Poorly-recruited regiments should have been the target of Government cuts, says the man leading the fight to save a strong Fusilier battalion.
Major Chester Potts, who is chairman of the Fusiliers Association in Northumberland, hit out ahead of a scheduled march on Parliament next week to protest at Government plans to disband the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Six-hundred serving soldiers face the axe or redeployment to other units, despite the Regiment being one of the best-recruited in the entire Army.
Major Potts says the Fusiliers has been ‘singled out’ for disbandment for political reasons, as many other regiments perform far less well
“This will see the Army cut back to its lowest level since the Napoleonic Wars,” he said. “In short, the whole of the British Army will fit into Wembley Stadium by 2020, if not sooner.
“Unlike the others chosen for disbandment, the Fusiliers are a fully-recruited unit with many young recruits in the pipeline. They are described by the MoD website as a professional battle hardened unit.
“The North East alone recruits 2,000-plus soldiers a year and has just two infantry battalions to fill. Our 2nd Battalion was nine men short on establishment.
“The Royal Regiment of Scotland is about a battalion-and-a-half down in numbers. Other battalions – namely the Parachute Regiment – were in some instances 90 men short.
“The whole of Scotland recruits 800-1,000 soldiers a year for the Army and has five infantry battalions to fill.”
Major Potts added: “It started to become increasingly clear that the Fusiliers were to be sacrificed primarily to save under-recruited Scottish battalions ahead of a Scottish referendum on devolution in 2014.
“If the decision had been taken purely on recruiting and operational sustainability, then the Fusiliers would not have been touched.
“The Scottish Battalions rely heavily on foreign and Commonweath troops, unlike the Fusiliers and without them they would find it hard to function as a military unit.”
John Baron MP is leading the fight for the Fusiliers in Parliament with the help of Sir Alan Beith among others.
Ex-servicemen and supporters will be travelling down to Parliament on October 18, for a debate on the cuts.
To attend, contact Major Graeme Heron at firstname.lastname@example.org