The Mercian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the British Army, recruited from the five counties that formed the ancient kingdom of Mercia. Known as The Heart of England’s Infantry, it was formed on 1st September 2007 at Tamworth Castle by the amalgamation of three existing regiments. The Regiment has deployed on numerous operational tours since its formation, inc, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus, South Sudan, making the Mercian Regiment one of the most operationally experienced regiments in the British Army.
The Mercian Regiment is one of three regiments in The King's Division and is considered to be a regiment of the line. The Regiment consists of three battalions of infantry, two regular and one reserve. The role of each battalion (light and armoured), fighting brigade in which it sits and structure (operational Order of Battle) may change over time. However the traditions of the battalions rarely change and it is this that will be focused upon here.
The 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment & The 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords) is a regular battalion of The Mercian Regiment. The Battalion was formed from an amalgamation of 1, 2 and 3 MERCIAN in 2014, making it affiliated to all five counties.
The 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire, Worcesters and Foresters, and Staffords) is an Army Reserve battalion of The Mercian Regiment. It is regionally based, with companies spread across the five counties that form Mercia. The regiment was formed of a number of antecedent regiments outside of those of the regular battalions. These include elements of 3 WFR, 3 STAFFORDS, The West Midlands Regiment, The Kings and Cheshire Regiment and The East of England Regiment.
This battle is celebrated by the Regiment in commemoration of the action of the 22nd Foot, against the combined armies of the Baluchi Ameers of Scinde, and the Sikhs of the Punjab, in India (now Pakistan).
All ranks wear oak leaves on their head dress on this day.
This battle is celebrated by the Regiment to commemorate the action by the 80th Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) against the Sikhs of the Punjab in the First Sikh War. CSgt Kirkland captured the Sikh “Black Standard,” and this can be seen today in the Regimental Chapel at Lichfield Cathedral. In commemoration of this event, the battalion Colours are entrusted to the Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess on Ferozeshah Day.
This battle is celebrated by the Regiment in commemoration of the action by the 95th Foot at the Alma in the Crimea. When both Colour Ensigns were struck down the Regimental Colour was seized by Pte Keenan and carried to and planted on the Great Redoubt. In commemoration, the Regimental Colour is entrusted to a private soldier to troop through the ranks of the battalion on Alma Day.
In 1794 the 29th Foot were serving at sea to reinforce the shortages of sailors in the Royal Navy at the time. They took part in Admiral Howe’s famous victory at the Battle of Ushant on the Glorious First of June. They were awarded the naval crown in commemoration of their service. This is carried forward into the Mercian Regiment on the Colours and drums
This commemorated the action of the 80th Foot for service against the French forces in Egypt in 1801. The device is shown on the Mercian Regimental Colours and drums.
This commemorates the 98th Foot’s actions during the First China War (also called The Opium War) of 1842. The device is shown on the Regimental Colour and drums.
In 1854 at the Battle of Inkerman in Crimea, the 95th Foot captured some Russian drums. These had a distinctive “black and white sharks tooth dicing” on the drum hoops. This was then replicated on the Battalion’s drums. This tradition is continued into the Mercian Regiment, where all battalion drums carry the “Inkerman Dicing” on the hoops.
This unique lanterne des mortes memorial, in the form of a lighthouse, stands on a hill above the village of Crich close to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border. From it you can see seven counties. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 11,409 Sherwood Foresters who fell in the Great War; the 1,520 who fell in the Second World War; those who gave their lives for their country between 1945 - 1970; those of The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment who have fallen since 1970 until 2007, and those of The Mercian Regiment since 2007. A new memorial stone, on site, recording the names of those who have fallen since 1945 is located at the memorial.
The Memorial has been continued by the Mercian Regiment, and is now known as The Mercian Regimental Memorial. It has a full time warden who lives with his family in a cottage on site, maintains the Memorial, and runs a visitors’ tea shop. There is an annual pilgrimage to the site on the first Sunday in July, to commemorate the opening of the battle of the Somme in 1916.
This contains memorials, tablets and old colours, including those used in the Crimean War, Second Sikh War, Second Burmese War, Persian War, Indian Mutiny and Zulu War. The Cathedral is the spiritual home of The Mercian Regiment, and all Colours of The Mercian Regiment’s battalions are laid up here.