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3 July 2013, 14:35
Some 38 military reserve bases are to close across the country as part of reforms to expand the Army Reserve, the Defence Secretary announced today.
The departure of reserve forces from 35 Army bases and three Navy bases are offset by the establishment of nine new or reopened Army bases, two Navy bases and two Royal Air Force bases.
Philip Hammond unveiled the changes as part of a package of reforms aimed at increasing the number of reservists in the Army under the Future Force 2020 reforms.
The plans envisage a trained army of 112,000, comprising 82,000 regulars, 30,000 reservists, and 8,000 further reservists in training. Announcing the basing changes, Mr Hammond told MPs: "The number of Army Reserve bases will reduce from the current total of 334 to 308, a net reduction of 26 sites."
Here's how the Thames Valley and Hampshire are affected:
Berkshire: The main changes in the county are slight. RHQ and HQ Coy 7 Rifles will remain in Brock Barracks, Reading. They will be joined by 135 Geographic Squadron, Royal Engineers, which is relocating from Southampton. In Hermitage, you will see the growth of two new Intelligence Corps units. The first is HQ 73 Coy, 7 MI Bn and Intelligence Officers Support Section. The second is the Technical Intelligence Staff Officer Section, which is part of 3 MI Bn. Windsor will see the consolidation of 94 (Berkshire Yeomanry) Signal Sqn – this unit will be made up of the squadron from Windsor and the troop detachment from Aylesbury.
Hampshire: There are a number of changes within the County. First Portsmouth. The most significant change is that D Coy, 3 PWRR will re-role as 679 Sqn, 6AAC. Its task will remain infantry-orientated (establishing and securing Aviation forward operating and re-fuelling bases). Those that don’t want this option could join the Royal Artillery in the new Bty based in Portsmouth, or join 128 Field Coy of 103 Bn REME in the nearby Peronne Road TA Centre in Portsmouth. There is, also, the formation of a new RA Bty in Portsmouth – 295 (Hampshire Yeomanry) Bty in Peronne Road. Next Southampton. You will gain MI detachment from Tudor Crescent in Portsmouth. You also gain E Troop, part of 266 Port Sqn from the IoW. Finally in Southampton, 72 MI Coy HQ, 7 MI Bn, based upon 314 and 315 Int sections, will be formed
Oxfordshire: There is no change to the laydown of 202 Fd Hosp or A Coy 7 Rifles, who will both remain in Abingdon. Bletchley TAC becomes part of 63 MI Coy and the personnel from 805 Tp, 1 Sig Sqn, rebadges to become part of 142 Port Sqn, RLC. This is good news and an overall increase in manning.
Buckinghamshire: The most significant change in the area concerns E Coy, 7 Rifles, which will re-role to become 678 (The Rifles) Sqn, 6 AAC. There are options available for the personnel to also join 871 Postal and Courier Sqn, RLC. There is also significant change in Bletchley where 1 Sqn, 38 Sig Regt, will re-role to form a new unit, 63 MI Coy HQ, 6 MI. In Booker Hill, Marlow, there is the formation of a new unit, 162 Postal and Courier and Movts Sqn, RLC. In Aylesbury, there are a number of changes: the first will see the Signals Troop detachment depart to Windsor to consolidate with another detachment to rejoin their parent unit, 94 (Berkshire Yeomanry) Signal Sqn. Aylesbury will however see the formation of 710 Operational Hygiene Sqn, 166 Supply Sqn, RLC.