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Colchester Garrison's future secured in army shake up

The future of Colchester Garrison appears to be secure after it was named one of the seven major army sites in the UK.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that all those based there at the moment will be staying for the foreseeable future.

But there are changes afoot elsewhere - with some new faces coming to Cottesmore in Rutland, while major units will be leaving Swanton Morley in Norfolk and Honington in Suffolk.

Matthew Hudson reports...


Colchester to remain a major garrison

Colchester Garrison will remain as one of the seven major army sites in the UK.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that all those units and regiments based in the Essex town at the moment will be staying for the foreseeable future.

A shake-up of army bases to accommodate a speeded-up return of all troops from Germany will mean the disposal of seven sites across the country.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the changes would save £240 million a year in running costs as soldiers are moved into "clusters" in key locations.

Returning forces will mainly be stationed around Colchester, Salisbury Plain, Edinburgh and Leuchars, Catterick, Aldershot, Stafford and the East Midlands.

Around 11,000 British troops based in Germany will return home by 2016.

Norfolk-based soldier killed in Afghanistan named

Sgt Lee Davidson who was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday. Credit: Ministry of Defence

A Norfolk-based soldier killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb has been named as Sergeant Lee Paul Davidson of The Light Dragoons.

The 32-year-old from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, died on Sunday after his vehicle was hit while patrolling with the Afghan Uniformed Police in the Nahr-e Saraj district.

The Light Dragoons are based at Swanton Morley in Norfolk.

Sgt Davidson leaves a wife, who is expected a baby daughter, and two sons.

Army cadet with hearing of an 80-year-old receives pay-out

A former Army cadet from Suffolk has received £27,500 after being left with the hearing of an 80-year-old following a firing drill.

Storm Rae, 23, had to give up a Sandhurst scholarship after suffering ear damage during an exercise in Norway, her lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, said.

The firm claimed Miss Rae was given insufficient ear protection and suffered permanent and constant tinnitus. Her hearing was described as that of a typical 80-year-old.

The Ministry of Defence did not admit any wrong-doing but has agreed to a £27,500 out-of-court settlement, a statement added.

When I got into Sandhurst I was delighted, it is the peak of Army training and everyone dreams of going there.I was just completely devastated when I found out that I had suffered permanent damage and would no longer be able to go to the academy or even enter the Army at all.

– Storm Rae, former Army Cadet

She is now living in London and training for a job in financial services.


Colchester soldiers win boxing title

Members of the 3 Para boxing team Credit: Ministry of Defence

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment have won the Army’s boxing title for the seventh time in ten years.

They defeated 22 Engineer Regiment 8-1 in the final of the Army Major Units Boxing Championship at Aldershot.

3 PARA has won the competition every time it has entered since 2003. The team was unable to compete in 2006, 2008 or 2011 because of operational commitments in Afghanistan.

Apache Officer wins Queen's Commendation

Major Mike Neville Credit: Ministry of Defence

A Suffolk based Army officer is to receive a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service for his leadership and bravery.

Major Mike Neville, who is 38, was the Officer Commanding 656 Squadron, of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps. He commanded Apache attack helicopter missions over Libya.

Despite the risks Major Neville encouraged his aircrews to attack a well-equipped enemy armed with 20,000 surface-to-air missiles.

The Ministry of Defence says the threat to him and his Wattisham based crew was unprecedented. Senior officers say his actions set the standard throughout the tour.

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