Regiment with NI links to be first to have close combat women

Frontline close combat roles will no longer be restricted to men
Frontline close combat roles will no longer be restricted to men

An Army regiment that is partly based in Northern Ireland will be the first in the United Kingdom to offer frontline close combat roles to women.

The Edinburgh-headquartered Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry (SNIY) will make the new positions available from November.

The move follows the announcement earlier this month that the ban would be lifted.

The Regiment’s B Squadron (North Irish Horse) is based in Belfast.

It also has a facility in the Coleraine area.

The Army will review the new SNIY frontline troops after six months before rolling the offer out across the Royal Armed Corps, of which the regiment forms part.

The change will apply to infantry, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force Regiment by the end of 2018.

Women will be able to take up previously prohibited roles in the armoured corps, cavalry and infantry.

An Army spokesman said: “This move by the MoD to allow women to apply for employment in all jobs in the British Army – and Royal Marines and RAF Regiment – means that we are able to maximise talent and choice, both for women who already serve and new applicants.”

The spokesman added: “The fact that we have a brand new regiment in Scotland and Northern Ireland, The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry – an army reserve unit which is part of the Royal Armoured Corps – which can start implementing this new policy from November is excellent.

“We always strive to be at the cutting-edge of training and will be able to offer young men, and now young women, a chance to train for and to serve in exciting and varied roles.”

The regiment formed in 2014.

Its headquarters are at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh.

There are also bases in Cupar, Ayr, Belfast, and Coleraine.

It formed in October 2014.