A new Army Reserve Centre has officially opened on the Isle of Man, making it the first military unit on the island for almost 50 years.
The Army launched a recruitment initiative on the island in May, with the help of employers and the Manx government. More than 30 new recruits took part in their first parade during a flag-raising ceremony at the end of September.
Recruiting more Reservists is seen as a key part of the government’s defence budget strategy and the Reserves have been seeing more than just raw recruits swelling their ranks. In September, we reported how 1 in 14 regular ex-Forces personnel who had been made redundant in the cuts had signed on as Reservists.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said at the time: “It is gratifying to see that so many Regular personnel wish to continue to serve their country by bringing their valuable experience to the Reserve Forces.
“Reservists are an integral part of the agile and flexible force we need to counter the wide range of threats we face, and we continue to see a strengthening trend in Reserve recruiting, with nearly 8000 recruited in the past year.”
Brigadier Christopher Coles, the Commander of the Army’s 42nd Infantry Brigade and HQ North West, attended the ceremony at the Centre in Douglas, the island’s capital.
He said: “There’s a strong tradition of military service on the Isle of Man. With the expansion of our Reserve forces I feel we’ve got a duty to come here and show people what we do, and the early evidence is there are lots of people here who are willing to serve.
“The people I’ve met so far are very clear about what they’re signing up to and they each bring that classic ingredient of a Reservist: wider experience.”