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British Army opens first reserve unit opens on Isle of Man since 1968

image copyrightBritish Army
image captionMore than 30 new recruits took their first parade during a flag-raising ceremony

The British Army has opened the first reserve unit to be based in the Isle of Man for nearly 50 years.

The Army Reserve - formerly known as the Territorial Army - is designed to provide training for island recruits.

The project is part of the Army's 2020 plan, which will see reservists called upon to play a greater role.

The Isle of Man Reserve Force based in Douglas will consist of infantry, engineers, artillery, medics and other staff.

Brigadier Christopher Coles said the Isle of Man had a "strong tradition of military service."

image captionRepresentatives from the British Army were on the Isle of Man in May to launch the new unit

He said: "With the expansion of our Reserve forces, I feel we've got a duty to come here and show people what we do, and the early evidence is there are lots of people here who are willing to serve.

"The people I've met so far are very clear about what they're signing up to and they each bring that classic ingredient of a reservist - wider experience."

More than 30 new Manx recruits took their first parade during a flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday.

Former personnel who served with the island's last army unit, which closed in 1968, attended the ceremony.

William Kneale, 83, who did his national service with the island's artillery unit until 1954, said it was "fantastic".

He said: "If ever they are needed, we will now have the reservists to call on as well as the police and civilian authorities.

"I'm very pleased to see this happening."

image copyrightBritish Army
image captionWilliam Kneale said he was pleased that the new unit had been established on the island

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