Soldiers set sights on move to county base

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SOLDIERS who will be moving into RAF Cottesmore next summer say they are looking forward to living in the county.

Troops from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as The Poachers, will move into RAF Cottesmore from Cyprus next summer.

Among those moving to the base next summer is Pte Robert Halliday-Pegg, 20, who is from Ryhall.

He said: “After hearing that we will be based in Rutland, I’m really looking forward to being so close to my friends and family, who I will see more often.”

Pte Luke Burt, 21, who is from Exton, said he was looking forward to being close to his family.

He said: “My village is only 4 miles away from Cottesmore so it will interesting to work so close to where my family live. I will visit them every chance I get.”

Pte Tom Ward, 19, of Rothley in Leicestershire, said the first thing he would do when he returned was buy a season ticket for Leicester City Football Club.

He said: “This is outstanding news for me.”

Pte Chris Oliver, 20, who is from Northampton, said: “Even though I’ve only been in Cyprus a few weeks, it has been a terrific experience for me.

“I’m looking forward to the move back to the UK and will make the most of Cyprus before I go.”

They will be among more than 600 soldiers and 180 families from Cyprus, who will arrive in the county. The Battalion will return from Dhekelia in Cyprus, where they are stationed performing security duties.

The soldiers of the Battalion have not been permanently based in the UK since 2007 when they departed to Celle, northern Germany, followed by a second move to Cyprus in 2009.

The Battalion has a strong bond with Rutland with one of the companies named C Northampton and Rutland Company.

Commanding officer of the battalion Lt Col Nigel Johnson said: “This is the best news for the soldiers and their families.

“Everyone has had a terrific time in Germany and Cyprus but now it is time for the Battalion to come back home.”

The Ministry of Defence has also confirmed that 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps, from Bielefeld in Germany, will join them in summer 2013, taking the number of families at the base to more than 1,000.

Preparations are underway to turn the RAF Cottesmore base, currently a satellite of RAF Wittering, into the army base.

It is not yet known what the base will be called.