Hampshire called to celebrate the dedication of the county’s military reservists

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THE efforts of the area’s part-time sailors, soldiers and airmen are today being celebrated.

Reserves Day 2016 is due to kick off this morning.

The nationwide event, similar to June’s Armed Forces Day, is a chance to celebrate the area’s reservists.

Portsmouth is packed with reserve hubs, from the navy’s HMS King Alfred base at Whale Island to 295 Battery of 106 (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, based at the Army Reserves Centre in Peronne Road, Hilsea.

There are also reserve battalions for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and for the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment in the area.

The celebration was officially launched by defence secretary Michael Fallon.

The former minister of Portsmouth has now called on people to show their support for the nation’s part-time servicemen and women.

He said: ‘We owe our reservists – and their families and employers – a debt of gratitude.

‘In the last 15 years almost 35,000 have served on operations, making an immense contribution.

‘In a darker and more dangerous world, they give us the cutting edge, the specialist skills and the ability to swiftly adapt to new and emerging threats.’

Many reservists balance their military life with their civilian jobs.

They range from engineers and nurses, to taxi drivers, builders and students.

Major Ash Morrell is the battery commander of 295 and leads dozens of reserves based at the Hilsea headquarters.

He said: ‘It’s a job that’s truly like no other. You will get the chance to operate some of the coolest kit around and have the chance to train in other countries.’

Councillor Frank Jonas, is Portsmouth City Council’s armed forces champion.

He said: ‘Reservists play a vital role within our armed forces that can sometimes go unrecognised.

‘These are individuals who balance a normal civilian life alongside a military career and often provide extra capacity in specialist areas when serving as part of the military.

‘It is great that we have a dedicated day to raise awareness of the fantastic work they do.’