The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords) is an infantry regiment of the British Army, which is recruited from five of the counties that formed the ancient kingdom of Mercia. Known as 'The Heart of England's Infantry', it was formed on 1 September 2007 by the amalgamation of three existing regiments. The Regiment has had fifteen operational deployments since its formation.[3]

Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and
Foresters, and Staffords)
Cap badge of the regiment
Active1 September 2007 – present
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine Infantry
Role1st Battalion – Armoured Infantry
4th BattalionArmy Reserve – Armoured Infantry
SizeTwo battalions
1,155 personnel[1]
1st Battalion – 732[1]
4th Battalion – 423[1]
Part ofQueen's Division
Garrison/HQRHQ - Lichfield
1st Battalion - Bulford
4th Battalion - Wolverhampton
Nickname(s)The Heart of England's Infantry
Motto(s)"Stand Firm Strike Hard"
MarchWha Wadna Fecht for Charlie/Under the Double Eagle (Quick)[2]
Stand Firm and Strike Hard (Slow)
Mascot(s)Ram (Lance Corporal Derby XXXII)
Colonel-in-ChiefThe Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lieutenant General Ian Cave
Tactical Recognition Flash
Arm BadgeStafford Knot and Glider
From Staffordshire Regiment
AbbreviationMERCIAN MERC

History 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.[4]

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.[5]

The regiment originally had 3 regular army battalions and one Army Reserve battalion, though the 3rd Battalion was disbanded, as part of the restructuring of the British Army,[6] in July 2014.[7] It had been part of the 7th Armoured Brigade based in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.[8] The regiment further restructred in September 2022 when the 2nd Battalion merged with the 1st Battalion.[9] This happened as a result of the Integrated Review.[10]

The regiment was deployed to Afghanistan (Herrick 6, Herrick 10, Herrick 12, Herrick 14, Herrick 15, Herrick 17 and Herrick 19) and to Iraq (Telic 11).[11]

In 2017 the regiment moved to the King's Division.[12]

Structure edit

Regimental Headquarters edit

The regimental headquarters is situated at DMS Whittington in Lichfield, with outstations in Chester and Nottingham.[13]

1st Battalion edit

The 1st Battalion has deployed on five operational tours since its formation in 2007, one to Iraq, two to Afghanistan, one to Ukraine, and one to Estonia. It is an armoured infantry battalion, part of the 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team[14] based at Bulford Camp, England.[15][16][17]

4th Battalion edit

The 4th Battalion is the regiment's Army Reserve Armoured Infantry battalion. The battalion, whose HQ is based in Wolverhampton and Kidderminster, England, has 2 rifle companies, a support and an HQ company.[18]

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, which was junior to the amalgamating regiments.[19] Accordingly, a slightly modified design featuring two colours of metal was adopted.[20]

In 2012, following the announcement that the 3rd Battalion (ex-Staffordshire Regiment) was to be disbanded, a proposal was submitted to the Army to have the name of the Mercian Regiment changed to reflect its entire lineage and maintain the Staffords name.[21] In July 2014, this proposal was approved, and the regiment was renamed as The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords).[22]

Mascot edit

Private Derby XXX, a Swaledale ram and mascot for the Mercian Regiment
Mercian Regiment in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 18 March 2010

"Derby", a Swaledale ram, is the regimental mascot, a tradition inherited from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. The 30th iteration of the Mascot was known as Lance Corporal Derby XXX, before he died on 27 November 2015.[23] His successor, known as Private Derby XXXI, was announced on 20 February 2016[24] but he died on 1 September 2017.[25]

In December 2017 Private Derby XXXII was presented to the Regiment[26] by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House.[27] Private Derby was received by Brigadier Williams, OBE, Colonel of the Regiment.[28]

Private Derby led the Tamworth Carnival in 2019.[29] According to his handlers this was the longest March Private Derby has done to date.[30]

The regiment also maintains loose links through its Regimental Headquarters with the former mascot of the Staffordshire Regiment, Watchman, who now carries out his duties as part of the Staffordshire Regiment Association.[31]

Dress edit

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

  • Arm badge: a gold wire Stafford knot and glider badge with a backing of "Brown Holland" material on a black felt patch from the Staffordshire Regiment[32]
  • Collar badge: oak leaves and acorn from the Cheshire Regiment combined with the motto Firm from the Worcestershire Regiment[32]
  • Facing colour: buff, from the Cheshire Regiment. To be worn on full dress uniform, mess dress and as piping on No.1 dress shoulder straps.[32]
  • Sword frog on the Sam Browne Belt comes from the Worcestershire Regiment[33]
  • Officer's rank badges will be coloured bronze/gun metal, from the North Staffordshire Regiment[32]
  • Warrant officers' and NCO's rank badges: Black backing from Staffordshire Regiment.[32]
  • Cap badge backing: A square Lincoln green cloth backing worn behind the cap badge on the beret, from the Sherwood Foresters[32]
  • Lanyards: Originally, each battalion wore a distinctively coloured lanyard on No.2 dress: red cerise for the 1st battalion, Lincoln green for the 2nd, black for the 3rd and Mercian blue for the 4th. A regimental pattern with twists of cerise, buff and green was worn by those who were extra-regimentally employed: this multi-coloured lanyard is now worn by all in the regiment.[32]
  • Tactical Recognition Flashes: The regiment's TRF is a 3 vertical striped diamond with cerise on the left, buff in the middle and Lincoln green on the right. Each Battalion also has their own, the 1st and 2nd Battalions use their antecedent regiment's flashes, buff and cerise for the 1st and cerise and Lincoln green for the 2nd. The 3rd battalion has a black diamond with the Stafford knot and the 4th Battalion has a blue diamond with the Mercian Eagle on it.[32]
  • Regimental Side Hat: black with buff inner crease and green piping and peak. The cap badge is in silver and gold wire embroidery.[32]
  • Pullover: Buff, worn by officers and WOs, from the Cheshire Regiment.[32]
  • Stable Belt: Buff, from the Cheshire Regiment, with a bronze locket bearing the cap badge in brass.[32]

Band edit

The Band of the Mercian Regiment is the regimental military band of the Mercian Regiment. Based in Wolverhampton, the Band is composed of volunteer musicians that include many from civilian careers. The band undertakes a variety of performances international, national, and local parades/festivals and concerts. In recent years, the band has visited countries such as Cyprus, participated in events like the Buxton Military Tattoo and in 2014, became the first and only reserve band based outside of London to performs during the changing of the Queen's Guard at both Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace. It also has taken part in the Household Division's Beating Retreat on Horse Guards Parade. One of its more notable directors was Captain Anthony Hodgetts, who after rising through the ranks of British Army Bands, served twelve years as Director of Music of the Royal Army of Oman.[34]

On the 1 June 2019, the Mercian Regiment Band led the Tamworth carnival though the town. According to the musicians this was the longest march the band had done to date.[35]

On the 10 October 2019, Mercian Band Bugler Msn Wykes performed the Last Post and Rouse at the National Memorial Arboretum.[36] He then also performed the Last Post and Rouse at the War memorial in St Editha's Church Tamworth, Tamworth being the historical capital of Mercia.[37]

Regimental Museums edit

The Mercian Regiment supports four museums that hold collections of the Mercian Regiment and its antecedent regiments:

Regimental Colonels edit

  • 2007–2008: Maj Gen. C. G. S. Hughes CBE
  • 2008–2013: Brig. Andrew Sharpe OBE[38]
  • 2013–2018: Brig. Andrew P. Williams OBE[38]
  • 2018–present: Lieutenant General Ian J. Cave CB[39]

Lineage edit

1880[40] 1881 Childers Reforms[40] 1921 Name changes 1957 Defence White Paper 1966 Defence White Paper 1990 Options for Change 2003 Delivering Security in a Changing World
22nd (Cheshire) Regiment of Foot The Cheshire Regiment The Mercian Regiment
29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot The Worcestershire Regiment The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment
36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot
45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment)
renamed in 1902:
The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot
38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot The South Staffordshire Regiment The Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's)
80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot
64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's)
98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot

Alliances edit

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

Freedoms edit

The regiment has received the Freedom of several locations throughout its history; these include:[41]

Order of precedence edit

Preceded by Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "Army – Question for Ministry of Defence". p. 1. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Regimental Quick March - The Mercian Regiment".
  3. ^ "The Mercian Regiment". The Mercian Regimental Charity. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  4. ^ "In detail: army restructuring plans". BBC. 16 December 2004. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Mercian Regiment". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Army Loses 17 Major Units In Defence Cuts". Sky News. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Mercian Regiment: Final marches for disbanded battalion". BBC News. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  8. ^ "3 Mercian disbanded". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ "Mercian Regiment". The Mercian Regimental Charity. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Defence Secretary oral statement on the Defence Command Paper". GOV.UK. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  11. ^ "Mercian Regiment". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  12. ^ "The Mercian Regiment Newsletter August 2017" (PDF). Bowyers. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Regimental Headquarters". Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  14. ^ "British Army Website".
  15. ^ "1 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  16. ^ "4th Mechanised Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Army 2020" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  18. ^ "4 Mercian". The Mercian Regimental Charity. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  19. ^ "News". 15 March 2016. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008 – via
  20. ^ "Regimental Customs and Traditions". The Mercian Regiment. 2009. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ "MoD to look at Staffords endorsement". BBC News. BBC. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  22. ^ "New regiment will now keep its links to the area". Burton Mail. 3 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Derby XXX – a British Army ram promoted to Lance Corporal as regimental mascot – dies". Western Morning News. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Mercian Regiment announces new Private Derby XXXI". BBC. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  25. ^ "Ram mascot of Mercian regiment, Private Derby XXXI, dies after illness". Nottingham Post. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  26. ^ Video of Private Derby being presented to Regiment, JAMedia-UK, 12 May 2019, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 24 July 2019
  27. ^ Video interview with Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth, JAMedia-UK, 27 May 2019, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 24 July 2019
  28. ^ Brigadier Williams OBE, Mercian Regiment discussing Private Derby, JAMedia-UK, 27 May 2019, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 24 July 2019
  29. ^ Video of Private Derby leading Tamworth Carnival 2019 JAMedia-UK (2 June 2019), Mercians Take Salute Tamworth 2019, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 24 July 2019
  30. ^ Interview with Private Derby's handlers, JAMedia-UK, 2 June 2019, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 24 July 2019
  31. ^ "Stand Firm Strike Hard - 2 MERCIAN". Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dress Regulations for the Mercian Regiment" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. June 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  33. ^ "Regimental customs and traditions". The Museum of the Mercian Regiment. Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Buxton Military Tattoo - The Band of The Mercian Regiment". 1 September 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  35. ^ "2019 Tamworth Carnival: The Band of The Mercian Regiment lead the Carnival". 1 June 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  36. ^ "Msn. Wykes of The Band of The Mercian Regiment Playing Last Post and Rouse at the NMA". 10 October 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  37. ^ "Msn. Wykes of The Band of The Mercian Regiment Playing Last Post and Rouse atSt Editha's Church Tamworth". 10 October 2019. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  38. ^ a b "Mercian Regiment receives new Colours". GOV.UK. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  39. ^ "Lasting tribute to Tamworth soldiers killed in Iraq". Birmingham Mail. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  40. ^ a b The London Gazette, Page 3300-3301 (1 July 1881). "Childers Reform". No. 24992. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 27 October 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ "Regimental Freedoms". The Mercian Regimental Charity. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  42. ^ "Mercian Regiment Awarded Freedom of Crewe". Forces News. 18 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2024.

External links edit