JimenaPulse

About Jimena de la Frontera, the province of Cadiz and Spain as a whole, focused on this small village in the mountains

MoD bans Gib Regiment from Afghanistan

Exercise Jebel Sahara 2008(Daily Express, by Kirsty Buchanan) Bureaucrats have banned an ­infantry regiment from fighting in ­Afghanistan amid fears its soldiers would not be ­insured against injury. Despite a desperate need for more boots on the ground, the Ministry of Defence says the Royal Gibraltar ­Regiment must stay at home.>

The move was last night branded “inexplicable” by Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded British forces in Afghanistan in 2003 and praised the Gibraltarians’ previous work there.

The highly decorated regiment is made up of men and women born in Gibraltar.

Its soldiers have served in Iraq as well as Afghanistan but six months ago the MoD barred it from ­further deployments to Afghanistan.

It is understood the move was prompted by concerns that soldiers wounded during operations would not be covered by the Armed Forces ­Compensation Scheme because they are not British-born.

Colonel Kemp said: “Frankly I find this ruling inexplicable since they provided such valuable service in the past and not only in Afghanistan. When I served in Bosnia my second in command was a captain from the Royal Gibraltar ­Regiment. Excellent chap.

“In my book, Attack State Red, I give an account of how excellently they acquit themselves along with their ­partners from the Royal Anglian ­Regiment.”

The Tories are now calling for a re-think to allow the men and women of the Rock to do their bit in Afghanistan. Shadow defence minister Gerald Howarth said: “General Dannatt [the former Army head] made it absolutely clear that more boots are needed on the ground and he was not prescriptive about whose boots they should be.

“Here we have a loyal ­regiment of the Crown who want to do their bit, and bureaucracy shouldn’t stand in the way of bravery.”

The call comes as Britain’s new Army chief, General Sir David Richards, insisted failure was not an option in Afghanistan.

However, the Nato alliance against Taliban insurgents has been strained by the failure of many US and British allies to supply more soldiers.

The Gibraltar Regiment was ­conferred the honour of adding Royal to its title by the Queen in 1999, 60 years after its formation. It consists of a ­headquarter company and three rifle companies manned by both regular and Territorial Army soldiers.

Its soldiers have also seen service in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Kosovo.

The regiment came to national prominence during its previous deployment in Afghanistan in 2004 when a senior officer won one of the highest medals for bravery.

Major Colin Risso, 35, received a ­Military Cross for “outstanding courage, decisiveness under fire and leadership” after helping to fight off rebels who attacked a US convoy.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The primary role of the Royal Gibraltar regiment is to defend Gibraltar. However, the willingness of these soldiers to deploy to Afghanistan is commendable. We are aware of an issue with their compensation scheme and we are looking to resolve this.”

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5 Comments»

  Yvonne wrote @

My son is in the Royal Gibraltar Regiment and he is British born. The MOD really do not seem to know who works for them if they say all are Gibraltar born as I believe of the intake ( 7 of them ) when my son joined not one was born in Gibraltar.

  Monty wrote @

Additionally, the quote that emerged ‘British born’ is equally offensive, as both Gibraltar and the UK are both British!

Also, there is a wider issue here, I believe certain commonwealth nationals are free to join UK based regiments of the British army. This would suggest that they likewise are not covered.

Finally, I’d be amazed if people who adopt British Citizenship and serve in the armed forces are not covered, and since British citizenship is exactly what Gibraltarians have it is even more confusing – Gibraltarians are full British Citizens, just like all other full British Citizens in the UK and Isle of Man + Channel Islands etc.

  Willia Marshall wrote @

It is long past time that we got rid of the civilian decision makers and civil Service time wasters from the MOD. The British MOD has now become a laughing stock to the general british public and the world at large. It is time that the government woke up and put the MOD back into the hands of serving military personnel.

  Yvonne wrote @

Sorry no offence was meant, perhaps I should have said he was born in England, as the original text appeared to imply only those born in Gibraltar were in the Gibraltar regiment.

  Monty wrote @

Yvonne – it wasn’t your quote I was particular bothered by, but the one in the Express newspaper (I think it was the express that this article appeared in).

Although, yes in your case either UK born (or England born – if applicable) would be the correct distinction.

The main point I was making was that Gibraltarians are ‘full British citizens’, just like their UK counter parts (both Gibraltar and UK are both British).

—-

However, I think the original newspaper article may be wrong.

I think the problem has nothing to do with where people are born at all, but rather whether they are part of the Gibraltar regiment or another (UK based) regiment of the British army – i.e. where they are employed.

The Gibraltar Regiment is on a different set of terms and conditions to all other regiments – while the fact that they are slightly less well paid* is of note, even if all terms and conditions including pay were to be exactly the same they would technically still be on ‘different’ terms and conditions because they are legally within a wholly separate national legal jurisdiction – Gibraltar rather than the combined UK jurisdictions.

Therefore, I expect any lack of cover under the new compensation scheme would actually apply to all members of the RGR – including your son – regardless of where they are born. I think the newspaper might have introduced that due to ignorance / lack of understanding.

[* they receive comparable pay while secondment to work with other regiments in Afghanistan etc – which they do voluntarily.]


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