Grieving families join protests at Army cuts

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THE families of soldiers killed in combat have taken to the streets in nationwide protests against Army cuts.

A series of demonstrations were held in Leeds, Glasgow, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and at the Cenotaph in London yesterday.

The action was organised by Dee Edwards, of the Protest Against MoD Cuts group over Government plans to cut Army personnel from 102,000 to 82,000.

In Southampton, former servicemen gathered to hold a two-minute silence at the Hampshire city’s cenotaph.

Local organiser Stephen Martin, 57, who served in the Royal Artillery Corps, said: “The Government is planning to cut 30,000 troops by 2020 and, being an ex-serviceman myself, I feel it is unnecessary as currently there are more people leaving than joining up, so if we take into account natural wastage we would get the same result without disbanding regiments.”

Four infantry battalions are to disappear, the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment – the Green Howards, the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.

A fifth infantry battalion, the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland – Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – will become a single company for public duties in Scotland, while the Armoured Corps will be reduced by two units with the mergers of the Queen’s Royal Lancers and the 9th/12th Royal Lancers and the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiments.

The Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Military Police will also be affected.