08:00 Tuesday 21 January 2014

SLIDESHOW - Ceremony marks changing of the colours

Written byROB SMYTH

FOR 15 years it has been a proud symbol of the countless brave men and women from Burton who have served their country.

However, the old West Midlands Regimental colours were laid up in the first prestigious ceremony of its kind at the weekend.

Servicemen from the 4th Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (4Mercian), marched into St Peter’s Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton carrying the flag that has served them so well, later marching out with their new Colours, which were presented by Prince Charles last year following an earlier reorganisation of the army.

The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Major Sylvia Parkin, acting as the Queen’s representative, the Mayor of East Staffordshire Michael Rodgers and the Colonel of The Mercian Regiment Brigadier, Andrew Williams.

The old Colours were taken in by a military colour party in full uniform, marching to a fanfare, which was then followed by a church service.

The West Midlands Regiment (WMR) was formed on April 5, 1999, as part of a wider reorganisation of the Territorial Army (TA).

It was created by the amalgamation of four TA infantry battalions: the 5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (5 RRF); the 4th Battalion, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (4 WFR); the 3rd Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment (3 STAFFORDS); and the 5th Battalion, The Light Infantry (5 LI).

During its eight years, the WMR deployed formed composite companies for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as providing large numbers of volunteers for operations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Soldiers from Burton formed part of C Company (STAFFORDS).

In 2007, as part of a wider reorganisation of both the regular and the Territorial Army, the WMR united with the Cheshire Regiment companies of the King’s and Cheshire Regiment and the WFR Company of the East of England Regiment to form 4Mercian.

The WMR’s colours remained the colours of 4Mercian until the newly-formed regiment was presented with new colours by the Prince of Wales in Worcester on June 6, 2013.

The origin of the custom of carrying colours goes back to the days of early man, who fixed his family badge to a pole and held it aloft in battle for the dual purpose of indicating his position and acting as a rallying point should the occasion arise.

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