Vigils in protest of defence cuts

Peace vigils are to be held across the UK today in protest of planned defence cuts.

Earlier this month Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced major defence restructuring plans that will see the Army lose 17 units.

Ex-servicemen: Army cuts will 'devastate morale'

Families of serving and fallen soldiers, along with ex-servicemen and women, held small-scale demonstrations today across the country against proposed Government cuts to the Army.

They explained their opposition to the plans to merge regiments:

The Government is planning to cut 30,000 troops by 2020 and, being an ex-serviceman myself, I feel it is unnecessary as currently there are more people leaving than joining up, so if we take into account natural wastage we would get the same result without disbanding regiments.

We know there are wars in Afghanistan and problems in Iraq and Syria and we never know when we are going to be called to a conflict.

– Stephen Martin, 57, who served in the Royal Artillery Corps

These cuts will have a devastating effect on the morale of the troops. Not just the cuts but the way the troops are being treated. They are being treated as a stop-gap measure for this Government, for anything they got wrong.

Plus, you've got civilian people being brought in, for instance for the Olympic Games, being given tremendous bonuses and extra pay and there's the poor troops being brought in and put down on cots in warehouses and still expected to do the same job.

– Neil McKinnon, who was a corporal from 1964 to 1976

Former soldiers and families hold silent protest at army cuts

Demonstrations are being held across the country today over the Government's plans to cut the size of the army.

In Manchester, families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan joined ex-servicemen and women in a protest at the city's cenotaph, as ITV Granada reported.

Families and former servicemen at the Manchester cenotaph
Families and former servicemen and women at the Manchester cenotaph. Credit: Elaine Willcox

Ex-servicemen and families of soldiers also gathered in Leicester to pay their respect to the dead and protest the Government's plan to merge regiments, as ITV Central reported.

A wreath was laid at the war memorial in Victoria Park in Leicester.
A wreath was laid at the war memorial in Victoria Park in Leicester. Credit: ITV Central
An ex-serviceman pays his respect in Leicester.
An ex-serviceman pays his respect. Credit: ITV Central

Similar vigils, which are being organised by a Facebook group, were being held in Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and at the Cenotaph in central London.

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Vigils to be held across UK in protest of defence cuts

Peace vigils are to be held across the UK today in protest of planned defence cuts.

Earlier this month Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced major defence restructuring plans that will see the Army lose 17 units.

Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, during a homecoming parade following a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh, during a homecoming parade following a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Credit: Press Association.

Vigils, which are being organised by a Facebook group, will take place at cities, including Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Southampton and at the Cenotaph in central London.