Paras return from Afghanistan to brand new accommodation

2 Oct 08

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment have been moving into their new home in the purpose-built rooms in Merville Barracks at Colchester Garrison this week after returning from a six month operational tour in Afghanistan.

Members of 3 PARA moving into their new accommodation

Members of 3 PARA moving into their new accommodation
[Picture: Cpl Rupert Frere RLC]

The soldiers are moving from their old rooms in Hyderabad Barracks into the second and final phase of the £560 million development at Merville Barracks, which was completed in June 2008.

The centrepiece of the new Barracks is the new junior ranks single living accommodation (JRSLA), where each soldier has their own room with en-suite bathroom. These are built in 69-room blocks, split into flatlets of between six and eight rooms, each with a communal cooking and cleaning area, and common room. This makes a considerable change from the previous accommodation in Colchester, much of which dates back to the 1930s and 40s, and in some cases to Victorian times.

Private Ryan Hanks got back from Afghanistan last Friday, Friday 26 September 2008, with B Company and is enjoying his new surroundings:

“We were in four-man rooms before at our old barracks” said Pte Hanks. “We hadn’t seen these before we moved in on Friday so when I saw it, it was mega. Everyone has got a double bed and you’ve got your own bathroom now as well. We’ve also got a washing machine in the other room which is good.”

One of the communal kitchen areas

Soldiers making the most of one of the communal kitchen areas
[Picture: Cpl Rupert Frere RLC]

Major Aidan Coogan, Regimental Adjutant of The Parachute Regiment, said:

“The move into new accommodation, which is of a standard that our soldiers deserve, has actually been a long journey from Aldershot to Colchester.

“We are absolutely delighted that we now have accommodation and working conditions of the highest quality that befit the work that our modern soldiers do.”..

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