Government U-turn on Condor future

RM Condor.
RM Condor.

THE ANGUS MP has welcomed a government U-turn which will see the marines of 45 Commando remain at RM Condor.

The announcement that the unit will remain in Arbroath was made in the House of Commons on Tuesday by defence secretary Philip Hammond.

He said that 45 Commando would stay at the base for the “foreseeable future”.

The move is a U-turn for the government who indicated in July 2011 that the marines would leave Condor and move south to join the rest of the marine commando units in England.

This was due to be completed by 2016 at the earliest.

It was then thought that once the marines had left Condor, an army regiment would move in.

But on Tuesday that plan was scrapped as Mr Hammond announced the marines would be staying put, after the government carried out a military bases review.

And Angus MP Mike Weir was delighted Arbroath’s long standing links with 45 Commando would remain.

He said: “Whilst the review as a whole is not good news for Scotland, the news that 45 Commando will remain at RM Condor will be widely welcomed not only in Arbroath but in the wider Angus community.

“The unit has a very long association with the town, both through serving members of the unit and with many former members having remained in the area after leaving the service.

“RM Condor continues to play an important role in the local economy and, although it was previously planned to replace 45 Commando with an army unit, the decision to leave the unit in place will give a degree of continuity for the unit and the town.”

Vice-chairman of the Dundee & Angus branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, Charles Goodall, said: “Today’s announcement is wonderful news not only for Arbroath, but for the whole of Angus.

“RM Condor is an important contributor to the local economy and a significant part of the community. Not only do the marines use local shops and services, but many former marines have settled and established businesses in the area. This is a very welcome announcement at a time when our local economy needs a boost.”

The Marines of 45 Commando have been based at RM Condor since 1971 after taking over the base which was left unoccupied after the Fleet Air Arm moved out.

Over the past 42 years, the community has formed a strong bond with the unit and has offered massive support to them, especially as they have conducted four recent tours of duty in Afghanistan.

In 2003 they were granted the freedom of Arbroath and have paraded through the town centre on many occasions.

Scotland wide, the review states that part of Redford barracks in Edinburgh and Forthside in Stirling will close.

However, returning forces from Germany will be based at RAF Leuchars in Fife.