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Army to launch recruitment drive to get women to join front-line units

The campaign comes after ministers changed rules to let female soldiers serve in “close ground combat” roles from 2018


The Army is launching a major recruitment drive in the New Year to get women to join the ranks of tough front-line units such as the Gurkhas and Paras.

The campaign comes after ministers changed rules to let female soldiers serve in “close ground combat” roles from 2018.

The move ends the all-male tradition of elite formations such as the Guards, Rifles and Royal Marines.

A small number of female soldiers have already been caught up in combat.

But the new ad drive will profile women as leaders and highly capable infantry soldiers making life-or-death decisions.

It follows the success of Our Girl , the hit BBC drama starring Corrie’s Michelle Keegan as Lance Corporal Georgie Lane.

The campaign will highlight chances for women to serve in roles such as paratroopers, snipers or tank drivers.

Across the UK commanders have been preparing to accept women with separate accommodation and instructors.

Campaign comes after success of BBC drama Our Girl (Image: BBC)

Michelle Keegan on Our Girl (Image: BBC)
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Military pundit Mike Peters who served with the infantry, said the Army needs to move with the times. He added : “Women proved themselves undercover in Northern Ireland as well as Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Joining the infantry is not for everyone but there will be those who rise to the challenge and no doubt one day we will have our first SAS female soldier.”

In Afghanistan two female medics won the Military Cross, with one claiming to be the first woman to kill a Taliban fighter.

Across the country military commanders have spent the past year making sure they are ready to accept women with separate accommodation and resources as well as female instructors.

But the Marines have revealed that all female rookies will have to sleep in the same room as their male counterparts during the initial stage of training.

New ad drive will profile women as leaders and infantry soldiers (Image: PA)
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Male rookies currently spend the first phase of the course in one huge 65 bed, open plan dormitory with just 6ft between each bed and very little privacy - as part of a policy to encourage ‘bonding’ between the recruits.

Commanders says it is l an ‘essential requirement for team cohesion’ and the ‘same bedroom’ policy inn training has been confirmed by the head of the elite Corps.

Major General Robert Magowan, the commandant general of the marines, has said it is an ‘essential requirement for team cohesion’ that female rookies undergoing training at the Commando Training Centre live in the same rooms as their male counterparts.

In a joint statement with the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, they both announced: “Work is underway to gain agreement for women to be accommodated in the same rooms as men while at CTCRM, allowing them to maintain team cohesion and ensure equality of opportunity.”

But after they have won their green berets the female commandos will be drafted to operational commando units and be given their own rooms as part of official military policy.

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