The Royal Navy’s return to Glasgow after an absence of 20 years has been celebrated at HMS Dalriada, the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) unit which recently relocated to the city following a £1M investment to provide modern training facilities and support to Ship’s Company of 75 Naval Reservists who live and work in the West of Scotland.
Lord Astor, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence was the Guest of Honour and before unveiling a commemorative plaque he spoke of the importance of the Armed Forces Reserve and his strong belief in maintaining Scotland as part of the United Kingdom.
Defence Minister, Lord Astor said:
“I am delighted to take part in the re-dedication 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 £1.8bn 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 straight forward, 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 the MOD’s plans for the future Reserves 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 three 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.
Naval Today Staff, April 23, 2013; Image: Royal Navy