A Midland MP has called on Army chiefs to ensure the name of the 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment lives on to honour those who have served within its ranks.
The historic regiment, formerly the Staffords, will be lost as part of defence cuts which will see UK troop numbers cut from 102,000 to 82,000.
Since its formation in July 1705, the unit had fought in every major British conflict – and seen 13 members awarded the highest military honour, the Victoria Cross.
Now MP Michael Fabricant, whose Lichfield constituency is home to Whittington Barracks, has called for safeguards to be put in place to preserve the jobs and identity of the 3rd Battalion.
In a letter to the Colonel of the Mercian Regiment, Brigadier Andrew Sharpe OBE, he states: “Following the announcement last week by the Secretary of State for Defence on Army 2020, I am saddened that the 3rd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment, The Staffords, will be disbanded as a regular unit.
‘‘I have received assurances that ‘most if not all of the 3rd Battalion will be absorbed into other battalions and regiments’.
“The Secretary of State has said that it will be up to the Mercian Regiment to determine how the Staffords name, identity and traditions can be maintained within the Mercian Regiment.
“It is important that serving soldiers have an assured future and that the traditions of the Staffords – originally raised in Lichfield – be maintained. I would very much appreciate your thoughts on how this might be achieved.”
Mr Fabricant added: “Following the dissolution of the Staffordshire Regiment in 2004 by the last Government, assurances were given that the traditions of the regiment would be maintained.
“I intend to hold the Government to that and, with other Staffordshire MPs, will also be writing in a similar vein to the Prime Minister about this.”
In 2007 the Staffordshire Regiment merged with two others to become the Mercian Regiment.