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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 15:17 GMT
Army unit is saved from break-up
The Glosters will still be merged in the defence shake-up
An infantry regiment has been saved from closure following a rethink, the Defence Secretary has announced.

Geoff Hoon said a campaign to retain the Royal Gloucs, Berks and Wilts Regiment (RGBW) had led to a rethink.

Army Chiefs had agreed they gave "insufficient weight to the sense of identity" built up over the 10 years since it was formed, he said.

The regiment will now be merged with another unit to cut the battalions in The Prince of Wales's Division by one.

But it will not now face being the only regiment split up in the national reorganisation.

Sense of identity

In a written statement, Mr Hoon said: "Following my announcement there was a widespread perception that the plan to split the RGBW along the lines of its antecedent parts amounted to the disbandment of the RGBW and the abandonment of its own heritage.

"In view of this I asked the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB) to review its original recommendation.

"In the process of this review, ECAB noted that in formulating its original recommendation it had given insufficient weight to the sense of identity that has evolved during the 10 years since the RGBW was created."

Army chiefs had decided that although the regiment should still be involved in a merger "more could be done to preserve the identity of and heritage of the RGBW itself".

Mr Hoon said he had accepted its new plan to merge the regiment with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment to create the 1st Battalion The Light Infantry.

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