Mercian Regiment

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The Mercian Regiment
Mercian regiment.PNG
Cap Badge of the Mercian Regiment
Active 1 September 2007-
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Line Infantry
Role 1st Battalion - Armoured Infantry
2nd Battalion - Light Infantry
4th Battalion - Light Infantry
Size Three battalions
Part of Prince of Wales' Division
Garrison/HQ RHQ - Lichfield
1st Battalion - [Bulford]
2nd Battalion - Chester
4th Battalion - Wolverhampton
Nickname The Heart of England's Infantry
Motto "Stand Firm and Strike Hard"
March Wha Wadna Fecht for Charlie/Under the Double Eagle (Quick)
Stand Firm and Strike Hard (Slow)
Mascot Ram (Lance Corporal Derby XXX)
Commanders
Colonel in Chief HRH The Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Brigadier AP Williams OBE
Insignia
Tactical Recognition Flash Mercian TRF.svg
Arm Badge Stafford Knot and Glider
From Staffordshire Regiment
Abbreviation MERCIAN

The Mercian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the British Army, recruited from the five counties which formed the ancient kingdom of Mercia. Known as The Heart of England's Infantry, it was formed on 1st Sepember 2007 by the amalgamation of three existing regiments. The Regiment has deployed on eight operational deployments since its formation, making it one of the most operationally experienced regiments in the [British Army].

The regiment originally had three regular army battalions and one Army Reserve battalion, though the 3rd Battalion was disbanded as part of the restructuring of the British Army.[1]

Formation[edit]

The regiment's formation was announced on 16 December 2004 by the then Secretary of Defence Geoff Hoon and General Sir Mike Jackson as part of the restructuring of the British Army Infantry - it consisted of three regular battalions, plus a territorial battalion, and was created through the merger of three single battalion regiments. The three remaining battalions are all known formally as 'The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords) however this is usually abbreviated to MERCIAN.

The antecedent Regiments were, The 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, The 1st Battalion, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and the 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment . The reserve West Midlands Regiment, with elements of the King's and Cheshire Regiment and the East of England Regiment formed the 4th Battalion, Mercian Regiment.[2]

Structure[edit]

1st Battalion[edit]

The 1st Battalion is an [Armoured infantry] battalion, part of the 1 Mechanized Brigade based at [Bulford] in [Salisbury Plain], England.[3][4] [5][dead link] The battalion has deployed on three operational tours since its formation in 2007, one to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.

2nd Battalion[edit]

The 2nd Battalion is a [light role] battalion, part of 42 Infantry Brigade now based in Chester, England since April 2014.[6] The battalion has deployed on three operational tours to Afghanistan and is currently deployed on a UN peacekeeping mission to Cyprus.

3rd Battalion[edit]

The 3rd Battalion was an armoured infantry battalion, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade based in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.[7] It was disbanded in July 2014[8] as part of the Army 2020 defence review.[1]

4th Battalion[edit]

The 4th Battalion is the regiment's [Army Reserve] Light Role Infantry battalion.[9] The battalion has five rifle companies and a HQ Company with Battalion HQ based in [Wolverhampton], England,

Regimental Distinctions[edit]

The regiment's cap badge is a double headed Mercian Eagle with Saxon crown. This has been chosen because it forms a link to the regiment's recruiting area, which encompass a number of divergent counties that do not have modern traditional links, only under the ancient Kingdom of Mercia (unlike the other new regiments from Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire). It was originally intended to use the old Mercian Brigade badge worn by the Cheshire Regiment, Staffordshire Regiment, Worcestershire Regiment and Sherwood Foresters from 1958 to 1968, rather than create an amalgamated badge that would require elements from all of the antecedents. In 2005 this badge was rejected by the Army Dress Committee on the grounds that it had been the badge of a territorial unit, The Mercian Volunteers, junior to the amalgamating regiments.[10] Accordingly a slightly modified design featuring two colours of metal was adopted.[11]

Mercian Regiment in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 18 March 2010

Mascot[edit]

Private Derby, a Swaledale ram, is the official mascot of the Mercian Regiment. He was the mascot of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment which inherited Private Derby from a predecessor regiment, the Sherwood Foresters and which in turn inherited him from The 95th Derbyshire Regiment. Private Derby became the mascot of the Mercian Regiment when it was formed in 1 September 2007. The ram mascot is a central part of the Regiment's history and tradition and its association with the home counties of its predecessor regiments. It is a symbol of pride for the Regiment and is extremely popular with the public when it makes appearances.

The first Private Derby was adopted as a mascot in 1858 by the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot at the siege and capture of Kotah during the Indian Mutiny Campaign (1857-58). The Commanding Officer whilst on one of his forays within the town, noticed a fine fighting ram tethered in a temple yard. He directed Private Sullivan of the Number 1 Company to take the ram into his possession.The ram was named Private Derby and has marched nearly 3,000 miles with the soldiers of the Regiment through central India before it died in 1863. Since then, there has followed a succession of fine rams, each of which has inherited the official title of Private Derby followed by his succession number. The earlier replacement rams were acquired by the Regiment from whichever part of the world they were serving in at the time. However, since 1912 it has become the tradition for the Duke of Devonshire to select a Swaledale Ram from his Chatsworth Park flock and present it to the Regiment. It is a tradition the Duke is proud to hold, in recognition of the close association between the Regiment and the Dukes of Devonshire, whose ancestral seat is in the county of Derbyshire. However, there was a temporary departure from tradition in 1924 when the successor ram, Derby XIV, was presented to the Regiment instead by His Highness Sir Umeo Singh Bahador GCB GLSI GCIE The Mohorac of Kotah.

The Army recognizes each Private Derby as a soldier and has his own regimental number and documentation. He has been held on the official strength of the Regiment since the first Private Derby. He is paid 3.75 pounds per day. In addition, he is also on the ration strength and draws his own rations like any other soldier. Private Derby even has a leave card and takes an annual holiday at Chatsworth during the mating season. He may even get a promotion if he behaves.

Private Derby I of the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment was awarded the Indian Service Medal with a clasp 'Central India' together with the rest of the Battalion on parade at Poona in 1862. He also fought 33 battles against other rams and was undefeated.Private Derby also holds the General Service Medal (Northern Ireland), Golden Jubilee Medal and Diamond Jubilee Medal.

When on parade, Private Derby wears a coat of scarlet with Lincoln green and gold facings, the whole emblazoned with the Regiment's main Battle Honours. Also on his coat is to be found a replica of his India Mutiny Medal. In addition, he now wears the General Service Medal 1962 with the clasp Northern Ireland as he has been stationed there several times over the years. On his forehead is to be found a silver plate suitably embossed with the Regimental Cap Badge. A pair of silver protectors are fitted on the tips of his horns to protect the clothing of persons near him such as his handlers and visitors, of which he receives a great number each time he appears in public.

Private Derby has two handlers fwhose duty is to look after him at all times. The senior handler is called the "Ram Major" whilst the other one is the "Ram Orderly". They escort Private Derby when he is on parade by standing, one on each side of the goat and leading or controlling him with two white ornamental ropes that are attached to a leather collar. It is the responsibility of the Ram Major to prepare Private Derby for all parades and the other appearances which he makes.

The present mascot, Derby XXX, was selected by the Duke of Devonshire from his Chatsworth Park estate in Derbyshire on September 2008 and was formally handed over to the Regiment during a ceremony at Chesterfield Town Hall in February 2014. He is now residing at Regimental Headquarters, Whittington Barracks, Staffordshire. He is an excellent ram, both big and strong albeit with a pleasant nature and most importantly, handles well on parade.

Regimental Celebrations[edit]

The Mercian Regiment's Regimental Day was originally 'D Day 6th June 1944'. This was changed in 2013 to be 'Mercian Regimental Day, 1st September 2007', this being the day which the regiment was formed at Tamworth Castle. The regiment maintains three additional celebrations which are celebrated by all three battalions each year.

Battle of Meeanee (17th February) - The Battle of Miani (or Battle of Meeanee) was a battle between British forces under Sir Charles Napier and the Talpur Amirs of Sindh, of today's Pakistan. The Battle took place on 17 February 1843 at Miani, Sindh in what is now Pakistan. It is a battle honour of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment.

Battle of Alma (20th September) - The Battle of the Alma (20 September 1854), which is usually considered the first battle of the Crimean War (1853–1856), took place just south of the River Alma in the Crimea. An Anglo-French force under Jacques Leroy de Saint Arnaud and Fitzroy Somerset, 1st Lord Raglan defeated General Aleksandr Sergeyevich Menshikov's Russian army, which lost around 6,000 troops. It is a battle honour of The Worcestershire and Sherwood foresters and is distinct due to a private soldier carrying the Colours on this day.

Battle of Ferozeshah (21st December) - The Battle of Ferozeshah was fought on 21 December and 22 December 1845 between the British and the Sikhs, at the village of Ferozeshah in Punjab. The British were led by Sir Hugh Gough and Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge, while the Sikhs were led by Lal Singh. The British emerged victorious, but the battle was one of the hardest-fought in the history of the British Army. It is a battle honour of The Staffordshire Regiment and is distinct as the Colours are gifted to the Sergeants Mess for the day.

Battle Honours[edit]

Ramillies 1706, Louisburg 1758, Guadaloupe 1759, Belleisle, Havannah 1762, Martinique 1762 - 1794, Hindoostan 1780 – 1823, Surinam 1804, Monte Video 1807, Rolica 1808, Corunna 1809, Talavera 1809, Albuhera 1811, Badajoz 1812, Vittoria 1813, Peninsula 1809 – 14, Ava 1824 – 6, Meeanee 1843, Hyderabad 1843, Scinde 1843, Ferozeshah 1845, Sobroan 1846, South Africa 1846 – 7, Pegu 1852 – 3, Alma 1854, Inkerman 1854, Sevastopol 1855, Persia 1856 – 7, Lucknow 1857, Central India 1858, Abysinnia 1868, South Africa 1878 – 79, Eygpt 1882, Nile 1884 – 85, Hafir 1896, Tirah 1897 – 8, South Africa 1899 – 1902, Afghanistan 1919, Gulf 1991, Mons, Ypres 1914, 15, 17, 18, Gheluvelt, Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Somme 1916, 18, Arras 1917, 18, Messines 1917, 18, Cambrai 1917, 18, Bapaume 1918, St. Quentin Canal, Italy 1917 – 18, Vittoria Veneto, Gallipoli 1915 – 16, Suvla, Dorian 1917, 18, Kut Al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Norway 1940, St. Omer – La Bassee, Ypres-Comines Canal, Normandy Landing, Caen, Seine 1944, Arnhem 1944, North West Europe 1940, 44-45, Keren, Capture of Tobruk, Gazala, El Alamein Mareth, North Africa 1940, 43, Malta 1941 – 42, Landing in Sicily 1943, Sicily 1943, Salerno, Anzio, Campoleone, Rome, Gothic Line, Chindits 1944, Burma 43, 44, 45

Awards for Gallantry[edit]

Conspicuous Gallantry Cross[edit]

British and allied forces for an act or acts of conspicuous gallantry during active operations against the enemy.

  • Lieutenant Simon Timothy Cupples, March 2008
  • Private Paul Darren Willmott, March 2008
  • Sergeant Alan Gordon Dennis, March 2010
  • Sergeant Marc Kevin Giles, March 2010
  • Lance Corporal Kyle Patrick Smith, March 2010
  • Corporal Josh Edward Hayden Griffiths, 2013

Military Cross.[edit]

British, (formerly) Commonwealth, and allied forces on land for gallantry during active operations against the enemy.

  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Gavin Charles Kimberlin, March 2008
  • Acting Sergeant Craig Anthony Brelsford, March 2008 (Posthumous)
  • Corporal Michael Lockett, March 2008 (Killed on Operations in 2010)
  • Private Luke Cole, March 2008
  • Private Aaron Stuart Holmes, March 2008
  • Major Neil Darren Grant, March 2010
  • Captain Edward Robert Brown, March 2010
  • Corporal Craig Adkin, March 2010
  • Private Alexander Robert Kennedy, March 2010
  • Lance Corporal Alan Redford, March 2011
  • Corporal Mark Ward, March 2011
  • Corporal Carl Taylor, March 2012
  • Captain Richard Oakes, 2013

The Queen’s Gallantry Medal[edit]

This award is granted for gallantry of a high order. It may be granted posthumously and is not restricted to British subjects. Holders may use the post nominal letters 'QGM' after their name.

  • Captain Benedict Lincoln Stephens, March 2011
  • Private Daniel James Hellings, March 2011
  • Rifleman Benjamin John Taylor

Casualties[edit]

The Mercian Regiment has suffered 32 soldiers killed in action in Operations in Afghanistan (from 2007 to 2014). Over 150 soldiers suffered life changing injuries during this campaign.

Dress[edit]

Various "Golden Threads", representing the traditions of predecessor units, are incorporated in the Mercian Regiment's uniform:

Buff recognises the buff facing colour of the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment and also recognises the Buff/Holland backing to the Stafford Knot (an honour given by King George V in recognition of the 38th Foot having spent 57 years continuous service in the West Indies in the 18th Century) of the South Staffordshire and Staffordshire Regiments.

Titles Glider was awarded to the South Staffordshire Regiment (and the Kings Own Border Regiment) in 1951 in recognition of the 2nd Battalion taking part in the first major airborne landings in Sicily in 1943. This honour has been worn since that date. It is to be combined with the Stafford Knot to make it distinct from the Glider to be worn by the Duke of Lancasters’ Regiment. The Knot was worn by the forbears of the South and North Staffords (the 38th and 64th) since 1782 (and the 80th from 1793). It is an ancient symbol of the Earls of Stafford (since 1444) and is for ever associated with the Staffordshire Regiment.

The retention of the sword frog even when not carrying a sword is a distinction of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment in recognition of an incident in North America in 1746, when officers of the 29th Foot were attacked at mess by Indians. The Regiment has been known since as ‘The Ever Sworded’.

The Dettingen Oakleaves are a dress distinction of the Cheshire Regiment, awarded by King George II in recognition of the service of a detachment of the 22nd Regiment of Foot protecting the King at Dettingen in 1743. The motto FIRM is a distinction of The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment from the 36th (later 2nd Worcesters), coincidentally also from 1743, and carried by them on their Regimental Colour since 1773.

Rank distinctions in dark bronze are worn by the Staffordshire Regiment in barrack dress to recognise the black facings of the 64th Foot and the North Staffordshire Regiment.

Lincoln Green - facing colour of the 45th and the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment.

History[edit]

The Regiment has been deployed to Afghanistan (6 times) Iraq (once) and Cyprus (once) in 2014.

Alliances[edit]

All of the previous alliances of the three individual regiments were carried into the Mercian Regiment.

Affiliated Ships[edit]

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by
Yorkshire Regiment
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
The Royal Welsh

Lineage[edit]

Lineage
The Mercian Regiment
The 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment
The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (29th/45th Foot) The Worcestershire Regiment The 29th (Worcestershire) Regiment
The 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment
The Sherwood Foresters
(Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
The 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment
The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment
The Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's) The South Staffordshire Regiment The 38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot
The 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot
The North Staffordshire (Prince of Wales's) Regiment The 64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot
The 98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Army Loses 17 Major Units In Defence Cuts". Sky News. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mercian Regiment". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "1 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "4th Mechanised Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Army 2020 page 7". Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "2 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "3 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mercian Regiment: Final marches for disbanded battalion". BBC. Retrieved 6 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "4 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Regiment's 'strangled chicken' badge rejected, (telegraph.co.uk), accessed August 22, 2007
  11. ^ "Regimental Customs and Traditions". The Mercian Regiment. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 

External links[edit]