Pioneers named in latest call-up

Bicester Remembrance parade.23 Pioneer Regiment.'121111M-C254
Bicester Remembrance parade.23 Pioneer Regiment.'121111M-C254

Elements of Bicester’s 23 Pioneer Regiment will be deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick 18, it was announced today.

The next changeover of UK forces in Afghanistan is due to take place in April.

The deployment announcement comes weeks after a third round of redundancies was announced by the MoD.

The first 70 job losses at 23 Pioneer Regiment were announced in October last year, and around 400 regiment members could be made redundant by next year, when the regiment will disband.

Soldiers who are preparing for combat, on combat operations or recovering from combat operations will be exempt from redundancy, the MoD has said.

Soldiers who are recovering from serious injuries sustained on operations will also be exempt on the day redundancy notices are issued.

Up to 5,300 soldiers around the country are due to lose their jobs in the latest round of redundancies.

News of 23 Pioneer Regiment’s deployment comes two weeks after an inquest into the deaths of regiment members Corporal Andrew Roberts, 32, and Private Ratu Silibaravi, 31.

Both were killed when their base came under mortar fire in the Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand Province, in May last year.

Around half the units sent to Afghanistan in next month’s deployment will form Task Force Helmand under the command of the 1st Mechanised Brigade.

The rest will deploy within Helmand Province and to other locations in Afghanistan, particularly Kandahar and Kabul. Plans for the future of St David’s Barracks at Graven Hill are due to be announced in the spring.