The first boys walked through the gates at Tuxford in April 1952 with A Company being permanently detached from the Battalion and based in Harrogate. The unit was designated the Infantry Boys Battalion and the concept was simple.

Selectively recruit boys of school leaving age with the required attitude and potential. Provide them with a comprehensive training package that included sports, education, leadership skills and infantry training and which, would prepare them for a role as future Senior NCO’s and Warrant Officers in the British Infantry.

The Battalion moved to Plymouth in 1954 and A Company rejoined them from Harrogate. In 1957 the rank Boy was discontinued throughout the British Army and was replaced by Junior, at this time the Infantry Boys Battalion was renamed the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion.

In 1960 the Battalion moved to Park Hall Camp in Oswestry which became its home for the next 15 years. Under the command of Lt Col Frank Coutts KOSB and Lt Col Charles Barker Gordons the training programme was rationalised to create a programme based on the Sandhurst model . The first full year being dedicated to Education ( 70% education , 30% military training ) and the final year focussing entirely upon military training . This successful format continued until 1975 . During 1970 the Junior Infantrymen’s Wing was formed and was based in what had formerly been the RA lines . In 1971 to mark the enduring relationship which existed between the Battalion and the local community, the unit was granted the Freedom of Oswestry, a singular honour for a boys unit .

The Battalions final move was to Shorncliffe in 1975 when the school leaving age was raised to 16 years . There had been a resident Junior Infantrymen’s Battalion based in Shorncliffe since 1967. The Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion disbanded in 1985 however many of those trained there continued to serve into the new millennium. Waterloo Company and the Para Company continued at the JGO as the JL Wing until 1987. The Junior Infantrymen’s Battalion continued until it finally closed in 1991.

A sad day for the British Infantry and a lost opportunity for Britain’s youth.