‘The Army is so desperate to fill its ranks that it is signing up recruits with a reading age as young as five.
Normally, its rules bar hiring anyone with a reading age below ‘entry level two’ – equivalent to that of a child aged seven to nine.
This is considered the minimum soldiers need to be able to read instructions for using firearms and explosives.
But amid difficulties in attracting youngsters, it has emerged that between 2016 and 2019 the Army took on 50 recruits at ‘entry level one’, with a reading age of between five and seven.
According to the National Literacy Trust, anyone on ‘entry level one’ would struggle to read the instructions on a medicine bottle label – let alone for an assault rifle or a computer-operated drone.
Last year, the Army was roundly mocked for recruitment advertisements stating ‘Your country needs you’ to ‘snowflakes, phone zombies, binge gamers, selfie addicts, and me, me, millennials’.
Now it appears that some potential recruits would not even have been able to under stand the adverts – even as warfare become increasingly computerised.
Newly unearthed figures show that in the three years to 2019, 4,240 recruits had a reading age of nine to eleven, with 50 in the five to seven range.’