'Decision makers seem to have no sense of tradition'
Peter Smith, aged 77, of Lichfield, but formerly of Victoria Road, Stoke, served with the North Staffordshire Regiment in Korea, Hong Kong and Japan between 1953 and 1956. He said: "I joined up for the work, but I did three years and I enjoyed it. We were all just like family, everyone for each other. I put in to join the Paratroopers but I stayed with the North Staffords because all my mates were there, lads I'd known from school, who all joined up at the same time. I remember Korea was cold, with temperatures of minus 25 to minus 30. I was on three-inch mortars. It is a great regiment, we are very proud. The Government doesn't know what it's talking about wanting to get rid of it."
John Topham, aged 74, of Macclesfield, but originally from Halmerend, served with the Staffords for nine years, between 1955 and 1964, in Germany, Hong Kong and Kenya. He said: "I was aged 17-and-a-half when I joined. My father, grandfather and uncle were all in the Army and I had mates who were a bit older than me, stationed in Hong Kong. The regiment means everything. In 1987, I lost my son Jeffrey to a motorbike accident. He was in the Foreign Legion. But the number of old mates from the Staffords who phoned me up and offered to help was unbelievable. And they all came to the funeral. I'm sick about the regiment going. These MPs making the decisions have no sense of values or traditions."
Alan Peake, aged 49, of Barbridge Road, Chesterton, served with the Royal Corps of Transport and is now a member of the Staffordshire Regimental Association. He said: "All my mates are in the Staffordshire Regimental Association, so I joined, even though I didn't serve with the regiment. I don't live anywhere near where my own regimental association is based. The Staffords should not go. The British Army is full of people from the West Midlands. This area supplies a lot of troops but they are used to prop up other regiments rather than the Staffords. There is more money in, say, Cheshire, than Stoke-on-Trent, so less people join up. I'm an outsider, but everyone should have a good look at it. The Staffords should be saved."
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