Save Our Staffords: Veterans take fight to Downing Street
TWO veterans knocked on the door of 10 Downing Street to hand over a petition signed by more than 17,000 people calling for the name of the Staffordshire Regiment to be preserved.
The Sentinel, joined forces with the Staffordshire Regimental Association, to launch the Save Our Staffords campaign in July.
It came after the Ministry of Defence announced the 3rd Battalion Mercian Regiment (Staffords) is to be scrapped as part of the Government’s cuts to the Armed Forces.
Yesterday, Staffords veterans Ron Bradeley and Bob Copeland took a box containing 17,000 signatures and coupons filled in by Sentinel readers to 10 Downing Street for the attention of Prime Minister David Cameron.
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Ron, of Keele Road, Newcastle, joined the North Staffordshire Regiment in 1947, before going on to serve with the Airborne Forces.
The 83-year-old said: “I really hope the Government and the Army take notice of what the people of Staffordshire want.
“The Staffordshire Regiment is one of the oldest in the country and also one of the best.
“If the regiment is to be scrapped then the very least we want is to ensure the name is preserved.”
He added: “The Staffordshire Regiment is very well thought of in the county and everyone knows someone with links to the Staffords.
“My uncle Bernie Durose served with the Staffords until March 1918 when he was killed when a shell landed on top of him at the Somme.”
Fellow veteran Bob Copeland, of Hawthorne Road, Chesterton, joined the Staffords in 1963 and served for eight years.
The 66-year-old said: “I initially joined the Worcesters but was transferred after passing out. The Worcesters were going into combat and I couldn’t go because I was under 18 years old.”
Bob went on to serve in Kenya, Belize and Cyprus with the Staffords.
He said: “The Staffords is a family and it’s important to keep a family together.
“When you’re a Stafford you know there will always be help for you if you need it.
“It’s an historic regiment and must not be allowed to disappear completely.
“Seventeen thousand people have backed this campaign and I hope that sends a powerful message.”
The Government plans to reduce the size of the Army by 20,000 troops by 2018.
The Sentinel understands that a meeting is due to take place in the next few weeks at which Mercian top brass will discuss the fate of the Staffords.
Deputy Editor of The Sentinel Richard Bowyer said:“It is clear from the number of people who have signed The Sentinel’s petition to save the name of the Staffords that the people of this county are determined that the regiment’s name is preserved.
“We hope that the Army listen to the people of Staffordshire who have spoken with one voice.
“For all those who have fought and fallen while proudly wearing the regiment’s badge, we ask the military’s top brass to save our name.”