VIDEO: campaign to save county’s battalion takes on new level

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WARWICKSHIRE people are being urged to speak out against the Government’s plans to axe the battalion that was formed in the county as the campaign to save it continues.

In July Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, which was formed in Warwickshire during the 1600s, is to be among 17 military units to be scrapped.

Since then, a strong campaign has grown to urge the Government to reconsider and a petition has so far been signed by almost 8,000 people.

Earlier this month senior members of the battalion were joined by supporters at a ‘Save the Royal Regiment’ parade in Kenilworth, while Warwickshire MPs recently attended a meeting hosted by Essex MP John Baron, a former serving officer in the 2nd Fusiliers.

Mr Baron, who has also spoken about the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions, said: “We agreed that 2nd Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was alone in being cut for reasons other than just military criteria.

“The Secretary of State’s letter to me makes clear that two Scottish battalions would have been axed were this the case. As it happens, no Scottish battalions are being cut.

“As a cross-party group of MPs, we are now planning to go on the front foot here in Parliament in a campaign to save the 2nd Fusiliers.”

Leek Wooton man John Rice, former Lieutenant Colonel in the 2nd Fusiliers and trustee of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Museum in Warwick, is also taking a lead role in the campaign.

He said: “We were absolutely right to be suspicious about the decision to disband Warwickshire’s Regiment.

“For the Government to blame it solely on historical recruiting numbers was disingenuous. Firm evidence has emerged that to preserve poorly recruited Scottish infantry regiments for political reasons, a fifth infantry regiment from elsewhere in the UK had to be identified to face the axe, which fell on 2nd Fusiliers.

“If readers agree that the decision should be reversed, it would be good if they write to their MP.”

To sign the e-petition to the Government, visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions35724