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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March 2005, 20:42 GMT
Army relief over saved regiment
The Glosters will still be merged in the defence shake-up
Army chiefs have reacted with relief to the news that an infantry regiment is to be merged, rather than abolished.

On Thursday Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced that a campaign to retain the Royal Gloucs, Berks and Wilts Regiment had led to a rethink.

He said "insufficient weight" had been given "to the sense of identity" built up over the 10 years since formation.

"We are relieved our plight has been acknowledged," said Maj Nigel Walker, acting regimental secretary.

He added: "Our position was recognised and investigated and something has being done about it.

Sense of identity

"We accept that there is change and change has to take place but it will not be a substantial change.

"From the soldiers' perspective, they are not going to be split up and the regiment can stay together and we can take our heritage with us."

Maj Walker said he still hoped there might be a reprieve from amalgamation with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.

On Thursday, 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."

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