Archive - Thursday, 5 July 2012
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Bitter sweet victory as Hammond rides to Welsh Cavalry’s rescue
THE WELSH CAVALRY has been saved from army cuts, but in a bitter sweet day, it was announced that a battalion of the Royal Welsh will be axed.
SAVED: Colonel-in-Chief Prince Charles inspects the Queen’s Dragoon Guards
The decision, read out in a statement to the House of Commons by the Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond yesterday, saw the Welsh Cavalry, officially known as the Queen’s Dragoon Guards (QDG) survive.
But the 2nd battalion the Royal Welsh will be merged with the 1st battalion, potentially putting 600 jobs at risk.
Brian Grills, 50, from Magor, whose son Scott is a serving member of the QDG, said: "I’m over the moon the QDG have been saved, it is a massive relief for all the families.
But I am devastated for anyone whose relatives are in the Royal Welsh."
RELIEF: Brian and Linda Grills, left, whose son Scott, right, serves in the Queen’s Dragoon Guards
Kevin Swift, 53, from Cwmbran, who served in the QDG for 15 years and was an active member in the campaign to save the regiment, said: "I’m obviously delighted all the hard work in the campaign has paid off and the regiment has been saved.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Welsh people and politicians for supporting the campaign.
But the pleasure is tinged with sadness with the news about the Royal Welsh."
The cuts will see the regular army reduced from 102,000 to 82,000, the smallest it has been since the Boer War.
And there was dismay across the political spectrum that a battalion of the Royal Welsh will be lost.
OVERSEAS: Scott Grills on a recent tour of Afghanistan
Former Welsh secretary, Paul Murphy, described the survival of the QDG as something of a "hollow victory" in light of the Royal Welsh cuts.
Mr Murphy, said: "That is 600 jobs lost as part of a shambolically-handled review that has caused a great deal of stress to Welsh service men and women and their families."
Conservative MP for Monmouthshire, David Davies welcomed the news on the QDG, but said: "Defence experts told the Welsh Affairs committee, based on cost and recruitment considerations, they would cut several battalions of the Scottish regiments, and of the Gurkhas, and we are concerned that this decision to cut a Welsh battalion may be at least partly politically-motivated.
Labour MP for Newport East, Jessica Morden, added: "This is very painful news for the 592 serving in the 2nd battalion Royal Welsh who will rightly ask why a regiment in Wales takes this hit when they are so well recruited and serve so excellently."