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Bicester-based Pioneer regiment will be disbanded in autumn
A BICESTER Army regiment axed as part of the defence cuts in 2012 is expected to be formally disbanded in September.
The Army confirmed an official ceremony to mark the disbandment of 23 Pioneer Regiment, part of the Royal Logistic Corps, will take place this autumn.
It will take the form of a farewell parade and include the lowering of the regiment’s flag.
Eighteen months ago the Government announced the regiment would be disbanded as part of restructuring across the Army to reduce troop numbers from 102,000 to 80,000.
The 600-strong, 23 Pioneer Regiment had been based in Bicester in some capacity since 1941.
An Army spokesman said: “The disbandment of 23 Pioneer Regt RLC will be ceremonially marked later this year. It will take the form of a farewell parade centred on the symbolic flag lowering.
“Plans and preparations are currently ongoing and it is too early to give a confirmed date, but the likelihood is for this to take place in September 2014.”
The name will disappear and troops will be either moved into other units or made redundant.
Tasks conducted by 23 Pioneer will be picked up by other units.
Bicester Mayor Melanie Magee said: “It is incredibly sad to lose such a fundamental part of our local community. The regiment has had such a positive impact on the town for many years and the families that we have made friends with will be sorely missed.
“We hope that those who decide to settle in the town following the disbandment, continue to feel an important part of our community.”
Last March Defence Minister Philip Hammond said 1 Close Support Regiment, which is returning from Germany, would move to the barracks by 2016, and 21 Signal Squadron will also be based there from as early as this year.
The 1 Close Support Regiment has about 500 soldiers who serve on the front line, with duties including providing equipment support.
The 241 Signal Squadron is about 100 strong and works with radio transmissions and information gathering.
Around £10m will be invested at the base on new building work and refurbishing technical buildings at the site, the MOD said.
The £70m Bicester town centre redevelopment has been named Pioneer Square to honour 23 Pioneer Regiment.
Last July, Cherwell District Council chairman Lawrie Stratford and the regiment’s commanding officer Lt Col David Clouston officially opened the shopping centre and unveiled a plaque.