Stoke & Staffordshire

Mercian Regiment makes final march through Lichfield

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Media captionSoldiers from the 3rd Battalion, the Mercians, have recently returned from Afghanistan

Members of an army battalion which is disbanding have made their final march through Lichfield, where they were formed.

The soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, returned from a nine-month tour of Afghanistan in April.

Soldiers said the day was "poignant".

The government announced in 2012 that the regiment would lose one of its battalions as part of a programme of cuts.

'Separate ways'

The men will join either the 1st or 2nd battalions. The regiment used to be known as The Staffordshire Regiment and recruits soldiers from Staffordshire, the West Midlands and Birmingham. It was founded in Lichfield in 1705.

Maj Jim Faux said: "It marks the end of the battalion but also the start of the new Mercian regiment.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from the people of the Midlands and it is fitting we end here in Lichfield. This is where we started and this is where we will end."

Image caption Pte Jack Long said the battalion was "massively proud" to be marching through Lichfield

The 250 soldiers have spent the week marching through towns across the Midlands, including Stafford, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, Tamworth, Burton-upon-Trent, and Cannock.

Pte Jack Long said: "It's been a big day today because, after this, we are all going our separate ways.

"There are some blokes here who have done two tours of Afghanistan so to be split up is quite a big thing. But we are massively proud to be marching through Lichfield."

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