MP joins group fighting to save Mercian's identity
Written by ROB SMYTH
BURTON’S MP has joined forces with seven other parliamentarians seeking assurances from the Prime Minister that the identity of the former Staffordshire regiment will not be lost.
Andrew Griffiths signed a strongly worded letter to David Cameron after the Government revealed that the 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment would cease to exist by 2020.
The letter expressed ‘deep concern’ at the move and also urged the Government to ‘do all it could to encourage the regiment to preserve and cherish the symbols, traditions and heritage of 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment’.
It stated: “We understand that savings must be made. However, we also know that the decision to withdraw 3rd Mercian will be distressing for all those currently serving, particularly those that might face redundancy, for their families and for those former Staffords who proudly recall their service.”
Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “While it seems little can be done to save the regiment, which in itself is very sad, we must do whatever we can to fight to keep the name for everyone involved with 3rd Mercian. This is for all those people currently serving and for all of those who have given their lives or been left injured while fighting for Staffordshire and their country.
“It is important that we retain some vestige of the regiment to honour its history but also so that we do not miss out on Staffordshire based recruits joining the armed forces because we have lost the identity of the former Staffordshire regiment.”
A meeting has also been sought with Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss the implications of the proposals to service personnel, their families and veterans and to press her to retain the name of the 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment.
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant added: “The Staffordshire Regiment became the 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) in September 2007.
“It is that battalion that is being disbanded though the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has given me personal assurances that virtually all serving soldiers in the battalion will be deployed elsewhere within the Army.”