24 Commando Engineer Regiment could be withdrawn from service as early as April next year, it has been announced.

THE Chivenor-based 24 Commando Engineer Regiment is to be disbanded in the latest round of defence cuts, the government announced today (Thursday).

Defence secretary Philip Hammond MP revealed the news as he told the House of Commons how the Army would be cutting 20,000 service personnel by 2020.

Detailing cuts and mergers to a number of major units across the Armed forces, Mr Hammond said 24 the regiment could be removed as early as April of next year.

The Ministry of Defence has said when units are withdrawn, personnel will be reassigned to other units, where possible within the same regiment or corps.

It leaves RMB Chivenor occupied by 59 Independent Commando Squadron and the RAF search and rescue unit.

In October around 150 troops from 24 Commando Engineer regiment paraded through Braunton to cheering crowds after returning home from a six month stint in Afghanistan.

The troops were told they were considered ‘part of the community’ and were presented with the Freedom of Braunton.

North Devon MP and Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey said it was an ‘undoubted disappointment’ the regiment was being withdrawn, but added:

“Royal Engineer support to the Marines at RMB Chivenor was ramped up in 2008 to support an impending deployment to Afghanistan and unfortunately we must revert to pre-2008 levels.

“For those personnel affected today, every assistance will be made to find roles within the wider Royal Engineers.”

“To be clear this is not an end to the Royal Engineers being located at RMB Chivenor as 59 Independent Commando Squadron will remain.”