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‘Figures show Fusiliers should be retained’
11:50am Thursday 16th August 2012 in News
A FORMER soldier battling to save Bury’s Royal Regiment of Fusiliers from the axe claims recruitment figures used to help justify the move are wrong.
Rather than support the case for disbanding the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (RRF), Bury man Dennis Laverick claims the figures show the battalion should be retained.
Mr Laverick has now passed on the figures to Bury’s MPs David Nuttall and Ivan Lewis, and he hopes they will use the statistics as a prime weapon in their armoury to save the armoured battallion of 600 soldiers.
Mr Laverick, who spent nine years in the army with the Lancashire Fusiliers and the RRF, runs the Fusiliers Association website.
Commenting on one of the major reasons behind the Ministry of Defence’s justification for the proposed disbandment, Mr Laverick said: “They’re saying they have looked at the recruiting figures for the last 10 years and the next 10 years.
“But they haven’t actually produced any detailed figures for us to see.”
He has sourced latest government statistics, which provide the establishment and strength information for service personnel in infantry battalions as well as recruitment and manning figures.
Mr Laverick said: “The recruiting figures show that for the last 10 years, the three main areas of Fusiliers recruiting, the West Midlands, North West and North East, are in the top four in every year for the last 10 years.
“And the Queen’s division is the best recruited division of them all.”
The Queen’s embraces both RRF battalions.
Separate statistics also show that for the 2nd Battalion, the current 523 manning numbers are just nine short of the 532 establishment figure.
“It would seem that the MoD recruitment figures are a load of rubbish,” added Mr Laverick. “It is completely unfair the Fusiliers should have any of their battalions disbanded. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
An army spokesman said recruiting was just one of a number of criteria used to determine which Infantry battalions would be withdrawn.
He said: “Other criteria included a balance across the broader infantry structure and the capability roles within it; demographic sustainability of regiments according to projected regional supply of recruits and taking account of previous decisions on mergers and deletions. The army also considered proportionality of outcome, with no cap badge deletions and no regiment losing more than one battalion in a re-organisation.
“Historical manning performance shows that in the case of 2RRF there was a 12 per cent shortfall in its strength over the last ten years.”
A campaign is underway to save the battalion, including an e-petition which, it is hoped, will attract 100,000 signatures and force the issue to be discussed in parliament.