Job threat to wounded troops mars Armistice

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The Independent Online

More than 16,000 soldiers, including troops wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, are to be made redundant under secret plans drawn up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The extent of the proposed job losses were revealed in a leaked MoD memo that emerged on the day that Britain paid tribute to its war dead.

The Army had originally intended to shed 7,000 soldiers by 2015 in the second wave of cuts. But the memo, sent to commanders in Afghanistan, discloses that far wider redundancies are being planned and warns that soldiers who have been "temporarily downgraded" – injured in battle – will not be exempt. Last night the MoD insisted no final decisions had been made on job losses and sources indicated the memo had been written by a junior officer.

But any suggestion that soldiers who have lost limbs or suffered other serious injuries face dismissal will be deeply embarrassing for ministers.

Britain fell silent for two minutes yesterday as a mark of respect for the nation's war dead.

The annual Armistice Day service comes just two days after the death of another British soldier in Afghanistan.

Wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph in Whitehall during a remembrance service organised by the Western Front Association.