Dave signs up for fight to save battalion

Cllr Dave Herne
Cllr Dave Herne

A FORMER soldier from Morpeth is helping the campaign to save a battalion with strong historic links to Northumberland from being axed.

Dave Herne was a member of the Third Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 1984 and 1989 and then its TA Battalion until 1997.

He served in Cyprus to help keep the peace between the Turks and Greeks and other postings included Germany, USA, Canada, Ireland and Gibraltar.

In July, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that it would reduce the number of regular soldiers from 100,000 to 80,000 by the year 2020.

One of the units earmarked to be disbanded is the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers’ Second Battalion. Its 600 personnel now face being laid off or redeployed to other regiments.

Coun Herne, who is now a bus driver and Morpeth Town councillor, has been raising awareness of the issue across Northumberland and the fight to keep the battalion in place – which includes an epetition to the Government.

“When I left the Third Battalion I thought that was going to be it, but within six months I joined the TA section because I missed the comradeship,” he said.

“It’s a very close-knit unit and we have a saying – once a Fusilier, always a Fusilier. We keep in touch via Facebook and I recently attended a 20-year reunion at St George’s Barracks in Newcastle. The Third Battalion has already gone and it would be a big shame if the Second Battalion was axed as well.

“I appeal to the residents of Morpeth and Northumberland to back the campaign and sign the epetition.”

The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was formed in 1968 by the amalgamation of several regiments including the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and it has close ties with the county.

Its soldiers marched through Morpeth to receive the Freedom of Northumberland in April 2010.

A protest march to the Houses of Parliament by people across the country who are against the proposed axing will take place next Thursday, October 18.

To sign the epetition, go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35724