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Mercian Regiment

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Overview

The Mercian Regiment
Cap Badge of the Mercian Regiment
Active 1 September 2007-
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Line Infantry
Role 1st Battalion - Light Infantry
2nd Battalion - Light Infantry
3rd Battalion - Armoured Infantry
4th Battalion - Light Infantry
Size Four battalions
Part of Prince of Wales' Division
Garrison/HQ RHQ - Lichfield
1st Battalion - Catterick
2nd Battalion - Holywood
3rd Battalion - Fallingbostel, Germany
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 XXIX)
Commanders
Colonel in Chief HRH The Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Brigadier A. Sharpe, OBE
Insignia
Tactical Recognition Flash Mercian TRF.svg
Arm Badge Stafford Knot and Glider
From Staffordshire Regiment
Abbreviation MERCIAN


Cap Badge of the Mercian Regiment - Mercian Regiment
Cap Badge of the Mercian Regiment

The Mercian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the British Army, formed by the amalgamation of three existing regiments on 1 September 2007.[1]

The regiment has three regular army battalions and one Army Reserve battalion, though this is set to decrease in the next decade to two battalions as the 3rd Battalion is disbanded.[2] It is called the Mercian Regiment as it generally recruits from within the territory occupied by the former Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.

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 consists of three regular battalions, plus a territorial battalion, and was created through the merger of three single battalion regiments: The 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment became 1st Battalion, Mercian Regiment. The 1st Battalion, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment became the 2nd Battalion, Mercian Regiment and the 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment became the 3rd Battalion, Mercian 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.[3]

1st Battalion

The 1st Battalion is a light role battalion, part of the 4th Mechanized Brigade based at Catterick garrison in North Yorkshire, England.[4][5] It will move to Bulford as an armoured infantry battalion under Army 2020.[6][7]

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Battalion is also a light role battalion, part of 12th Mechanized Brigade based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[8]

3rd Battalion

The 3rd Battalion is an armoured infantry battalion, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade based in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.[9] It is set to be disbanded as part of the Army 2020 defence review.[2]

4th Battalion

The 4th Battalion is the regiment's Army Reserve Light Role Infantry battalion.[10]

Regimental dress distinctions

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 traditional links, except 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.[11] Accordingly a slightly modified design featuring two colours of metal was adopted.[12]

Mercian Regiment in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 18 March 2010 - Mercian Regiment
Mercian Regiment in Ashbourne, Derbyshire on 18 March 2010

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[13]
  • Collar badge: oak leaves and acorn from the Cheshire Regiment combined with the motto Firm from the Worcestershire Regiment[13]
  • 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.[13]
  • Sword frog on the Sam Browne Belt comes from the Worcestershire Regiment
  • Officer's rank badges will be coloured bronze /gun metal, from the North Staffordshire Regiment[13]
  • Warrant officers' and NCO's rank badges: Black backing from Staffordshire Regiment.[13]
  • Cap badge backing: A square Lincoln green cloth backing worn behind the cap badge on the beret, from the Sherwood Foresters[13]
  • Lanyards: Each battalion is to retain 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 also exists, for those who are extra-regimentally employed.[13]
  • 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 antecendant 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.[13]
  • Regimental Side Hat: black with buff inner crease and green piping and peak. The cap badge is in silver and gold wire embroidery.[13]
  • Pullover: Buff, worn by officers and WOs, from the Cheshire Regiment.[13]
  • Stable Belt: Buff, from the Cheshire Regiment, with a bronze locket bearing the cap badge in brass.[13]

Mascot

"Lance Corporal Derby", a Swaledale ram was the regimental mascot, inherited from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment. Unfortunately lance corporal Derby XXIX passed away on the 6th December 2013. A new ‘Derby’ has been kindly offered to the regiment by his Grace the 12th Duke of Devonshire KCVO CBE. The selection procedure is in process and it is hoped the new Pte Derby XXX will be available in the New Year. [14]

History

The regiment has been deployed to Afghanistan where Sergeant Michael Lockett was awarded the Military Cross in 2007; he was killed in 2009.[15] Recent casualties from this deployment have included Warrant Officer Ian Fisher (3rd Battalion) in November 2013,[16] Lance Corporal Jamie Webb (1st Battalion) in March 2013;[17] Captain Rupert Bowers (2nd Battalion) in March 2012; and Privates Matthew Haseldin (2nd Battalion) and Gareth Bellingham (3rd Battalion) in 2011. There were ten casualties in 2010, all from the 1st Battalion, and five including Lockett in 2009, all from the 2nd Battalion.[16]

Alliances

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

Order of precedence

Lineage

References

  1. ^ Three infantry regiments to merge, (bbc.co.uk), accessed September 1, 2007
  2. ^ a b "Army Loses 17 Major Units In Defence Cuts". Sky News. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mercian Regiment". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "1 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "4th Mechanised Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Regular Army basing matrix By formation and unit". Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Army 2020 page 7". Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "2 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "3 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "4 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Regiment's 'strangled chicken' badge rejected, (telegraph.co.uk), accessed August 22, 2007
  12. ^ "Regimental Customs and Traditions". The Mercian Regiment. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-30. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dress Regulations for the Mercian Regiment". Ministry of Defence. January 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Mascots". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  15. ^ BBC News: Soldier Michael Lockett died on last day in Helmand (accessed 27 March 2013)
  16. ^ a b BBC News: UK military deaths in Afghanistan (accessed 27 November 2013)
  17. ^ BBC News: MoD names Afghan death soldier (accessed 27 March 2013)
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