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Winners and losers as communities take in Army shake-up news
9:00am Wednesday 6th March 2013 in News
SOLDIERS serving in Afghanistan have been dealt a “devastating” blow by the news their regiment will be disbanded, it was claimed last night.
Yesterday it was confirmed that Dalton Barracks in Abingdon is set to lose the 380 troops that make up 12 Logistic Support Regiment, which will return from Afghanistan later this month.
However, it was announced that under-threat St David’s Barracks, at Graven Hill, Bicester – home to 23 Pioneer Regiment – will be saved.
Some Dalton Barracks troopsn continued from page 1 will be redeployed elsewhere and others are included in volutary redundancies that have already been announced.
The Ministry of Defence was last night unable to give figures for how many would lose their jobs.
It was also announced that 3 Logistic Support Regiment, which is about 600 troops strong and is due to deploy to Afghanistan in April, will leave Abingdon and move to Aldershot.
The Aldershot-based 27 Theatre Logistic Regiment, which is a similar size, will then move into Dalton at the beginning of next year.
The remaining 4 Logistic Support Regiment will remain at the base, leaving it with around 1,200 soldiers.
Vale of White Horse Liberal Democrat group leader Richard Webber said the news would “really kick a hole in the local community”.
He said: “We are a military area and we feel concern and care for all of our forces. This is devastating for those people who are out there putting their lives on the line.
“And I’m sure I speak for tens of thousands of people across the area who find this very regrettable.”
Sandy Lovatt, the leader of Abingdon Town Council and a former member of the Royal Signals, said: “Everybody will be sorry to see them go.
“They are in Afghanistan at the moment and we were going to hold a parade and add them to our freedom scroll when they come back in June.
“But they are corps troops, so there isn’t quite the sentimental attachment and long history you get with an infantry battalion.”
Dalton Barracks will receive about £10m to refurbish old buildings and provide new accommodation and specialist facilities for the incoming troops.
The MoD could not provide further details last night.
Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond also announced that the under-threat St David’s Barracks, at Graven Hill, Bicester, will be saved.
Last summer the MoD announced the 600-strong 23 Pioneer Regiment, which has been based at St David’s Barracks in some form since 1941, would be disbanded by 2015.
Two new regiments will be based there by 2016; 1 Close Support Regiment, which is returning from Germany, and 241 Signal Squadron.
1 Close Support Regiment contains around 500 soldiers who serve on the front line, moving units around and providing equipment support.
241 Signal Squadron is only about 100 strong and works with radio transmissions and information gathering.
St David’s will also receive an unknown amount of investment as part of the £180bn the government said will be spent upgrading bases.
Bicester’s MP Sir Tony Baldry welcomed the announcement.
He said: “Part of the essential character of Bicester – since the first World War – is that it has been a garrison town.”
Bicester’s mayor Dan Sames said: “It’s fantastic news. Bicester has always had close links with the military, so although 23 Pioneer Regiment is being disbanded we are still maintaining a link with the Royal Logistic Corps, and welcome the Signals to Bicester.”
Theatre Logistic regiments provide British forces in warzones with equipment and supplies. 12 Logistic Support Regiment has been based in Abingdon for about four years since returning from Germany.