AFTER almost almost half a century based in the city, Ripon's 38 Engineer Regiment will be moving out, to be replaced by another unit, it was confirmed this week. The move has been on the cards for a while and will mark the end of a close bond that has existed between the city and the regiment since it moved into Claro Barracks in 1959. An Army spokesman at the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the Royal Engineers will leave Ripon within two years or so.
"Under current plans, 38 Engineer Regiment will leave Ripon to be replaced by another (identical) engineer regiment currently based in Osnabruck, Germany," said the spokesman.
"The timescale is currently unclear and is related to the withdrawal from Germany by 4 Mechanised Brigade and the normalisation process in Northern Ireland."
He added: "So 38 Engineers will be replaced within two years or so by an identical engineer regiment from Germany.
"19 Light Brigade (which is currently based at Catterick and supported by 38 Engineer Regiment) will move to Scotland and Northern Ireland and 4 Mechanised Brigade will take its place."
The Corps of Royal Engineers, of which 38 Engineer Regiment is part, has enjoyed the Freedom of the City since 1949 and exercises that 'freedom' each year with a military parade.
During its time in the city the regiment has played an important part in the life of the community, assisting with various projects and helping out at events such as the community bonfire.
Mayor of Ripon, Coun Stuart Martin said he will be sad to see the regiment leave the city.
"I understand the current plans are to replace 38 Regiment with another engineer regiment, maintaining Ripon's long links with the Royal Engineers," he said.
"I believe the Freedom certificate was presented to the Corps of Royal Engineers, not specifically 38 Regiment. So I believe things should stay the same providing it's another engineer regiment that moves into Ripon."
He added: "On a personal note, I'm sad to be losing 38 Engineers from Ripon. With my father-in-law and brother-in-law having both been a 38 Engineer, I'm sure my family is not the only one which brought the regiment into their lives."
A spokesman at Claro Barracks said this week: "The regiment is not in a position to comment at this time."
Ripon City Council is due to be briefed on the matter by Commanding Officer of 38 Engineer Regiment, Lt Col Andy Bellingall, on March 15.