The behind-the-scenes story of the town of Wootton Bassett, whose tributes to fallen soldiers have earned the community the first royal title awarded in over 100 years. Looks at the repatriation of a fallen soldier from the Afghanistan War.
The barracks were established, on the site of the former RAF Bassingbourn airfield, in January 1970, as the new Depot for the Queen’s Division. The depot was responsible for training recruits undergoing their 19-week basic training before joining a regular battalion; in 1993 the Barracks were re-designated the home of the “Army Training Regiment, Bassingbourn” and remained as such for nearly 20 years. Bassingbourn Barracks closed as an army training location in August 2012.
Army 2020 is the Army’s response to the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), published by the Government in October 2010, which laid out the commitments expected of the UK Armed Forces.
A study, completed in July 2012, developed from first principles a proposition for delivering required levels of military capability within given manpower constraints and taking account of other changes such as the return of Army from Germany to the UK. The outcome is a design for the future British Army that will be more adaptable and flexible to undertake a broader range of military tasks at home and overseas.
The integrated Army
This future Army will, for the first time, fully integrate Regulars and Reserves within a whole force, consisting of some 82,000 Regular personnel and 30,000 trained Reserves – i.e. an integrated Army of around 112,000.
Reserves will be used routinely, rather than in extreme circumstances, for defined tasks including providing troops for lengthy stabilisation operations and Defence Engagement overseas.
The Future Structure
The future Army will be made up of a Reaction Force and an Adaptable Force, supported by Force Troops:
- Reaction Force. The Reaction Force will provide a force that will undertake short notice contingency tasks and provide the Army’s conventional deterrence for Defence. It will be trained and equipped to undertake the full spectrum of intervention tasks and will provide the initial basis for any future lengthy operation.
- Adaptable Force. The Adaptable Force will be used for a wide range of tasks, including providing headquarters and units for lengthy operations, standing commitments (e.g. Cyprus and the Falkland Islands), overseas Defence Engagement (working with partner nations) and UK civil engagement.
- Force Troops. Supporting the Reaction Force and Adaptable Force will be specialist Force Troops, which will provide a wide range of capabilities from a centralised pool of Regular and Reserve resources, such as artillery, logistics, military intelligence and signals.
Transition to Army 2020 Structures
The main changes at Divisional, Brigade and Unit level will occur largely within the mid-2014 to mid-2015 window. Unit moves back from Germany will take place over the course of this decade, dictated partly by when accommodation in the UK is ready for occupation.
Glasshouse, or The Glasshouse, was historically the term for a military prison in the British Army, although the expression is now seldom used within the military itself. The first military prisons were established in 1844. The term Glasshouse originated at the military prison at Aldershot, which had a glazed roof. Over time, the sobriquet came to be applied to all British Army prisons. This prison, called the Detention Barracks, had begun as several barracks in 1856, before being replaced by a single, large building, modelled on civilian prisons, in 1870. This building was destroyed by fire in a riot of 1946.
Glasshouses gained a reputation for brutality, as depicted in Allan Campbell McLean’s novel, The Glass House, and the Sean Connery film, The Hill. Today, the British Army has only one remaining prison, the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester. It has a special unit for convicts who are being transferred to HM Prison Service to serve their sentences, which is for anyone serving a sentence over three months.
The Glasshouse at Colchester has been described in the ITV Anglia TV-documentary series and Red Cap starring John Thaw.