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Tigers survive to march again
9:49am Wednesday 4th July 2012 in News
HAMPSHIRE’S historic Army regiment is likely to be saved from sweeping cuts to the Ministry of Defence, the Daily Echo has learned.
Fears have been raised that the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment could be amalgamated or even turned into a Territorial Army unit.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will unveil the controversial plans to cut 20,000 troops to MPs tomorrow.
But it is u n d e r s t o o d that the plans to merge the battalion – n i ck n a m e d The Tigers – to form a “superregiment”
are now off the table.
The news has been greeted with relief by families of Hampshire Tigers who have just returned from Afghanistan.
Joseph Dean, grandfather of Cpl Matt Dean, who lives in Hedge End with his wife Marlene, said he would be delighted to see the future of the regiment secured.
He said: “I’d be very happy if they save it. I don’t like to see regiments go down.
“I think it’s really important to Hampshire – they lost the Royal Hampshires and now to lose the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment would have been terrible. We’re keeping everything crossed.”
The Ministry of Defence refused to comment ahead of tomorrow’s announcement.
MPs from all political parties had united in the call to preserve the regiment.
Yesterday former Cabinet minister Chris Huhne said the reprieve would be good news for the county.
The Lib Dem Eastleigh MP said: “If this is correct, then it’s very good news. It is a very important part of Hampshire’s military heritage. It is crucial that there’s a strong connection between one of the Army regiments and our county.”
The shake-up will see the biggest reform of the British Army in more than 100 years. The Army is in the process of reducing its numbers to 82,000 by 2020.