Army HQ closes at Copthorne Barracks

The 5th Division flag is folded as Brigadier Mark Banham, the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, and Brigadier David Short, Chief of Staff Support Command, salute.
Image caption The flag of the 5th Division was folded as part of the ceremony marking the move

The Army's divisional headquarters at Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury has officially closed.

The Army's 5th Division is among three regional headquarters closing to save money under the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

The work of the three will move to a central HQ in Aldershot, Hampshire, with the loss of about 440 civilian jobs, including 63 in Shrewsbury.

Copthorne Barracks will remain the base for 143 (West Midlands) Brigade.

The MoD said the 5th Division's disbandment had meant some staff leaving on voluntary terms, while others placed in the "redeployment pool" may be found jobs with the MoD or other government departments.

'No closure'

A ceremony was held at the Shrewsbury barracks on 29 March to mark the disbandment of the division.

Brigadier Mark Banham, Commander of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, said the modern day 5th Division was established in 1995 but its roots dated back to 1811.

"I would like to pay tribute and give my thanks to the generations of people, both military and civilian, who spent their careers here at 5th Division, their contribution lives on in its memory," he said.

He added that he wanted people to understand "that just because the division is disbanding as a result of changes to the structure of the Army, Copthorne Barracks and 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, are very much open for business".

There were currently no plans to close Copthorne Barracks, Brig Banham said.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, said in December that the Aldershot move would mean 440 job losses among civilian staff.

However, he said 104 civilian jobs would be created at Aldershot's new Support Command HQ.

About 42,000 MoD civilian and armed forces jobs are to be cut by 2015 as defence spending falls by 8% over four years.

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