The Mercian Regiment has welcomed a four-legged soldier to their ranks in the form of Private Derby 30th.

The regimental mascot, a Swaledale ram, was presented to the colonel of the regiment, Brigadier Andrew Williams, by the Duchess of Devonshire at Chesterfield Town Hall.

The tradition of the ram dates back to 1858 when the first Private Derby was acquired by the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot at the siege and capture of Kotah during the Indian mutiny campaign of 1857–1858.

The earlier replacement rams were presented to the regiment in whichever part of the world they were serving in at the time.

However, since 1912, it has become the tradition of the Duke of Devonshire to select a Swaledale ram from his Chatsworth Park flock and present it to the regiment.

The regimental mascot, a Swaledale ram was presented to the colonel of the regiment, Brigadier Andrew Williams, by the Duchess of Devonshire at Chesterfield Town Hall
The regimental mascot, a Swaledale ram was presented to the colonel of the regiment, Brigadier Andrew Williams, by the Duchess of Devonshire at Chesterfield Town Hall
 

Private Derby 30th replaces Private Derby 29th who died in December.

Brigadier Williams thanked the Duchess of Devonshire on behalf of the regiment for perpetuating the tradition.

When on parade Private Derby wears a coat of scarlet emblazoned with the regiment’s battle honours.

Also on his coat is a replica of his India mutiny medal and his general service medal 1962.

On his forehead is a silver plate embossed with the regimental cap badge.

Private Derby has two handlers: Ram Major Corporal Andy Skinner and Ram Orderly Private Joshua Roberts, whose duty it is to look after him at all times.

Cpl Skinner said: “He was very well behaved on the parade. He has a friendly personality and likes the attention he gets on parade.”

Following the presentation of the new mascot the soldiers of B Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment exercised the Freedom of the Borough.

The parade was the last of a series that also saw B Company march through Ashbourne and Mansfield.

The Mercian Regiment recruits from Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.