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Army take-up highest in UK

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Army recruitment in the West Midlands and Staffordshire is the highest in the country, despite the axing of the region's 'home' regiment.

Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Stoke, where new soldiers from the area enlist, fill the top three places of the 'league table' of the UK's 134 Army and Forces recruitment offices.

In the last three years 501 people have joined the regular Army through the Wolverhampton office, making it the third most productive in the country.

There have been 670 recruits from the West Midland Army region, which includes Staffordshire, since April, and a target of 1000 is expected to be hit by next April.

Lt Col Jim Turner, Commander of Regional Recruiting in the West Midlands, said: "These results are genuinely impressive.

"More enlisted there than, for example, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle or Glasgow, and the only offices to record better figures were Birmingham and Stoke, both also in our West Midland region."

There had been fears that axing the 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (3Mercian, The Staffords) in plans to cut 20,000 from the strength of the regular Army by 2020, could hit recruitment in the region.

But Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler, commander of regular and TA troops in Staffordshire, West Midlands and four other counties, vowed: "The Mercians have no intention of cutting their links with Staffordshire. It will be a key area of growth for the Army."

The number of Signals soldiers at MoD Stafford is expected to triple to 1800 in the next two years as British troops are moved from German bases to this country. Whittington Barracks, near Lichfield, is to be the centre of defence medicine.

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