The Royal Navy's return to Glasgow after an absence of 20 years has been celebrated at HMS Dalriada.
HMS Dalriada is a Royal Naval Reserve unit which recently relocated to the city following a £1 million investment to provide modern training facilities and support to the ship’s company of 75 naval reservists who live and work in the west of Scotland.
Lord Astor, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and the Lords Spokesman on Defence, was the guest of honour, and before unveiling a commemorative plaque he spoke of the importance of the Armed Forces Reserves.
Lord Astor said:
I am delighted to take part in the rededication of HMS Dalriada following the move here to Govan. The shipyards here make vital contributions to UK shipbuilding, including the construction of platforms that will become the backbone of the future Royal Navy. This contribution reinforces in my mind the importance of Scottish industry to our Armed Forces, and the importance of our Armed Forces to Scottish industry.
Our forces are among the best equipped in the world and are backed by a £34 billion defence budget, which helps to sustain thousands of skilled jobs in the defence industry right here in Glasgow and throughout the whole of Scotland.
Lord Astor thanked all the reservists for their commitment:
The UK is safer because of the contributions of units like Glasgow’s Royal Naval Reserve, working as part of an integrated UK Armed Forces. The expertise that reservists bring from the civilian world, in fields like logistics and administration, benefit the whole of the Royal Navy - wherever it is based and wherever it operates.
HMS Dalriada here in Govan is a vital part of our Armed Forces, just as all of our Reserve Forces are vital. Reservists have made an essential contribution to our national security and will continue to do so in the future.
Lord Astor also acknowledged that achieving full integration between Regulars and Reserves will be challenging, but he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to deliver the Future Force 2020 programme:
The government has committed £1.8 billion of investment in the Reserve Forces over the next 10 years and we are working hard to ensure employers understand the benefits of employing reservists. We want to ensure that our Reserves, their families and employers are properly supported as opportunities for mobilised service become more frequent.
We know this will not be straightforward, but the relocation of HMS Dalriada to Glasgow is a great example of what can be achieved when we all work together.
The forthcoming Reserves White Paper is underpinned by extensive consultation with employers, stakeholders and, crucially, reservists themselves. It will lay out in detail MOD’s plans for the future Reserve Forces, including a list of their potential tasks: homeland security, national resilience, support to short-term and long-term operations, defence engagement, capacity-building and conflict prevention.
Recruiting campaigns and heightened media interest have already seen a rise in the numbers of those expressing an interest in becoming reservists and all 3 Services continue to look for motivated people and those with specialist skills like doctors, nurses and divers.
HMS Dalriada is currently recruiting and offers valuable leadership and management training, civilian-recognised first aid and driving qualifications and unparalleled opportunities for sport and travel.