Why Leave

Why leave? – Psychology of a Recruit

I have been an instructor within the Royal Marines since I was promoted to Corporal in 1989.   The majority of this time has been teaching Royal Marine recruits during their basic and initial training.   The lessons involved drill, personal administration, discipline and husbandry.   There is currently an under bearing within the armed services and especially in the Royal Marines.   Although the Corps does not have a problem recruiting individuals there is a problem with retention or ‘keeping them in’.   The training of a marine takes 30 weeks and is an expensive business.   Unfortunately a number of recruits leave for various reasons and especially very early on.   Within this essay I wish to explore the possible reasons of why recruits leave (especially within the first few days), what motivated them to join and then the sudden change of heart.

Potential recruits attend an interview, medical and fitness test within the career offices throughout the country and if successful they attend a 3-day potential recruit course at Lympstone.   This course gives the individual the opportunity to view the centre and the facilities and get a taste of what is to come.   In addition it gives the selection team the chance to further test, evaluate and gauge the potential of individuals.   On successful completion of the 3 days the potential recruit will be given an entry date which could be as much as 6 months later.   On joining the Commando Training Centre the new recruits will undergo a foundation phase of training (my area of expertise).   This will include further medicals, interviews and paperwork.   They will also swear allegiance to the Queen on the first night.   Although they have done nothing strenuous or difficult at this stage a number of recruits wish to leave saying ‘its not for them’.   Some times as many as 3 in an entry wish to leave and over a training year this could be as many as 80 recruits.   So why do they want to leave?...