The ten Greater Manchester local authorities (AGMA) have united in a call for the government to rethink its plans to disband one of the country’s most renowned and historic infantry battalions.
The Ministry of Defence have proposed plans to abolish the 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as part of cost saving measures that are currently being recommended to slash troop numbers from 102,000 to 80,000 as budgets are cut across the British Army.
The Second Fusiliers recruit soldiers from the Greater Manchester area and have gained a well-earned reputation as a superbly trained and hardened infantry battalion that has recently served tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan – but the Fusiliers have also served in every major campaign dating back to 1674.
Despite currently being the best manned battalion in the army, the only one which is set to grow in the next six months and that with the best deployable strength, the 2nd Battalion has been chosen to be disbanded and the soldiers reposted to other battalions who have not shown the consistent success of the Fusiliers.
At the executive meeting of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), Friday 27 July, members agreed to back the campaign that will be presented to the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the General Staff and urge them to reconsider plans and support the success of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
It was agreed at the meeting that each AGMA authority will link to the HM Government petition from their website and a hard copy be placed in each Town Hall or Civic Centre for members of the public to sign.
Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, said: “Each of the Greater Manchester authorities have unified once again to urge the government to reconsider the decision to disband the Second Fusiliers – a decision that will decimate a proud battalion of men that has seen the loyal service of Greater Manchester soldiers who have trained hard to become the incredibly well trained and disciplined heroes of conflicts around the world.
Cllr Mike Connolly, Leader of Bury Council, who has been appointed by the AGMA Executive Board as its champion for the Fusiliers campaign, added: “The decision to scatter these loyal soldiers is utterly unfair as these men have pledge their unquestionable allegiance to their regiment, who will now be unceremoniously deployed across the army into less successful battalions than their own.
“To rub this historic unit from the face of the army is an insult to the thousands of Greater Manchester Fusiliers who for the last 300 years have given their lives to ensure the protection of us, and others around the globe.”