THE county’s infantry and tank regiments will both be supplying troops to provide security at the Olympic Games.
The 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, and the Queen’s Royal Hussars (QRH) will be part of a 17,000 Armed Forces contingent keeping the visitors to the London 2012 games safe and secure.
For the QRH it means an increased complement will be heading for the capital, after the security staff numbers fiasco by private security contractor G4S, which just days ago said it would simply be unable to fill a shortfall of 3,500 personnel.
The Government had agreed a £284 million taxpayer-funded security contract with G4S to provide 10,000 security staff.
The Armed Forces have been called to step in and fill that gap, with intense training on X-ray machines and search techniques starting at barracks next week.
Troops will start to be deployed on Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21.
Among those providing extra troops, over and above what the Government had already been planning to provide, were the QRH – currently at barracks in Germany.
They were pencilled in to send 150 troops guarding Horse Guards Parade, which is hosting the beach volleyball tournament – but that complement now effectively doubles to about 300.
The unit has only just returned, as we reported, from a six-month tour of Afghanistan and the men had been looking forward to three weeks’ summer holidays with their nearest and dearest.
QRH troops have been given the weekend on leave.
Lt Harry Mossop, of QRH, said yesterday: “We found out in the last four hours, what the extra requirement was going to be.
“150 guys were always going to go, but now most of the rest of the regiment will be joining them.
“We’ll be back in the UK next Friday, and working until August 18.
“The brigade has just come back off operations, and this does affect our summer holidays with family, but we are where we are and we’ll get the job done.”
2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment were unavailable for comment.
Defence secretary Philip Hammond told the House of Commons on July 12: “All those taking part will receive their full leave entitlement, even if it has to be re-scheduled, and that no-one is out of pocket due to cancelled personal arrangements.”