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Garrison set to be army's largest
PLANS announced last week to increase the size of the garrison on Salisbury Plain will create the British Army’s largest garrison, double the size of the Catterick Garrison and three times larger than Aldershot.
The garrison will be home to all of the army’s three high readiness armoured brigades, 1, 12 and 20 and will house three Challenger 2 regiments in Tidworth and six armoured infantry battalions on the Plain.
Larkhill will see a big expansion with four additional artillery regiments being moved there. In Perham Down there will be an additional engineer regiment and Tidworth will see two armoured medical regiments and a REME armoured close support regiment moving in.
These moves will all start in 2014, but there will be name changes to existing units as amalgamations are enabled. 2 Royal Tank Regiment will absorb the remnants of 1 RTR based in RAF Honington where they have been in the NBC monitoring role.
2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh will become 1st Battalion and Warminster based 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment will also become 1st Battalion. First Fusiliers will absorb the 2nd Battalion RRF.
The first moves will be the arrival in Larkhill of 47 Regiment RA from Thorney Island and 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment will move from Catterick to Bulford, replacing 1 Royal Anglian in 2014. In 2015 4 RIFLES will move to Aldershot and 5 FS Bn REME will move from Tidworth to Cottesmore.
The big moves will come in 2017 when 20 Armoured Brigade HQ and its units move from Germany.
The Queen’s Royal Hussars (Queen’s Own and Royal Irish) will move to Tidworth along with 1 Armoured Medical Regiment from Sennelager, 5 Armoured Medical Regiment from Catterick and 3 Armoured Close Support Regiment REME from Paderborn.
In Bulford, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment will return from Paderborn To manage these huge changes there is an £850million building budget which will see 1,200 new married quarters, additional single living accommodation and new hangars and workshops for the additional armoured vehicles.
All of these additional armoured vehicles and artillery will place an additional strain on the training facilities on Salisbury Plain Training Area and we can expect to see an increase in noise and vehicle movement on and around the Plain in future years.
It is an exciting time for the garrison and Salisbury; with the additional troops will come greater spending power, more jobs and a time of economic growth for our area.