He visited Army Reserve Medics from 204 Field Hospital at Hydebank on Saturday morning to observe a study day. They have recently returned from a major exercise in California with US Marines where they exchanged experiences on operational deployments. 204 draws widely from across the health service in Northern Ireland and its personnel have vast experience both on operational tours, including providing the framework for the hospital at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, and within hospitals across the province.
The Minister also attended the Conferment of Freedom of the Borough to B (North Irish Horse) Squadron The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry. This is the first ‘Freedom’ to be granted by the recently formed Mid and East Antrim Council and took place in Carrickfergus to recognise the long connection of North Irish Horse with County Antrim. After the official service the troops marched past a renovated Churchill Tank – designed and built in Northern Ireland and issued to the North Irish Horse in the First World War ahead of their engagements in North Africa and Italy.
There are nearly 2,000 Army Reserve personnel stationed in Northern Ireland, and the region’s Reserves have made a significant contribution to the Armed Forces’ work to keep Britain safe at home and abroad.
Reserves have been extremely active in supporting duties in Cyprus and Kenya. At the height of the Army’s operational activity in Afghanistan the Northern Ireland Reserves – although then only representing some 4% of overall UK Reserve personnel – were able to deploy more than 20% of Reserve strength. It was also Army Reservists from Northern Ireland’s 2R Irish who were first to deploy to Ukraine to establish the UK’s short-term training.
Minister for Reserves Julian Brazier said:
“Northern Ireland’s Reserves are an integral part of the UK Armed Forces. They deliver many different capabilities at home and abroad and have undertaken operational deployments in countries like Afghanistan and Ukraine. Such opportunities highlight the diversity of exciting roles in the Reserves and the breadth of skills that Reservists can develop.”