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 deployed on eight operational deployments since its formation.
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 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.
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.
The Regiment has been deployed to Afghanistan (Herrick 6, Herrick 10, Herrick 12, Herrick 14, Herrick 15 and Herrick 17) and Iraq (Telic 11).
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. Accordingly, a slightly modified design featuring two colours of metal was adopted.
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. In July 2014, this proposal was approved, and the regiment was renamed as The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords).
Mercian Regiment in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 18 March 2010
Grave of a Mercian Regiment veteran
“Derby”, a Swaledale ram, is the regimental mascot, 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. His successor, now back to Private Derby XXXI, was announced on 20 February 2016
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