Over 15,000 armed forces veterans in Northumberland

National Service reflected in ex-armed service personnel numbers.National Service reflected in ex-armed service personnel numbers.
National Service reflected in ex-armed service personnel numbers.
Northumberland is home to over 15,000 military veterans, according to the first detailed survey of ex-forces personnel.

The Royal British Legion says the data – collected for the first time in the 2021 census – will be "crucial" in providing support and services for the ex-armed forces community.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that there were 15,578 veterans living in Northumberland in March 2021 – around 3,675 (23.6%) of whom were over the age of 80.

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The high proportion of octogenarian veterans is, say the ONS, a product of National Service that ran in the UK between 1939 and 1960.

Conscription required healthy males aged between 17 to 21 to serve in the armed forces for between 18 months and two years and was phased out in the late 1950s, meaning the last surviving people to have been conscripted will now be well into their 80s.

There were 665 veterans over the age of 90 in the area as of March 2021 and just 6.6% of ex military personnel in the area were under 35.

Only 14% were female.

Nationally 3.8% of people were found to have served in the armed forces – 1.9 million people – with 31.8% over the age of 80 or over.

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Hannah Pearce, director of campaigns, policy and research at the Royal British Legion said: "The information will significantly improve our understanding of the armed forces community and ensure that we can deliver the best support possible to serving personnel, veterans and their families both now and in future years."