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1200 infantry face axe in TA cutbacks.

More than half of Scotland's 2000 Territorial Army infantry soldiers are facing redundancy, it emerged last night.

Leaked documents from the Ministry of Defence indicate almost half of the TA's 64 Scottish infantry bases are earmarked for closure under cutback plans.

That will mean 1200 part-time soldiers being axed. The five Scots TA infantry battalions - the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Black Watch, the Highlanders, the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the Lowland Volunteers - will be merged to become the Scottish TA.

This reorganised force would consist of one single unit of about 800 soldiers for the whole country or two smaller units, one Highland and one Lowland, with about 400 personnel each.

Ancient regimental names will go but the TA soldiers who remain will be allowed to wear their old cap badges.

A new command structure will probably be based in Perth.

Only the Parachute Regiment and the SAS will retain their regimental links and names.

One senior Army source said the Territorials were "sickened".

He added: "There is a great deal of bitterness within the ranks, a feeling of being let down. This is being done on the premise that the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is no longer a threat, and that in the future there will be a 10-year warning of war.

"This is nonsense. There was no such warning with the Gulf War or with the Falklands."

The source added: "The TA gives young men and women, many of whom are unemployed, a chance to train and to do something useful for their community.

"When these cuts go through, many of these excellent people will be forced to switch to State benefits."

"The Government's approach has been very simplistic indeed."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 12, 1998
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