Bleating the competition: Congratulations to Darby the Ram on his promotion! ...
DERBY THE RAM PROMOTED TO LANCE CORPORAL ON OUR FORMATION DAY
Our very own mascot Derby XXX was promoted to Lance Corporal immediately following yesterday's Formation Day parade.
The Swaledale Ram, one of only seven official mascots in the British Army, hoofed it onto parade on Tuesday (1 September 2015) as the The Mercian Regiment celebrated our Formation Day at Dale Barracks, Chester. The occasion was hosted by our 2nd Battalion as our 1st Battalion are currently deployed to Canada as part of the Army's largest armoured infantry exercise.
The ram, formerly Private Derby 30th was promoted to Lance Corporal Derby and is now entitled to wear a single stripe on his uniform.
He was resplendent in his scarlet coat with Lincoln green and gold facings, emblazoned with the Regiment's main Battle Honours: a replica of the India Mutiny Medal, a General Service Medal 1962 with the clasp Northern Ireland, two jubilee medals and a recent Op Tosca (Cyprus) medal. On his forehead is a silver plate embossed with the Regimental Cap Badge.
Private Derby received his promotion from the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier Andrew Williams OBE.
Commanding Officer of 2 MERCIAN, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Wilde MBE, said: “This is the latest in a long line of ‘Derbys’ to have served as our Regimental mascot, and not all of them are as well behaved as our newest was today - he is well deserving of his promotion! But today is not all about him: exactly eight years ago the Regiment was formed, and over those years we have developed one of the strongest operational pedigrees in the British Army and so it is important that we celebrate that.”
Private Derby was accompanied by his handlers, the Ram Major, Corporal Philip 'Trish' Thornton (38) from Mansfield and the Ram Orderly, Private Stuart 'Macca' McLean (26) from Denton, Manchester.
The tradition of the Ram dates back to 1858; the first Private Derby was acquired by the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot, during the Siege and capture of Kotah during the Indian Mutiny Campaign of 1857 – 1858.