Three service personnel

How much do you know about the Armed Forces?

A YouGov survey carried out on behalf of The Legion found 69% of people in the UK have little idea what the military actually do.

The finding comes despite 80% agreeing that serving personnel make a valuable contribution to society.

"Whilst it’s fantastic that people think our Armed Forces make a valuable contribution to society, the lack of understanding of what they actually do is concerning," Alexander Owen, Head of Armed Forces Engagement at The Legion said.

"If this figure continues to decline, I worry that support for those who serve will diminish too."

The study carried out by YouGov found that:

  • 69% of people say they know little or very little about what the Armed Forces do on a day-to-day basis.
  • 44% thought serving members of the Armed Forces are involved in military style fitness boot camps for the public in the last 10 years (these are run by private companies)
  • 16% believed they spent time working as film extras in the last 10 years (which they do not)
  • Only one third (33%) know about the support of the British Armed Forces to the NHS in the last 10 years
  • Only one quarter (25%) knew that the military have provided support in wildlife protection in the last 10 years
  • Awareness of what the British armed forces does on a day-to-day basis is lowest among the under 35s (76% know little or very little)
  • 80% of people agreed that serving members of the British Armed Forces make a valuable contribution to society in the UK

A similar poll carried out by Lord Ashcroft in 2012 found that 62% of UK adults had little or very little understanding of what the Armed Forces do on a day-to-day basis, a figure which has increased to 69% of UK adults in the YouGov research today.

In response to these findings we are raising awareness of the contribution that the Armed Forces make to everyday life; Serving personnel are mobilised during natural disasters, terrorist attacks, humanitarian and environmental crises and as a peacekeeping force around the world.

  • More than 2,700 serving regular and reserve medical personnel are currently working in the NHS.
  • 236 civilians have been rescued by the RAF Mountain Rescue Service in the UK in the last three years.
  • A new counter-poaching task force has trained more than 120 rangers to protect endangered wildlife in Malawi.
  • 4,100 defence personnel were deployed to tackle flooding across Southern England in 2014.

"Not only do they protect our values, freedoms and way of life but they work tirelessly supporting the NHS, respond to natural disasters and civilian emergencies at home and abroad, and are currently helping protect endangered species for future generations," Alexander Owen added.

"They support us every day. The least we can do is support them in turn."

Discover more

Back to top