Regiments of the British Army that took entrants from the age of 15 who moved on to adult service at the age of 17 and a half.[1] Their aim was to produce and train the future warrant officers and sergeants for their Corps.[2]


Junior Leaders' Regiments began in the mid-1950s, growing from the earlier system of 'Boy Service, and were maintained into the 1990s. There were various Junior Leader (JL) Regiments for entrants to the various Regiments and Corps of the Army. These included:


Training in the JL Regiments:

Education. To provide each JL with the opportunity to study for and pass the then Army Certificate of First Class Education, thus qualifying him to eventually achieve Warrant Officer and Commissioned Officer rank. JLs could also study for GCE “O” levels.

Military and Trade Training. Providing each JL his basic military training, teaching him the skills of Drill, Weapons handling, shooting and Physical Training. Parade Ground Drill. Junior Leaders were taught parade ground Drill to an exceptionally high standard:

Weapons. Junior Leaders were taught to shoot and drill with the issue rifle, initially the Lee–Enfield and later the L1A1 SLR.

Trade Training. Junior Leaders were also introduced to the main operating trades in their chosen Corps.

Leadership, Adventure Training and Sports A special emphasis was given to leadership, so important for future SNCO’s. Most outdoor training was carried out on the rugged terrain of Dartmoor. Exercises included, canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, map reading, cooking in the field and survival in arduous conditions. Many JLs attended tough military and civilian Outward Bound courses in the UK and abroad. A wide variety of sporting activities were available and competitions with many other military and civilian youth organisations in the UK and abroad were encouraged. JLs could even take a parachute course. Leisure time could also include dinghy sailing.

Junior Soldiers TodayEdit

Today, the Army recruits junior soldiers to Army Foundation College, where they are offered basic and specialist training, but they are not deployed on service until reaching legal age.[10] This is markedly different from the old Boy Soldiers of the 19th Century, who might go into the field with the adult soldiers in a variety of non-combat roles, such as buglers, but not dissimilar from the old Army apprenticeship schemes. Today's junior soldiers are titled depending on the Corps to which they belong; Junior Infantryman, for example. The Army Foundation College is meant to train the junior soldiers in the skills required for their roles as private soldiers in their respective corps, but not specifically to prepare them for the roles of senior NCOs or Warrant Officers. There is, however, some training in leadership skills.

Junior Leaders should not be confused with the Army Cadet Force, Combined Cadet Force,[11][12][13] the University Officers' Training Corps,[14] or with the current Junior Leadership Cadre, used for training Gurkha soldiers to become Lance Corporals.[15]

The Bermuda Regiment, the territorial home-defence battalion of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, operated its own Junior Leaders programme until the 1990s, when it was absorbed into the separate Bermuda Cadet Corps. The Junior Leaders had been part of the Bermuda Regiment, wearing the same cap badge, and operating from the same base, Warwick Camp, whereas the Cadet Corp was a separate organisation, operating through the school system. In 2012, due to financial constraints, the Bermuda Cadet Corps was disbanded, and the Bermuda Regiment Junior Leaders resurrected.[16][17][18][19][20] Many of the Bermuda Regiment's officers, warrant officers, and NCOs began their service in the Junior Leaders, including Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Gonsalves, who retired as Commanding Officer in 2013.[21]

Air Training CorpsEdit

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Today, the Air Training Corps (a youth training organisation which is associated with the Royal Air Force) operates a leadership course for cadets run in three phases, that are split into eight separate training weekends and a 10-day test phase. Cadets over the age of 17, and of at least the rank of Cadet Corporal, can complete the course. The course requires over a hundred hours of planning and a high degree of physical fitness.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Official History of the Junior Leaders’ Regiment Royal Corps. of Signals". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "A Brief History of the Junior Leaders’ Regiment RAC". 
  3. "The Junior Leaders Regiment RA". 
  4. "REA Junior Leaders". 
  5. "The Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion". 
  6. "IBB & Junior Leaders Battalion". 
  7. "The Junior Parachute Company". 
  9. "About the A.A.J.L.R.". 
  10. "Ministry of Defence: British Army (official website Army Colleges". 
  11. "North East England Cadet Forces". 
  12. Ministry of Defence: British Army (official website) 2 (South East) Brigade Cadets
  13. Army Cadets
  14. Ministry of Defence: British Army (official website) University Officers' Training Corps
  15. Ministry of Defence: British Army (official website) Junior Leadership Cadre
  16. The Bermuda Regiment: The Bermuda Regiment Junior Leaders
  17. The Royal Gazette: Cadet Corp to be replaced as budget savings are made. Published 21 March 2012 (Updated 21 March 2012)
  18. The Bermuda Regiment: The Bermuda Cadet Corps
  19. The Bermuda Regiment: Request for volunteer instructors for the Junior Leaders
  20. Junior Leaders, Regiment Team Up For Exercise. Bernews. 24 March, 2014
  21. Outward Bound, Bermuda. Our People: Lt Col BN Gonsalves, ED, tacsc
  22. Air Cadet News, Summer 2009 Page 21 (retrieved:15/09/2010)

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