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Westminster government to create ‘Union Division’ of the British Army

26 Nov 2021 4 minutes Read
British flag sewn into an army uniform (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dawn M. Weber/Released)

The UK Government has announced a plan to create a “Union Division” of the British Army, as part of a restructure.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons that he wants the restructures military to be “at the heart of the Union”, in what the Daily Mail has described as an “apparent rebuke to Nicola Sturgeon’s separatist drive”.

He said the Tory Westminster government’s reforms were part of the “Future Soldier” project in which the Army will be reorganised as an “expeditionary fighting force” designed to be “deployable and lethal”.

It will be made smaller but will be “more productive”, said Wallace, with no redundancies, but 9000 posts being cut. An “increased proportion of the Army in each of the devolved nations”, Wallace said, with Wales seeing its army footprint in increase from 6.7% to 7.3%.

He announced that the Army will be organised under four administrative divisions of infantry, which will be the Guards and Parachute Division, the Queens Division, the Light Division as well as the Union Division.

Wallace announced that the closure of Cawdor Barracks in Pembrokeshire will be delayed from 2024 until 2028, and that Brecon Barracks would be retained reversing a previous decision to axe it.

‘Increased proportion’ 

Wallace told the Commons: “Mr. Speaker, it will be an army that benefits the whole of our union with an increased proportion of the army based in each of the devolved nations and expenditure contributing to prosperity throughout the United Kingdom under our upcoming land industrial strategy.

“So today I can confirm a major reorganisation under four new administrative divisions of infantry, the Queen’s division, the Union division, the Light division, and the Guards and Parachute division. These divisions are designed to reflect historic ties, while also balancing their number of battalions and unit roles, offering greater flexibility and opportunity for soldiers of all ranks.

“As announced in March these plans do not involve the deletion of any cap badges or further major unit changes or any military redundancies. While we are significantly reducing the total number of army personnel.

“We are not compromising our presence in and contribution to the devolved nations. Our numbers will reduce slightly everywhere except Wales where we are increasing a portion of army based in each nation and investing millions in the defence industry and estate.

“Wales will see the return of the Welsh Calvary Queen’s Dragoon Guards to Caerwent barracks and the new reserved company of Third Battalion the Royal Welsh to be established in north Wales.

“The retention of Brecon barracks and the growth of Wrexham are just part of a 320 million pound investment in the army estate in Wales.

‘Politicising’

The SNP’s defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald criticised the “politicising” of the division names.

“Attempts like this to politicise serving personnel, who choose to go into a career in uniform with a desire to protect, is a sign of how desperate the conservative government has become,” he said.

“Soldiers need a real improvement in terms and conditions, not used for political aims.”

Commenting on this announcement, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Social Justice Mark Isherwood MS said: “This announcement just reinforces the commitment shown by the Conservative Government to our armed forces in Wales. This further commitment will deliver £1 billion of prosperity to Wales, thus helping the nation flourish economically whilst putting our forces at the heart of policymaking.

“This great news coupled alongside the promise of funding for a Veterans Commissioner for Wales means that Wales will play an even more pivotal role in our armed forces going forward.

“Wales has a proud record of supporting our armed forces and I look forward to it improving further thanks to these changes.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
7 months ago

Said every military junta ever. Pathetic desperation. Changing names doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

Andrew Thomas
Andrew Thomas
7 months ago

Panic at the top? Looks very much like it

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

The treasury have asked Boris to recruit some mathematicians to cost the whole thing, they will form The Long Division.

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
7 months ago

Desperation, the more they struggle, the more you wonder if they get even more out of it than we realise.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

The union is a dead state walking.

Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

Ye Gods and little fishes – they’ve lost the plot.
Wonderful to see their desperation.

Cog
Cog
7 months ago

Ahh nice. The Ministry of Peace at it again. What does a Union Division do exactly? Enforce the Union? Pretty scary.

Whatever Wales choses to do next, it needs to prioritise the reversal of this severe militarisation imposed by the English Govt. Don’t ever be fooled by job security nonsense.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Sounds very Hitler youth. Looks like Boris has fingered through a few pages of Mein Kampf.

This is reminiscent of the Nazi SS British Free Corps set up during the WW2.

British soldiers captured were encouraged to join and fight their cause. Ironically only a handful did, all who were English by the way.

Paul Reynolds
7 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Raymond Davies Hughes for one.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul Reynolds

He was Welsh. The authorities seem to have been lenient on Hughes. He could have been hanged, but got five years hard instead. Odd that the Nazis let him broadcast in Welsh – he could have been helping the allies for all they knew! His messages were aimed at Welsh troops, probably advising mutiny. Seems to have done alright for himself after the war. Don’t know of any other Cymry in the Free Corps.

Last edited 7 months ago by Wrexhamian
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
7 months ago

Yeah, sure. And post-Brexit Britain has an oven-ready deal with the EU. Ever the deluded one.

Ximixwene
Ximixwene
7 months ago

Our own little Ernst Rohm and his fascist brownshirts. Bring it on.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago

Let them carry on, it’ll look funny when it represents nothing at all once we’re all independent.

Last edited 7 months ago by Steve Duggan
David
David
7 months ago

Should the Free Wales Army be reinstated?

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
7 months ago
Reply to  David

What would it achieve other than resentment by those hit against. No, I understand the call but we need independence by peaceful means. Build support by dominating the media through marches, banners and posters etc. If necessary ‘salt march’ methods if we’re not listened to.The crunch point, I feel will occur, when the queen dies and the Crown and Westminster tries to impose another prince of Wales upon us.

Fraser Darling
Fraser Darling
7 months ago

One could quite reasonably think that the UK Government are looking to set up the framework for martial law imposed exclusively upon the devolved nations were there to be a “democratic coup”, by way of a referendum which had not been endorsed by the UK Government….

Fraser Darling
Fraser Darling
7 months ago

The English Government (i.e. de facto UK Government), without any consultation with the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish Governments have just announced that the identity of the Scottish regiments, which had previously been watered down, will now be obliterated and replaced with The Union Division.  As a pacifist, I’m as non-military as they come, but this clearly is an affront to the history of the contribution to the British armed forces from the Celtic Nations and an assault on their national identity.  The issue was raised to me by a veteran, with Queens Own Highlanders and then the Highlanders who… Read more »

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
7 months ago
Reply to  Fraser Darling

Need to be careful here not to overstate the situation. I’m broadly in agreement with you, but there is no stated attempt to abolish regiments here – indeed, there is the very telling statement that no cap badges will disappear. One of the reasons the British Army has been so successful has been its ability to establish local units, ‘native troops’ if you will, or even whole armies, such as the British Indian Army. What is being proposed here is a British Division, which at first glance appears to be a rather desperate Brexiteer attempt to mirror the EU Battlegroups,… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
7 months ago

Who do they think they are kidding we in Wales are not even on the union jack flag or the royal standard freedom for Wales

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