Recruitment drive for reservist force

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The Army Reserve in the North East, which has a base in Alnwick, is looking to recruit up to 100 new soldiers over the next two years.

Lieutenant Colonel Karl Mace, who was the Chief Military Liaison Officer to the organising committee during the London 2012 Olympic Games, has now been given a further challenge in his new role asCommanding Officer of the 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (5RRF).

Colonel Mace currently commands more than 300 members of the Army Reserve based in Alnwick, Ashington, Durham, Newcastle, Washington and Doncaster and is looking to recruit up to 100 more.

It comes following the Government’s announcement in July on the future of what was formerly known as the Territorial Army and is now called the Army Reserve ‘to better reflect its enhanced role and its full integration into the whole force’.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “We are revitalising our Reserve Forces, reversing the decline of the recent past, growing their trained strength and investing an additional £1.8billion over 10 years to do this.”

At the same time, the Army separately published details of the future structures and basing for the Army Reserve, which saw the TA Centre in Berwick listed as surplus. Following that news, Sir Alan Beith MP said that Mr Hammond had assured him that the Alnwick centre will remain open.

Members of the Army Reserve will be required to train for up to 40 days per year, but with increased pay through a paid annual leave entitlement, access to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, more modern equipment and better access to welfare support and health services.

Colonel Mace told the Gazette: “I have served with regular soldiers from the North East throughout my 20 years with the Fusiliers and I have always been impressed with their professionalism and good humour and so I am delighted to have been given command of command of 5RRF.

“While recruiting up to full strength will be a challenge, I am confident that we can achieve what is being asked of us given the excellent support that the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has always enjoyed from the community in Newcastle and Northumberland.

“I can promise any new recruits a really worthwhile, stimulating and well-paid part-time career with the Reserves.”

He also announced plans for an open day at the TA Centre in Lisburn Terrace, Alnwick, on Saturday, November 9, which will also include a medals presentation ceremony for the 5RRF members who have recently returned from Afghanistan.

Further details will be announced in the Gazette in due course.