But do not forget these are the Home Service battalions. The conflict in NI is their only reason for existance. These battalions are not available for general service (although individuals can volunteer) by virtue of their Terms and Conditions of Service. So although I will be sad to see them go, if we are to believe the IRA they are in fact surplus to requirements.
What I do hope is that once these battalions have gone, the money saved will stay within the Army and not just cut by Brown. That of course is very doubtful.
Oh well lets hope that it all works and that the IRA lays down their arms and these 3000 plus officers and men can find employment in the Regular Army if they so wish or the PSNI etc
But funny how immediately thought goes to funding, will their budget be taken away by Brown and his gang or will the rest of the army ( or NI which ever the money is allocated to) will get the stuff it needs, ie not turning up to war being short of basic essential kit etc!!! How many were in the desert in green kit as there was not desert boots or desert DPMs avail etc etc etc
Not that long ago soldiers were able to think just about soldiering, not about where the money and budget comes from/ allows them to have in terms of basic required kit
so, for those in the know, will the two(?) HS battalions disband, but their members probably split between 1) regular army - including 1RIR, 2) 4RIR (the TA battalion - looks like some 260-odd men short of a battalion at the mo) and 3) civvie street?
From Lieutenant General Sir Philip Trousdell KBE CB, Colonel of The Regiment
Today you will have heard of the intent to disband the Home Service Battalions of the Regiment by 1st August 07, provided that a continuing enabling environment is in place.
Over the last two years while I was GOC in Lisburn the future of our battalions in the Province was a subject about which you questioned me frequently and about which we had many discussions at all levels in the Regiment. Despite that, the announcement today will have come as a surprise to many.
But the news today could never have come but for the enduring and steadfast nature of the commitment which you and those who served before you have made to the cause of peace in the Province.
We must never forget those comrades who fell in this campaign and the many who still bear the physical and mental scars of conflict. This peace has not come easily nor been won without great cost to the Army as a whole and our Regiment in particular.
The plans for the future will now be developed and briefed to you in time. For the meantime there will be a requirement to provide ongoing operational support to the PSNI. We will not fold up our tents and fade into the night. When the time comes we will go with the professionalism, which has been the hallmark of the Ulster Defence Regiment and The Royal Irish Regiment. Above all, when we lower our Colours we will go with dignity, certain that we have written as bold and as brave a chapter in the long history of this great regiment as any of our forefathers.
For what it's worth, I think the members of the UDR / RIR HS can rest assured that they have the rest of the army's utmost admiration. I certainly wouldn't have had the balls to live in an isolated part of the province in a civvie house and work as an overt member of the security forces at the same time. This is definitely one Regiment that the MoD should bend over backwards NOT to shaft at the earliest opportunity.
Not that these army-wide sentiments will make the slightest bit of fcuking difference in Whitehall...
Wasn't my intention to come over as 'thanks for the years you've put in, here's a gold clock, now fcuk off', Covert. Nor was I trying to make you feel better about being shafted. Simply pointing out what a sad loss it is for the rest of us but one that, as per usual, we can do absolutely nothing about.
Understand your concerns, absolutely - and have real reason to appreciate and value the work the UDR and R IRISH HS have done over the years - and there's little in the way of comfort or solace that can be offered. A lot of RUCSB pals went through the same sort of process a few years ago; let's hope MoD scrapes up the necessary cash to provide some sort of sensible transition package for all those affected.