Unit History: UOTC

The Officer Training Corps (OTC) (note not Officers, Officer’s or Officers’) is a part of the British Army which provides military leadership training to students at UK universities. The name Officer Training Corps is misleading in that its mission is not the training of officers; only a minority of OTC members go on to join the Regular or Territorial Army. However, in recent years UOTCs have been given targets to recruit members into the Regular or Territorial Army (although the mission statement (see below) has not changed). It is similar in some ways to US ROTC, however there is a fundamental difference in that ROTCs are actually Officer Training Establishments and thus have a rather different ethos and work ethic.
Although some UOTC can trace their origins even earlier, the modern OTC was founded during the Haldane Reforms in 1908 to remedy a critical shortage of officers during the South African War (1899-1902). Initially it had a senior division, in eight universities, and a junior division, in public schools. During the First World War, the senior OTCs became officer producing units and some 30,000 officers passed through, but after the war reverted to their basic military training role. During the 1930s they began to increase in strength and peaked in 1938 during the Munich Crisis, and in the Second World War they again became officer producing units for the army. In 1948, the senior divisions became part of the Territorial Army and women were accepted for the first time with the formation of Women’s Royal Army Corps sub units (women are now fully integrated into all sections). The junior divisions, by then renamed the Junior Training Corps, became the Army Sections of the Combined Cadet Force. For the next twelve years until its abolition in 1960, the corps aim was to prepare students for National Service.

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