Hundreds of people have lined the streets of Derby and Worcester to say farewell to the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment prior to their formal amalgamation with 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment.
The historic parades saw the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment exercise the Freedoms of both cities led by the Regimental Mascot, a Swaledale ram named Private Derby XXXII. Music was provided by the British Army Band Catterick.
The Mercian Regiment known as ‘The Heart of England’s Infantry’ recruits from the five counties that form the ancient kingdom of Mercia: Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire as well as the Black Country and the Wirral.
It was established in 2007 with the merger of the Cheshire, Staffordshire and Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and has a reserve battalion based in the Midlands.
"We will continue to Stand Firm and Strike Hard and, although there will no longer be a 2nd Battalion, the same bonds of comradeship will remain.” Lieutenant Colonel Richard Grover, Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment
Amongst the crowds in Derby was the parents, grandparents, auntie, brother and sister of Private Hemfrey who said it was a proud moment to march through the city.
Fellow soldier Private Anthony said: “It was a brilliant feeling, especially being a Derby lad. It was amazing to see the people on the streets. It means a lot to see the people come out to watch.”
Commanding Officer of 2 Mercian, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Grover, said: “The roots of the Mercian Regiment will always remain deep in the Midlands. Its towns and cities are very special to us and are a part of the fabric of the regiment. Its people have been a constant support and it is a relationship built on respect and loyalty and something we never take for granted.”
He continued: “The two battalions will officially merge on 1st September, with the 1st Battalion remaining at Bulford, Wiltshire."