Fears for future of Hampshire’s soldiers

Have your say

HAMPSHIRE’S army regiment could face deep cuts, with the loss of one battalion which recently came home from the war in Afghanistan.

The News understands the 500-strong First Battalion of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – which returned from Helmand in April – may be axed entirely as the MoD lays out plans to reduce the army to 82,000 soldiers on Thursday.

The regiment’s other two battalions could be merged with the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in a so-called ‘super regiment’ based in the East of England.

It’s feared this will be the end for the regiment’s centuries-old Tigers nickname because it would be too far removed from its proud Hampshire roots.

The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) – named after Princess Diana – was formed in 1992 as an amalgamation of The Queen’s Regiment and The Royal Hampshire Regiment, known as the Hampshire Tigers since 1826.

PWRR took on The Tigers nickname and is the regiment for Hampshire as well as the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Middlesex and the Channel Islands.

The Ministry of Defence would not comment on the detail’s of Thursday’s announcement, which will leave the army at its smallest size since the Napoleonic Wars.

An MoD spokesman said: ‘These are necessary changes due to the decisions which had to be made to tackle the multi-billion pound defence deficit inherited from the last government.’