Lieutenant Colonel NC MacGregor SCOTS, Commander, Aldershot Garrison
Welcome to the ‘Home of the British Army’. Established in 1854 to support the British Army’s preparations for the Crimean War, Aldershot Garrison grew around its military community. Proud of its military heritage, the garrison enjoy much goodwill and support locally. While not always visible, this support extends from Rushmoor Borough Council to Aldershot Town Football Club, with the space in between covered by a raft of other active supporters. This makes the garrison’s role in ensuring the military remain ‘part of’ and not ‘apart’ from Aldershot Town much easier.
In over 150 years the British Army has gone through many transformations. The horse is no longer our primary mode of transport. The musket is no longer the firearm of choice and Aldershot Town has witnessed it all. In many ways, Aldershot Town has adapted as the British Army has and continues to do so to this day. Army 2020 (A2020) sees the restructuring of the Army, with additional troops arriving in Aldershot and bringing with them vehicle platforms not previously seen here. While 22 Field Hospital and 4 Armoured Medical Regiment moved out of Aldershot, they remain part of the Garrison; their barracks now occupied by larger Mechanised Infantry Units; 1 Scots Guards and 4 Rifles. To accommodate this growth, a small number of military build projects remain, but further change is on the horizon. With no further requirement for some of the older barracks, the Army signed a joint venture with Grainger plc. This project looks to the long-term development of the military estate. Historical enthusiasts need not worry for these projects seek to preserve Aldershot’s military heritage, with some of the more memorable sites, such as the Cambridge Military Hospital, being restored to their former glory. In tandem, this project brings 3850 new homes to the town, which will do much to encourage economic development in the area.
The garrison sits very much at the heart of this activity. While change is inevitable, the garrison explores how change might impact Service families and works with the many, many supportive groups in Aldershot and across Hampshire to ensure the military’s needs are incorporated within wider planning. This work seeks to secure conditions for the Service community to thrive, but also offers the opportunity for the British Army to determine how it might make an effective contribution back to the society it serves. We have developed 2 posts within the garrison to support this work; the Engagement Officer and Personal Support Officer. This team is looking to create a forum for you to voice your issues. More to follow. You can reach the team through your Unit Welfare Office (UWO) or through the community centres.
We hope you enjoy your stay in Aldershot and make the most of the great opportunities both locally and further afield. May we also offer the Aldershot Garrison Herald as a tool to gain an insight into local issues and events, your copy can be sought through your UWO or local community centre.