The Mercian Regiment, the 2nd battalion of which is based at Dale Barracks in Upton-by-Chester , has welcomed its new mascot,
Private Derby XXXI is the 31st in a historic line of Swaledale Rams that has proudly represented the regiment and its antecedents. Officially selected by The Duke of Devonshire from his flock at Chatsworth Estate he will be based at RHQ Mercian, Lichfield.
Derby will now begin his training for life in the regiment and a whole host of tasks which include leading soldiers on parade and marching out the players at the home of Derby County FC and numerous other official regimental events.
Training will be conducted under the watchful eye of Ram Major, Corporal Phillip Thornton and Ram Orderly, Private Stuart McLean.
Corporal Thornton said: “We are delighted to welcome Derby the 31st to the regiment.
“It is a great honour to be his official handler, and both myself and Private McLean are looking forward to leading Derby during his first event.”
This weekend, our regimental mascot will be given his first task; helping to form a guard of honour for an Aviva Premiership rugby union tie between Worcester Warriors and Sale Sharks at Sixways Stadium, Worcester.
The first Private Derby was acquired in April 1858 by the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot, at the siege and capture of Kotah during the Indian Mutiny Campaign of 1857 - 1858.
The commanding officer noticed a fine fighting ram tethered in a temple yard, and directed Private Sullivan of the Number 1 Company to take the ram into his possession. It marched nearly 3,000 miles with the regiment through Central India and was present at six battles. In recognition, Derby I received the Indian Mutiny Medal in 1862 at Poona.
Private Derby is held on the official strength of the regiment. As one of a very few official mascots, he has his own regimental number, is paid by the Crown and draws his rations like any other soldier.
The previous mascot, Lance Corporal Derby XXX died in late 2015. View a gallery of him being honoured at the regiment's Foundation Day on September 1, 2015.