Campaigners battling to save Birmingham’s own battalion from being disbanded have said it is not too late to back their petition before the July deadline.
It emerged last week that city Lord Mayor John Lines has joined the fight to save the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers from closure.
Formerly the Warwickshire Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion has close links to Birmingham stretching back 100 years when the city recruited 30,000 men to join the First World War effort.
But it is due to be disbanded in June 2014, and the troops assigned to other regiments, ending that close association with the city.
Retired Col Ian Frazier, chairman of the Fusiliers Association, is urging the people of Birmingham to back the e-petition before it closes on July 5.
He said: “It’s not too late to do something – the petition is still very much active and we will not give up.”
Although only approaching 10,000, he said that combined with many written petitions collected across the region and veteran’s groups they are confident of securing the 100,000 names needed for a Parliamentary debate on the issue.
Lord Mayor Coun Lines and a guard of honour will also be lobbying David Cameron with a visit to Downing Street on May 14.
Col Brazier added that the campaigners believe they have a clear cut case for the decision to be reversed. He said: “The 2nd Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is the best recruited battalion in the British army. They stopped recruiting a year ago but are still at full strength and on combat stand by in Cyprus.
“There are 21 other battalions who are less well recruited, scrapping 2RRF is like removing Manchester United from the Premier League. It does not make sense.”
He added attempts to get the Government to release the figures that prompted the decision had been blocked.
An Army spokesman said the decision had been taken to “balance the whole infantry structure to maintain variety of roles and parity of opportunity of experience for officers and soldiers; taking account of previous decisions on mergers and deletions; historical manning performance; and ensuring a solution that the Army would see as fair and equitable”.
The e-petition can be signed at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35724 .