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VIDEO: Cornish Army Reserves Face Enemy Fire
8:08pm 1st May 2014
(Updated 8:08pm 1st May 2014)
The next Cornish soldier to fight on the frontline could be a car mechanic or an IT consultant.
Pirate FM is the only radio station from the Duchy to spend the week with almost a hundred south-west reserves who are training in Cyprus.
The special operation, Exercise LION STAR, is part of government plans to get more reservists working alongside regular troops.
6 Rifles, which have a unit in Truro, are integrated with their sister station, 1 Rifles, and are preparing for future active combat.
The unit is currently around 85% manned and its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Neville Holmes, has told Pirate FM that another 40 are interested in joining.
The Truro unit is home to D-Company and, under current government proposals, will close in 2016 which means recruits will have to travel to Plymouth or north Devon.
Lieutenant Colonel Holmes says he would be supportive of a change of heart from ministers: "I've always been a firm believer in Cornwall being a really strong regimental patch and we can go back to the Light Infantry in Cornwall and the Rifles clearly have a strong lineage with the county and we're very proud of that.
"To my mind, there is a real appetite both throughout the south-west, especially in Cornwall, to serve and therefore I would want to give as many people the opportunity to do that as possible.
"Cornwall has really good, both regular and reserve, recruiting potential and I would be keen to see that extended. As the current statement has it, Truro will close in December 16, but if there were to be a change of heart then I would be supportive."
Five things you did not know about 6th Battalion The Rifles:
- 6 Rifles comprise 520 part-time soldiers from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Shropshire
- The Rifle Volunteers were formed by the amalgamation of the 6th Battalion, The Light Infantry (based in Cornwall), 4th Battalion, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (The 1st Rifle Volunteers) and elements of the 2nd (V) Battalion, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment,which then became 6th Battalion The Rifles in 2007
- Since operations started in Afghanistan in 2003, the Battalion has had people deployed in Helmand
- The Rifles spell Serjeant with a J which dates back to their involvement with the Napoleonic wars
- The Rifles march at 140 paces per minute which is 20 paces per minute quicker than heavy infantry
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