The historic link between the Armed Forces and the public should be strengthened by naming more warships after towns and counties in the West Midlands, the House of Commons has been told.
The Royal Navy could name ships after Telford, the Wrekin or Shropshire, which have strong military connections, said David Wright (Lab Telford).
He was speaking in a Commons debate on defence. Mr Wright said: “I really believe that people used to feel connected with the Armed Forces when regiments or warships bore the names of specific towns or counties. We are now losing that linkage, and we ought to look into reinstating some of those connections. It would be great, for example, if we had an HMS Shropshire or an HMS Telford.
“The last HMS Shropshire was launched in 1928. She served in the south Atlantic, and was passed over to the Australian Navy in 1942. She was in Tokyo bay when the Japanese surrendered. We should have another HMS Shropshire, an HMS Telford and, perhaps, an HMS Wrekin. We need to renew those connections between our forces and our communities.”
He highlighted the work of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment, barracked at Tern Hill, near Market Drayton, Shropshire, which has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The MP said: “The people of our Armed Forces are simply remarkable, and they deserve our thanks. Shropshire people have a particular connection with 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, which has barracks at Tern Hill.
“The regiment has done difficult work in all the major conflict zones around the world in recent years, and the county is paying tribute to its members as they return home at the moment. In fact, they arrived home yesterday.”
Speaking in the same debate, Stafford MP David Kidney (Lab) called on the Government to consider the West Midlands as the site for a proposed “super-garrison” to house thousands of troops due to return from Germany.
Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth (Lab Coventry North East) admitted he was not satisfied that the families of servicemen and women who died were given the support they needed.
He was responding to comments from Tamworth MP Brian Jenkins, who asked whether spouses and family members were looked after properly as they waited to receive a compensation payment, of about £40,000, which is not paid until the inquest is completed.