The CO's summons brings mixed news: Christopher Bellamy meets officer cadets training at Sandhurst, and a soldier facing redundancy: The Old Guard

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The Independent Online
LYNTON Jacobs, a 29-year-old lance-corporal, applied for redundancy. Yesterday morning he was summoned to see the commanding officer of 27 Regiment Royal Corps of Transport, at Aldershot in Hampshire, and was told that his request was being granted.

But 27 Regiment is off to Croatia shortly. With eight months before his redundancy takes effect, L/Cpl Jacobs wants to go with them. 'He (the commanding officer) did keep me off the list to start with, because I'd applied for redundancy. But I told him I wanted to go and he said he'd be happy to take me.'

L/Cpl Jacobs, from Coventry, joined the Army in 1981. He spent eight years as a physical training instructor, teaching young recruits and 'loved it'. He also has an HGV class 1 driving licence, but he would like to return to college to study physiotherapy. There are two hospitals in the Coventry area which train physiotherapists.

His regiment is to be merged into the new Royal Logistic Corps in April. That was one reason why L/Cpl Jacobs applied for redundancy. 'It's going to take a long time to sort itself out,' he said. 'When I heard I could apply I thought I would get out while I was young enough to do something else.'

His regiment will be based at Split in Croatia, but will operate along the tortuous supply route to Vitez. 'My regiment's going away. There's a little bit of danger in it and I just felt that I should be with them,' he said.

A single man, he plans to live with his mother until the housing market starts picking up.

Major Peter Myatt, who is also based at Aldershot, was surprised to be told he was being made redundant yesterday morning. He will be 47 tomorrow.

He was commissioned from Sandhurst in December 1966 into the Royal Army Pay Corps, which has now been merged into the Adjutant General's Corps. 'I was called in to see my boss at nine o'clock this morning and handed a large brown envelope,' he said.

Major Myatt has served one tour in Northern Ireland and spent six months in the Gulf before and during the Gulf war. There he was in charge of the Field Cash Office, which had responsibility for cash payments to soldiers and to local contractors.

'We were operating in six currencies. Most nights my safe contained over pounds 3m in cash,' he said. 'It was almost what you would call a services' bank in the Dhahran-Jubayl area, and up forward. I paid for all the hired transport we used, the fuel, the water and so on. We spent an awful lot of money in the time I was there - some pounds 90m passed through my hands.'

Major Myatt, who is married with two daughters aged 12 and 16 at boarding school, owns a house. Under the redundancy terms he will receive a special capital payment of about pounds 47,500, plus an immediate pension of about pounds 11,750 and an additional capital sum - a 'terminal grant' of three times that. Both capital sums are tax free.

'To say I had no premonition would not be strictly true,' he said.

'The age I am and at my stage in the Army, I shouldn't have been surprised. Most of my friends are service friends and I looked forward to continuing to the age of 55 among them.'

It had been a bit of a shock, and Major Myatt found it, understandably, difficult to return to work.

He was also interviewed by a television news crew and later said that as a result of being seen on television he had been offered a job. But he added: 'I'll want to see if it's serious.'

(Photograph omitted)