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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 December, 2004, 19:19 GMT
In detail: Army restructuring plans
Geoff Hoon with soldiers
Geoff Hoon with Black Watch soldiers in Iraq
Details of plans for Army restructuring were announced by Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon on Thursday.

Four infantry battalions are to be axed, reducing the number from 40 to 36.

The infantry will be organised into larger, multi-battalion regiments.

  • One battalion will go from the Scottish Division, one from the area west of the Pennines, one battalion from the Prince of Wales's Division in the south of England and one from the Parachute Regiment.

  • Two historic single battalion regiments in Scotland are to merge. The Royal Scots will merge with The King's Own Scottish Borderers.

  • They will combine with the other four Scottish regiments, including the Black Watch, to form a new large regiment, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

  • Mr Hoon said the identities of the regiments would be preserved by including them prominently in the battalion titles of the new regiment.


  • In England, the King's Own Royal Border Regiment will amalgamate with the King's Regiment and the Queen's Lancashire Regiment to form two new battalions within the new King's Lancashire and Border Regiment.

    Royal Scots
    King's Own Scottish Borderers
    King's Own Border
    Queen's Lancashire
    Royal Gloucs, Berks and Wilts
    Devonshire and Dorset

  • One battalion will go from the Prince of Wales's Division through a merger of elements of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, which will then merge with the Light Infantry, while the rest will merge with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

  • The fourth infantry battalion reduction will be found by removing the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment from the infantry structure, and using its manpower as the core of a new, tri-service ranger unit.

  • The Army will not reduce the number of Gurkha or Foot Guards battalions.

  • In addition to these changes, other regiments will also merge to form new larger regiments.

  • The Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales will combine to become the Welsh Regiment.

  • The Staffordshire Regiment, Cheshire Regiment and Worcester and Sherwood Foresters will combine as the Mercian Regiment.


  • The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, The Prince of Wales' Own Regiment and The Green Howards will come together to form The Yorkshire Regiment .

    Royal Regiment of Scotland
    King's Lancashire and Border
    Royal Welsh

  • As part of the wider rebalancing of the mix of light, medium and heavy forces, 19 Mechanised Brigade will re-form to a light brigade from next month. It will be ready to be deployed, if required, in 2006 when it will serve as the contingent Nato response force.

  • The 4 Armoured Brigade, which is currently based in Germany, split between Osnabruck and Munster, will begin to convert to a mechanised brigade in 2006.

  • The manpower freed up by the reduction in battalions will be reallocated to key specialities such as communications, engineers, logisticians and intelligence experts, where there are current shortages.

  • Mr Hoon said the Territorial Army will be more closely integrated with the Army for training and operations. Each of the 14 regular TA infantry battalions will be part of a regular parent regiment.

    Army music

  • There will be a reduction in the Corps of Army Music (CAMUS) by around 280 posts. This will result in the reduction of six Army bands and reduce the size of a seventh.

  • Bands will continue to be identified primarily with regiments and corps and, given the importance of military music to the maintenance of regimental spirit, will continue to be organised on the basis of their primary role - the provision of Army music.

  • Individuals affected by the changes will be provided with the chance to retrain for on new tasks. However the reductions in infantry and bandsmen will require a limited redundancy programme.

  • The Army will continue around its current size. At around 102,000 strong it will continue to require over 11,000 new recruits every year.

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