This is from a letter written by the commanding officer of 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Leigh Tingey:
MANY of you will be aware that last week the Secretary of State announced to Parliament the proposed restructuring of the Army under a review termed Army 2020.
For those of you who followed the announcement a little more closely you will be aware that 24 Commando Engineer Regiment based in Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor is one of the Army units that is to be disbanded.
As the Commanding Officer of the Regiment I would like to clarify a few points in relation to this announcement so that our many friends and supporters across our adopted home of North Devon are fully aware of our planned future.
Unfortunately 24 Commando Engineer Regiment as it stands today will be disbanded; but we are not going away entirely.
The Regiment will reduce in size from its current structure to an Independent Squadron, resurrecting the name of 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers which many of you may remember having relocated from Plymouth to Chivenor in 1995.
In reality this means the Regiment will draw down from around 380 personnel today to approximately 270 by the summer of 2014.
This reduction will not occur overnight and there is much work to be done to ensure that 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers is structured correctly to continue providing support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.
It is unlikely that there will be any significant movement of personnel before the spring of 2013, although I concede that somewhat inevitably some personnel may relocate before this to enable the Army to manage the drawdown intelligently.
It is also important to note that members of the Regiment will not be asked to leave the Royal Engineers as a result of this reduction in size.
They will simply be reassigned and take up positions within other parts of the Corps and Army around the UK.
This will be a particularly difficult time for the Regiment, its soldiers and their families – all of whom are now intertwined with communities across North Devon.
Many of our soldiers' children attend local schools, many of the husbands and wives hold jobs in the local area and many now own homes in North Devon too.
As always with such things there is an inherent element of uncertainty as to what this will mean for a number of our soldiers and their families and I would ask you to support them, as you have always done, during this difficult transition.
The soldiers and families of this Regiment have always been proud to call North Devon their home. I am extremely pleased that Commando Sappers will remain in Chivenor into the foreseeable future.
I have no doubt that they will continue to enjoy support from across the local communities. United We Conquer!