Soldiers who started careers in Northampton recognised with plaque at former barracks

The unveiling of a new plaque at Simpson Barracks, Wootton, to recognise the Royal Pioneer Corps who trained at the base before it closed.
The unveiling of a new plaque at Simpson Barracks, Wootton, to recognise the Royal Pioneer Corps who trained at the base before it closed.

EX-SERVICEMEN who started their army careers in Northampton will be honoured with a plaque at a former barracks in Wootton.

The new plaque was unveiled at the former Simpson Barracks in Wootton, Northampton on Saturday, to recognise the Royal Pioneer Corps who trained at the base from around 1960 until its closure in 1993.

Leading members of the RPC Nostalgia Group organised for the plaque to be put in place with support from more than 1,000 former pioneers via a Facebook site for the organisation.

A former Regimental Sergeant Major of the depot at Simpson Barracks, Tom Appleyard, granted permission for the plaque to be put in place and officially opened it.

Kevin Young from Ashton, Northampton, who helps to run the RPC Nostalgia Group, said: “Northampton is where we started our army career and the plaque will be a lasting reminder for us.

“The pioneers are from all around the world but Northampton has always been a special place for members and they say it feels like coming home.”

The plaque includes the former badge of the Royal Pioneer Corps which dates from 1946 to 1984.

A new badge was introduced in 1984 when the corps changed its name to the Royal Pioneers and this badge was already in place on the plaque which the old badge has now been added to.

Mr Young said: “The majority of people involved in the RPC group joined the corps under the old badge and we wanted to mark that.

“This will be a lasting mark and we are making history. We are making something our grandchildren can look at.”

Pupils and staff from Northampton Girls’ School attended the event and had compiled information about the pioneers which will be placed in a time capsule and buried at the site in the future.