Old soldier signs up for the Staffords campaign
A FORMER soldier has encouraged others to keep on protesting after he was inspired by the "Save our Staffords" campaign.
Edward Bebbington, aged 84, from Severn Drive, Clayton, served with the North Staffordshire Regiment between June 1946 and June 1948. He was called up for national service at the age of 18 while working for a wagon-repairing company in Cliff Vale.
He said: "There wasn't any choice about joining the Army back then."
Edward went to Worcester for six weeks training before spending 16 weeks near the Welsh border at Oswestry. He was later posted to the Middle East.
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The father-of-two said: "My time serving the North Staffordshire Regiment was absolutely brilliant. I was one of the lucky ones to be posted where I was."
Edward remembers how his group were flown out to Aden on the Arabian peninsula from Egypt in the first week of December in 1947.
He said: "On landing we were fed courtesy of the RAF and then marched into Aden where we were to quell the rioting.
"Later on we were moved into barracks with the RAF a short distance from Aden itself."
After an enjoyable two years in the armed forces Edward returned to North Staffordshire to take up his old job as an assistant stores controller.
He said: "I was again one of the lucky ones because I managed to serve just under the two years that was required.
"But it was a life-changing experience to be part of the Army and I cannot believe they are thinking of losing the name."
The Government announced in July that the Staffords were being scrapped as part of defence cuts to reduce the Army by 20,000 troops.
The Sentinel has since launched a campaign to protect the name and the traditions of the Staffords.
Edward said: "It is an utter disgrace and they should be ashamed for all those who have died before us, who have served or who are still serving. We ought to keep campaigning, there is no question about it."
And those who have signed the petition agree. George Castrey, from Long Lane, Harriseahead, said: "I served 18 years with the North Staffordshire Regiment and Staffordshire Regiment and it is a crime to disband this great regiment."