MILITARY chiefs have confirmed that links to the former Staffordshire regiment will not be lost following the disbanding of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths revealed that senior officials had been in touch to tell him the historic lineage of the Staffords would not be lost, as a new name will now be used for the two-battalion regiment – The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords).
The news comes only days after hundreds of members of 3rd Mercian paraded through the streets of Burton to mark their return from Afghanistan and also the last days of the battalion, which has been axed due to a reorganisation of the Army.
Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “It is fantastic news that the name of the Staffords will live on and will continue to honour the people who have been proud to serve under the banner in years gone by.
“We were all disappointed when news broke that the 3rd Mercian regiment would cease to exit and people feared that it would put at risk the historic link with the Staffords.
“I wrote to the Secretary of State for Defence, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron, in a bid to make sure that the name and the history associated with it would not be lost with the plans.
“I am delighted that the Government has decided to see sense and make sure that Mercian Regiment is forever with the Staffords.
“Many thought that the recent march through the town would be the last one we would see, but this news will mean that Burton will continue to see our brave soldiers representing our area in the future and be able to applaud them when they return home.”
The 250 men from the 3rd Battalion are being fed into the 1st or 2nd Battalion.
The Government announced in 2012 that the regiment would lose one of its battalions under a programme of cuts.
Commanding Officer Lt Col Chris Davies said: “Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions will have the name of the Staffords in their title.”