Families stage protest over defence cutbacks

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MUMS of serving soldiers showed a united front in protest at Army cuts.

About 20 people gathered at the war memorial in front of Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow in Leeds city centre with the message: “We support our troops.”

Their demonstration was organised by the Protest Against MoD Cuts group following the announcement that Army personnel will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000.

Among the protesters was Amanda Mason, from Halton. Her son, Pte Stephen Mason, 18, has just returned to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment after two weeks’ leave.

She said: “There’s a total lack of respect, not just from the Government but from a lot of people, for the work that our armed forces do to make sure we can go on living our lives.

“Morale is low, but as soldiers they will keep their heads up and do the job they are trained for.”

Tracy Wild, from Crossgates, has two sons – Ashley, 25, and Samuel, 22 – both serving in Afghanistan.

She said: “What’s happening doesn’t give the soldiers who are serving any confidence.

“We built up the British Army on experience and they are getting rid of experienced soldiers to recruit younger ones who are paid less. It’s not right.”

Lynda Slade, from Beeston, was at the protest to represent her son, Christopher, 28, a trooper with the King’s Royal Hussars.

She said: “What they are doing will make a lot of history disappear and leave a lot of people unemployed.

“It’s just not fair. I hope the Government sits up and listens.”

Demonstrations were held at 61 war memorials around the UK. Under the cuts, four infantry battalions are to go – the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards), the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.

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