Territorial Army in West Midlands seeks to boost force numbers

TA training exercise West Midlands TA medical personnel have been taking part in Nato training exercises in Germany

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About 900 reserve forces need to be recruited in the West Midlands next year, the Territorial Army has said.

About £1.5bn is being invested in the TA nationally over the next 10 years as the regular army faces cuts of almost 20,000 troops by 2020.

Some 2,000 people in the West Midlands are part of the TA, which is aiming to recruit 450 personnel in a range of areas by April.

That is figure is expected to double in the next financial year.

Lt Col Jim Turner said some 900 reserve personnel were believed to be needed from the region each year, in the long term, as the TA is expected to take on an increasing number of duties currently performed by regular forces.

The commander of regional recruiting said TA troops worked in a "huge array" of different roles.

He said TA forces in the West Midlands were expected to grow to at least 3,000 over the next few years.

Despite the state of the economy since 2008, he said TA recruitment had seen little change in terms of take-up or drop-out rates.

'Vital component'

Lt Col Turner said that while the economy had put pressure on some people to leave the army to focus on their main jobs or seek employment elsewhere, others valued the pay and skills offered by the TA even more.

More than 80 medical reservists from the West Midlands have been taking part in what is thought to be the largest training exercise of its kind in the last 10 years.

Birmingham-based 202 Midlands Field Hospital is one of dozens of units involved in the joint exercises in Germany, alongside German and American troops.

Its commanding officer Col Glynn Evans said personnel were learning to deploy as part of a Nato force.

He said: "We are all aiming at delivering medical care, but we all do it in ever-so-slightly different ways."

He said TA servicemen and women were a "vital component to the deployment of military medical services".

"There are certain niche capabilities that we have with the Territorial Army that the regular army will draw upon when they feel the need," he added.

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