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TheMercian Regiment Newsletter - February 2018

2 Mercian to Exercise Freedom of Chester in Homecoming Parade

Saturday 17 February 2018

ON SATURDAY 17 February 2018, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment will parade through Chester to mark their homecoming from a series of operational deployments to South Sudan, Northern Iraq and the Falkland Islands.

Exercising the Mercian Regiment's freedom of the city, the soldiers will march with colours flying and bayonets fixed, along with The Band of the Mercian Regiment and Pte Derby XXXII, the Mercian Regimental Mascot.

The parade will step off from Chester Castle at 10.15am and will include two RWMIK Land Rovers that were used on recent readiness and operational deployments.

Members of the Mercian Regimental Associations and all the antecedent regimental associations are also invited to march behind the parade. (Please notify your respective association secretary if you intend to march).

The route of the parade is from the Castle through the city to Chester Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving.

After the service, the parade will form up again at noon and following a route along Eastgate Street will return to the Castle where soldiers who served in South Sudan will be presented with their Op TRENTON operational medals.

Strong support from the regimental family and the people of Chester is expected on Saturday.

If you are able to make the journey to Chester to support 2 Mercian, it will be greatly appreciated.

2 Mercian - 2017 on Operations

The Commanding Officer, Lt Col BM Wilde MBE, writes: During the latter half of 2017 the Battalion has been deployed on three operational tours in very different environments. The Falkland Islands, Iraq and South Sudan presented vastly diverse climatic challenges. Arctic like conditions were experienced in the South Atlantic, the rainy season in Africa and the searing dry heat of the desert in Iraq. The roles differed significantly from providing a physical presence and a deterrent on The Falklands whilst utilising a unique training opportunity in extreme arduous conditions; to UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa and contributing to the fight against Daesh in the Middle East.

We must not forget that those who remained in the UK contributed to a number of exercises and enduring UK based operational commitments.

The Battalion has been exceptionally busy during 2017. 2018 offers yet more interesting challenges: inclusive of a NATO overseas exercise in the Baltic States; Company level exercise on Salisbury Plain; public order training; recce, snipers, mortar and anti-tank specialist training cadres; skiing in France and of course numerous sporting fixtures for our football and rugby teams. Our focus is on the impending unit move to Cyprus in the summer and being qualified to undertake an operational role in the Mediterranean. This will offer our officers, non-commissioned officers, soldiers and their families a unique and an exciting opportunity to have an adventure in a foreign country for two years before we return to the UK and hopefully the North-West.

Iraq – This picture encapsulates 2 MERCIAN's 'reality of life' in Iraq. The battlegroup executed it's mission by training indigenous security forces, through the use of interpreters, in concert with their military commanders whilst also maintaining a security posture around everything we did.

South Sudan – A MERCIAN soldier jokes with local children, providing reassurance through presence and a soft posture, yet ready to escalate if necessary. Working for the United Nations amongst the people to provide security and help to end the civil war.

Falkland Islands - Dragon Coy bolstered by a platoon from 1 Royal Anglian deployed to the Falkland Islands for three months as the Roulement Infantry Company (FIRIC).

Despite the Falklands winter, the company undertook some extremely challenging and diverse training, all of which was conducted on an operational footing.

Part of this involved patrols being deployed to remote settlements, often by helicopter, serving both to exercise junior commanders and communications whilst also providing much needed and welcomed help to some of the islanders.

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