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Mercian Regiment marches to mark merger of 1st and 2nd Battalions

Soldiers from the newly formed 1st Battalion exercised their freedom to march through Chester, Tamworth and Nottingham last week.

The parades, led by The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas, follow the merging of the regiment’s 1st and 2nd Battalions on 1 September.

The Mercian Regiment was formed in 2007 at Tamworth Castle by HM King Charles III (then HRH Prince Charles), who is Colonel-in-Chief.

The regiment was granted the Freedom of Tamworth and the Freedom of Nottingham in 2007 and the Freedom of Chester in 2008.

This is the oldest and highest civic honour that can be bestowed on a military unit and gives soldiers the right to march though a town or city with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying.

The Battalion is now stronger than ever and goes forward carrying the spirit, pride and traditions of each of our historical Regiments and Battalions. Lieutenant Colonel Dean Canham OBE, Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment

Lieutenant Colonel Dean Canham OBE, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, said:

“We are delighted to have visited Chester, Tamworth and Nottingham once again and exercised our freedom of the boroughs. They are great supporters of the Armed Forces, and many of our soldiers come from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas.

“The Regiment remains committed to serving the people across our home recruitment area and will continue to do so in the years to come.

“The Battalion is now stronger than ever and goes forward carrying the spirit, pride and traditions of each of our historical Regiments and Battalions.”

The Mercian Regiment, known as ‘The Heart of England’s Infantry’, recruits from the five counties that formed the ancient Kingdom of Mercia: Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, as well as the Black Country and the Wirral.

The merging of The Mercian Regiment’s 1st and 2nd Battalions is part of the British Army’s most radical transformation in 20 years, called Future Soldier.

Future Soldier is about delivering a modern British Army that is fit for the challenges of the future. The Army will become more lethal, agile and expeditionary, able to fight and win wars and will compete in the grey-zone between peace and war.

As part of the Future Soldier changes, The Mercian Regiment falls under the 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, the cornerstone of the war-fighting division’s close combat capability.

Made up of one regular (1st) battalion, based at Bulford, and one reserve (4th) battalion, based at Wolverhampton, The Mercian Regiment utilises the devastating power and speed of its armoured role to fearsome effect on exercise and operations.

The Mercian soldier is at the heart of the action, providing the fighting element of the British Army’s forces.

Ready to decisively engage the enemy in close quarter combat, Mercians are highly skilled with sophisticated weapons systems ranging from the SA80 A2 rifle through to the Warrior Armoured Infantry fighting vehicle with its 30mm cannon.

The Regiment has deployed on 18 operational tours since its formation, including seven tours of Afghanistan and two tours of Iraq, making it one of the most operationally experienced regiments in the British Army.

Mercian soldiers are renowned for their professionalism and courage and are fiercely proud of their regiment. They are highly regarded throughout the British Army and are regularly called upon for operations both in peacetime and during armed conflict.