Mercian Regiment

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.

Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and
Foresters, and Staffords)
Active1 September 2007-
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeLine Infantry
Role1st Battalion - Armoured Infantry
2nd Battalion - Light Infantry
4th Battalion - Light Infantry
SizeThree battalions
Part ofKing's Division
Garrison/HQRHQ - Lichfield
1st Battalion - Bulford
2nd Battalion - Episkopi, Cyprus
4th Battalion - Wolverhampton
Nickname(s)The Heart of England's Infantry
Motto(s)"Stand Firm and Strike Hard"
MarchWha Wadna Fecht for Charlie/Under the Double Eagle (Quick)
Stand Firm and Strike Hard (Slow)
Mascot(s)Ram (Private Derby XXXII)
Colonel in ChiefThe Prince of Wales
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major General Ian John Cave
Tactical Recognition Flash
Arm BadgeStafford Knot and Glider
From Staffordshire Regiment


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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

The regiment has been deployed to Afghanistan (Herrick 6, Herrick 10, Herrick 12, Herrick 14, Herrick 15 and Herrick 17) and Iraq (Telic 11).[4]

In 2017 the regiment moved to the King's Division.[5]


1st Battalion

The 1st Battalion has deployed on three operational tours since its formation in 2007, one to Iraq and two to Afghanistan. It is an armoured infantry battalion, part of the 1st Armoured Infantry Brigade based at Bulford Camp, England.[6][7][8]

2nd Battalion

The 2nd Battalion deployed on three operational tours to Afghanistan. It is a Light Infantry battalion, part of 42 Infantry Brigade, and was based at Dale Barracks in Chester, England from July 2014, to August 2018, when it moved to Episcopi, Cyprus.[9]

3rd Battalion

The 3rd Battalion was an armoured infantry battalion, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade based in Bad Fallingbostel, Germany.[10] It was disbanded in July 2014[11] as part of the Army 2020 defence review.[3] On 13 January 2018 the colours of the 3rd Battalion were laid up in Lichfield Cathedral.[12][13][14][15][16]

4th Battalion

The 4th Battalion is the regiment's Army Reserve Light Infantry battalion. The battalion, whose HQ is based in Wolverhampton and Kidderminster, England, has five rifle companies, an HQ company, a mortar platoon and an anti-tank platoon. [17]

Regimental 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 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.[18] Accordingly, a slightly modified design featuring two colours of metal was adopted.[19]

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.[20] In July 2014, this proposal was approved, and the regiment was renamed as The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords).[21]


"Derby", a Swaledale ram, is the regimental mascot, a tradition 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.[22] His successor, known as Private Derby XXXI, was announced on 20 February 2016[23] but he died on 1 September 2017.[24]

In December 2017 Private Derby XXXII was presented to the Regiment[25] by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House.[26] Private Derby was received by Brigadier Williams, OBE, Colonel of the Regiment.[27]

Private Derby led the Tamworth Carnival in 2019.[28] According to his handlers this was the longest March Private Derby has done to date.[29]


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[30]
  • Collar badge: oak leaves and acorn from the Cheshire Regiment combined with the motto Firm from the Worcestershire Regiment[30]
  • 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.[30]
  • Sword frog on the Sam Browne Belt comes from the Worcestershire Regiment[31]
  • Officer's rank badges will be coloured bronze/gun metal, from the North Staffordshire Regiment[30]
  • Warrant officers' and NCO's rank badges: Black backing from Staffordshire Regiment.[30]
  • Cap badge backing: A square Lincoln green cloth backing worn behind the cap badge on the beret, from the Sherwood Foresters[30]
  • Lanyards: Originally, each battalion wore 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 was worn by those who were extra-regimentally employed: this multi-coloured lanyard is now worn by all in the regiment. [30]
  • 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 antecedent 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.[30]
  • Regimental Side Hat: black with buff inner crease and green piping and peak. The cap badge is in silver and gold wire embroidery.[30]
  • Pullover: Buff, worn by officers and WOs, from the Cheshire Regiment.[30]
  • Stable Belt: Buff, from the Cheshire Regiment, with a bronze locket bearing the cap badge in brass.[30]

Regimental museum

The Museum of the Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection) in Nottingham Castle is now (2018) closed due to redevelopment of the castle.[32]

Regimental Colonels


1880[35]1881 Childers Reforms[35]1921 Name changes1957 Defence White Paper1966 Defence White Paper1990 Options for Change2003 Delivering Security in a Changing World
22nd (Cheshire) Regiment of Foot The Cheshire Regiment The Mercian Regiment
29th (Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot The Worcestershire Regiment The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment
36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot
45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment)
renamed in 1902:
The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot
38th (1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot The South Staffordshire Regiment The Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's)
80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot
64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) The North Staffordshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's)
98th (Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot


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


The regiment has received the Freedom of several locations throughout its history; these include:

Order of precedence

Preceded by
Yorkshire Regiment
Infantry Order of Precedence Succeeded by
Royal Welsh


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  3. "Army Loses 17 Major Units In Defence Cuts". Sky News. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  4. "Mercian Regiment". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  5. "The Mercian Regiment Newsletter August 2017" (PDF). Bowyers. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  6. "1 Mercian". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  7. "4th Mechanised Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  8. "Army 2020" (PDF). p. 7. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
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  16. "Farewell to the colours". Retrieved 28 July 2019.
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  21. "New regiment will now keep its links to the area". Burton Mail. 3 July 2014. Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
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  23. "Mercian Regiment announces new Private Derby XXXI". BBC. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
  24. "Ram mascot of Mercian regiment, Private Derby XXXI, dies after illness". Nottingham Post. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
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