The Mirror, 19/08/2005, p19
By SHAUN MILNE
SCOTLAND’S most senior soldier has savaged critics of the nation’s new Royal Regiment.
Major General Euan Loudon accused those among the anti-change brigade of undermining troop morale.
In an unprecedented move Maj-Gen Loudon, Colonel Commandant of the Scottish Division, also claimed campaigners were guilty of spreading lies to scupper re-organisation.
He agreed some retired soldiers remained “resistant” to changes among the make up of the rank and file.
But he blasted ill-informed critics who say the shake-up spells an end for Scotland’s proud soldiering history.
Writing exclusively for the Scottish Mirror, Loudon hit out at Jeff Duncan and his Save the Regiments campaign over its claims the new cap badge had hit troop numbers. He said: “It’s ridiculous.
“Sniping from the sidelines in a manner which dispirits the serving community is deeply unhelpful and it should stop.”
His remarks come 24 hours after Mr Duncan claimed a “general consensus of great dislike” for the new-look division existed.
But military sources question just how Mr Duncan, who has never served in the Army, had the authority to make such damaging remarks on behalf of troops.
One source said last night: “How exactly he managed to get round our troops within an hour of the new-look cap badge to come up with these remarks will remain one of life’s great mysteries.
“And why someone who has never even served in the British Army feels he has the right to make such ill-informed comments like this is for others to judge.
“He has made a name for himself politically through this campaign but others must ask who’s best interests he is serving.
“His own, or those of the brave men and women in the forces.”
Calling for Scots to rally around our troops, Loudon offered an olive branch to those with genuine concerns.
He said: “We understand their feelings. But what we need now is the support of the wider military community.”
Army chiefs in Scotland are determined its troops will be regarded as the best division in the whole of the UK.
The Mirror can reveal that, as part of the re-organisations, Army chiefs are planning their biggest ever offensive on the recruiting front in Scotland.
A crack new group called the Royal Regiment Recruitment Team is being formed to supplement existing recruiting staff at the 51 Brigade in Stirling.
It will be allowed to spend more than £1/4 million on a sensational “shock and awe” advertising blitz being drawn up to capitalise on the modernised force.
They will target traditional Army recruiting areas in Scotland to swell the ranks, over and above a UK-wide drive.
That, it is hoped, will send a clear signal of the Army’s intent to build bridges within those military communities.
The advertising campaign itself going across TV, radio and Press will be outsourced to Edinburgh firm Talented.
It will be the first time they have advertised only for the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
And they revealed potential recruits WILL still be able join their local battalion contained within the Royal Regiment.
The changes mean the way Scots soldiers are deployed to hot spots will be changed.
Amalgamating numbers should – in theory – make it easier to move battle-groups from one crisis to another.
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