Armed forces and support personnel

The following results have been obtained from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), annual location statistics reports for 1st April 2021. The report presents information on the location of all UK stationed regular service and civilian personnel and of veterans in receipt of armed forces pensions and compensation by local authority area. 


  • There were 940 military forces personnel based in the Lancashire-12 area in 2021
  • The number has risen by 210 from the 2020 figure
  • There were 530 MoD civilian personnel based in the Lancashire-12 area in 2021
  • From the Census 2021 there were 53,567 people identified who had previously served in the UK armed forces then resident in the Lancashire-14 area
  • The Census 2021 identifies 16,841 veterans resident in Lancaster, Wyre and Blackpool. This is 38.2% of the Lancashire-14 total
  • In the Lancashire-14 area there were 9,403 people in receipt of some type of armed forces pension in 2021
  • Of these 3,246 (35%) lived in the coastal authorities of Fylde, Wyre and Blackpool

Military forces in the Lancashire-12 area 

According to the Ministry of Defence figures,  Fylde and Preston districts are the only two authorities in the county where military forces are stationed permanently. The Preston Hive covers Weeton Barracks in Fylde, Fulwood Barracks in Preston and Warton in Fylde. Entries for Chorley, Lancaster, Ribble Valley, Wyre and Blackburn with Darwen (unitary authority) also appear in the MoD statistics, but no figures are given for the latest period. Dating back to April 2012 all of the results for Wyre are denoted as zero while numbers under 5 are shown for April 2012 and 2013 at Ribble Valley. The latter two counts are in the 'RAF Other Ranks' category. 635 Volunteer Gliding Squadron of the RAF was based at Samlesbury Aerodrome until 2009. Chorley, Lancaster and Blackburn with Darwen all have counts of under 5 in the latest period and these are all in Army categories. Those in Lancaster are most likely based occasionally at Halton Training Camp.

The Lancashire-12 area, with 940 military forces staff, has 49.5% of the modest North West total of 1,900. The Lancashire-12 figure has risen by around 210 since the previous year, and is at its highest since 2017.

Fulwood Barracks is the base for 3 Medical Regiment. It was from 1982 to 2017 the home of the 42nd Infantry Brigade. The nearby Kimberley Barracks in Preston and Weeton Barracks in Fylde are used by the 4th and 2nd Battalions respectively of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. Just 20 out of the Fylde total of 500 are 'RAF other ranks' and these would be employed at Warton Aerodrome. In November 2016 it was announced that Fulwood Barracks would close in 2022 but in March 2019 this was put back to 2027.

Table 1: UK military forces stationed in the Lancashire-12 area, 1st April 2021

  Fylde Preston Lancashire-12  North West
Officers 30 60 100 230
Other ranks 470 360 840 1,670
Total 500 430 940 1,900

Source: Ministry of Defence - Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. A more detailed table is available as a Microsoft Excel download below.

Ministry of Defence civilian personnel in the Lancashire-12 area

Wyre (370) has the largest number of Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian personnel in Lancashire, while there are 110 in the Preston City area. Over the last year the figure for the Lancashire-12 area has increased by 10. Because of the rounding of the figures, this does not amount to a significant change. The total of MOD civilian personnel for the North West has increased by about 3% from 2020. There are fewer than 5 Ministry of Defence (MOD) civilian personnel located in each of the two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. Please note that civilian staff are also included in the total for Civil Service Employees.

Table 2: Ministry of Defence civilian personnel stationed in the Lancashire-12 area, 1st April 2021

  Fylde Lancaster Preston Wyre Lancashire-12 North West
Non-industrials 40 10 90 370 510 1,540
Industrial  --- f 20 --- 20 70
Trading Funds --- --- --- --- --- 140
Total 40 10 110 370 530 1,750

Source: Ministry of Defence - Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. A dash (---) denotes zero. (f) denotes fewer than 5. A more detailed table is available as a Microsoft Excel download below.

The distinction between peacetime rôles of respective military and civilian personnel may become blurred, for instance at establishments such as Halton Training Camp. 

Members of the armed forces and veterans resident in Lancashire   

A different measure of armed forced personnel numbers in the Lancashire area was provided by the 2011 census. The census table QS121EW has details of members of the armed forces as residents of households or communal establishments on census day (27 March 2011). The results show that the 14-authority Lancashire area had 2,214 residents that stated they were employed by the armed forces, which is just 1.4% of the total for England. The census also revealed that 2.8% of the total population of England was resident in the 14-authority Lancashire area therefore the results confirm the under-representation of armed forces personnel in Lancashire. The 2021 Census included a question about former employment in the armed forces, and analysis of the data this provides will be used to direct the Veterans' Strategy Action Plan: 2022 to 2024. Early analysis of the Census results show that in 2021 there were 53,567 people who had previously served in the UK armed forces then resident in the Lancashire-14 area. This is around 4.3% of the population aged 16 or over. Of these 16,841 (38.2%) were resident in Lancaster, Wyre or Blackpool.

The GOV.UK website includes veteran location statistics that detail armed forces pension and compensation recipients by local authority. In the year to 31st March 2021, the total number of individuals in receipt of either a pension or compensation under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, War Pension Scheme or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme was 9,043 in the 14-authority Lancashire area. Over a third of the Lancashire total (3,246) were resident in the neighbouring authorities of Wyre, Blackpool and Fylde.

The government established the Office for Veteran's Affairs in 2019.

Local support for the armed forces   

The Royal British Legion has various branches throughout the county.

Lancashire is home to a central government Veterans UK site at Norcross, on the outskirts of Thornton Cleveleys. The MoD Fraud Team is also based at this site.

The armed forces covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the state and the armed forces. Lancashire County Council announced in November 2013 that it had approved its armed forces covenant.

The county council has implemented a scheme to recruit local ex-service personnel to become part of the mentoring in schools programme.

A corporate covenant is a voluntary pledge from businesses and charitable organisations who wish to demonstrate their support for the armed forces community. The list includes a number of local and national organisations. These include British Aerospace and Rolls Royce that have an important presence in Lancashire as part of the local aerospace industry. United Utilities is also on the list and has a major presence in the Lancashire-14 area.

MOD defence training estate sites in the Lancashire-14 area

The land owned by the Ministry of Defence for the purpose of training the armed forces is known as the Defence Training Estate (DTE). The website has an information leaflet for the North West that mentions two sites that cover parts of Lancashire.  The Holcombe Moor Training Area is an all-year-round general purpose facility used by the Territorial Army, Cadets and the regular army. The main part of the site is outside the county, but the 303 hectares of freehold land include a section in Rossendale district. There are five public rights of way that cross the site, and it forms an integral part of the West Pennine Moors. Public access is of course restricted to periods when there is no live firing.

Halton Training Camp in Lancaster district is a 19 hectare site with barrack accommodation and a small wood running parallel along the north bank of the River Lune. It is all-year- round, general-purpose training camp with the emphasis on TA and Cadet training at weekends and mid-week as a base for regular army units undergoing adventurous training.

The negative impacts of military service

In total, 17% of male service personnel in the study had a criminal record. Whilst overall lifetime offending (all offences from theft to assault) in the military were said to be lower than in the general population, lifetime violent offending (ranging from threats of violence to serious physical assault or worse) was more common among military men (11% vs 8.7%).

In May 2014, a quick local assessment was made of detected offences records covering the 14-authority Lancashire area. For the 2013/14 financial year, less than 0.3% of all detected offences were committed by people who showed their employment status as being with the armed forces. It is however not possible to distinguish any detected offences by former members.

Museums, cemeteries and memorials

The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum is in central Lancaster, and tells the history of the Regiment from 1660s to the 1960s. Westfield Memorial Village is an example of a housing development that was completed after the First World War for service personnel. The estate is close to Lancaster railway station and is opposite the football ground. Over the years, some of the houses have been sold to the general public, but a number of ex-service personnel are still resident at the site.

The Lancashire Infantry Museum is located at Fulwood Barracks, Preston, and is said to be the largest regimental archive, and the premier centre for historical military research in Northern England. It is intended that the museum will remain open when the barracks itself closes in 2027.

The regimental charity of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) provides welfare and benevolence support to serving and retired members. 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 153 countries. The 'find a cemetery option' allows for sites to be searched by county in the UK. Choosing the Lancashire option generates a list of over 500 sites. The list covers the historic Lancashire region that is much larger than the 14-authority Lancashire area.

The War Memorials Trust is the charity that works for the protection and conservation of war memorials across the UK. The website has information on war memorials in parts of Lancashire. The site also has the search grants showcase facility, which is a database of grants for war memorial repair and conservation projects.  The search facility allows a list of grants to be viewed for the Lancashire area.  There is also the UK War Memorials website.

Victoria cross commemorative paving stones

In 2013, the government announced the proposal for commemorative paving stones to be laid in the birth places of Victoria Cross recipients from the First World War. The list includes 11 men born within the present local authority boundaries of Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Chorley, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Preston and South Ribble. 

Other links

The North West Reserve Forces & Cadets Association promotes the Volunteer Reserve Forces of all three Armed Services through liaison with local authorities, employers, trade unions, the media and other influential groups.

Page updated May and November 2022