2016 Regiment Recruit Camp To Be All Volunteer

December 3, 2015

Next year’s Recruit Camp will be all volunteer for the first time ever, Royal Bermuda Regiment [RBR] Commanding Officer Lt Col Michael Foster-Brown said today [Dec 3].

“The news means that recruits due to be conscripted for the two-week training camp in January have been told in letters sent out on Wednesday that they will not be needed – although they will remain liable for potential service in future years,” the RBR said.

Slideshow of the beginning of this year’s Recruit Camp which was held in January


Col Foster-Brown said, “I’m delighted – many people thought this wouldn’t be achievable, so it’s excellent news. It’s the result of a lot of hard work and emphasis on ensuring that service in the RBR is attractive and rewarding.”

Col Foster-Brown explained that the deferments for conscripts were possible due to a high number of volunteers and a large increase in soldiers opting to extend their service.

He said, “The great thing about the retention rates is that these are people who know exactly what the RBR is like because they are in it. It’s a huge vote of confidence in the Regiment and what we do.”

He added, “The timing is fortunate with the proposed amendments to the Defence Act which will address the issue of compulsory service; also of course we have just celebrated our 50th Anniversary so it’s a special year.”

And Col Foster-Brown said a challenge for the future was “maintaining the momentum” in recruitment in the years to come.

He added, “We are in discussions with the Government about support in this particular area.”

Between 50 and 60 volunteer soldiers – the first to join the Island’s defence force after it was renamed the Royal Bermuda Regiment earlier this year to mark its 50th anniversary – are expected to start their training next January.

Col Foster-Brown stressed, “For those who were balloted this year or in previous years, and have not started their service, their liability for service remains.

“They may well be called in subsequent years, but they will not be required next year.”

But he said that there was potential for conscripts who wanted to change their status to volunteers to start their training in January, and they should follow the instructions in the letters they have or will shortly receive in the post.

Col Foster Brown said, “There is scope to allow some to start their training immediately if they wish to volunteer.”

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Comments (17)

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  1. Onion says:

    Amazing! Great work!

    All those years the Regiment was required to try and find volunteers but never bothered because they could conscript. Now all it took was the the political will to put them on notice.

    So proud that this major step has been made, now let’s take conscription off the books once and for all.

  2. Torian says:

    Impressive! Congrats Bermuda, I hope the numbers will be good as a volunteer-based trial.

  3. Terry says:

    Good one OBA.
    Saving money.

    • flikel says:

      Actually, this is not saving money, but costing more money. In order to attract volunteers and keep soldiers, the regiment significantly increased pay and awards bonuses for completion of the two week recruit camp.

      In the old days, conscripts were paid paltry sums of money and bonuses were unheard of.

      • Logic says:

        Actually the RBR pay rates haven’t changed for some time. Volunteer and performance bonuses have been halved in the last year.

  4. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    I’m curious as to the relativity between conscripts and volunteers as to who earned they’re way up the ranks from Corporals to Colonels.

    I got a sick feeling that the majority of them were conscripts but I stand to be corrected…

  5. Rocky says:

    I think this is more to do with a money prospective. But good non the less.

  6. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Good move on behalf of the Army.One good volunteer is better than 10 foot dragging,begrudging,dissatisfied gunja smoking culprits anyway.The opportunity to give service to your community is a privilege not a chore or a punishment.there is a standing joke amongst Policeman who frequently deal with all types of criminals and one day a frequent nuisance asked a policeman why nobody asked him any questions because he knew every body and all the goings on ,,on the block .Some of the conscripts are better off not being a nuisance in the Army and we are better off without them.I believe they are better off being out.

    • yess says:

      This comment hits the nail on the head!


      Why must all that do not want to be apart of the Regiment be referred to as “foot dragging, begrudging, dissatisfied gunja smoking culprits”???? A bit harsh and one-sided of an opinion.

      Others have different opinions when viewing this. I like them do not view the service as a form of community service nor a privilege. There are other ways to give back to your community you know. This is not the only way. KBB, community outreach programs, volunteer work at various locations throughout the island, just to name a few, are all very relevant and proven ways of giving back.

      I’m not trying to bash you in any way, just trying to show you that you can’t lump everyone together in such a one-sided way.

  7. wondering says:

    Excellent news and well done. The retention rates have finally caught up with the inevitable cycle of ending conscription that actually began before the bumbling politicians made it a political football.

    With the budget cuts over the past 10 to 15 years it was bound to happen. The RBR cannot sustain itself without this move.

    Call it political will or whatever but it is simple economics and more creative leadership and retention policies in place in the Regiment.

    Wonder what the anti – Regt ppl will say now.

    Note that I said anti- Regt not anti conscription. A big difference between the 2.

    Well done RBR!

  8. Bermyman says:

    Boom! Well done government and the regiment getting things done where the others failed!

  9. Hey says:

    Where is the pool of officers and SNCO’S going to come from?

  10. Davie Kerr says:

    Well, let’s hope it all works out for the best, but the acid test will be when we see how many show up for Boot Camp 2016.

  11. ImJustSayin says:

    Finally a good decision made from the government. Well done. And congrats to all those who fought against conscription for so long.